About that Chinese Virus

Well, it’s been years, so hopefully this isn’t a big deal any more. But for the moment, there is definitely a lot of anger against Asians.(NYT story.)

My own experience with it began around March 10th 2020. That’s on a day when the market was half way down but everyone was still being reassured at the Corona Virus will not be harming Americans. When I took my chevy Bolt to be services at a very established Chevrolet dealership in San Mateo County to be serviced, I was treated with the absolute worst treatment. Zero explanations were given on a surprising maintenance costing almost $1000. Estimating two days just to diagnose the problem. And then, angry calls from the technician, leading to myself being informed that the technician, and his manager, wishes we take our business else where. “Get out of here, and don’t come back.” He practically yelled it several times.

After much of my effort, I was able to talk to the service technicians boss, and everyone was able to converse civilly and resume business relationship. But honestly, on the way there, members of the dealship seem to have rehearsed this line. Everyone from sales to service will have, at some point in related conversations say, you are welcome to take your business elsewhere. I felt the need to workout my relationship with this authorized Chevy dealership and garage because I drive two GM cars. These are hybrids that only that angry technician can service. Yes, sure, I can risk taking my Asian face to another dealership, but somehow I do not believe my experience there will be any better. Since I drive my family with this car that this angry technician services, and since the angry technician and his boss and his boss’s boss has my residence address, and since GM transmits all my driving data (through onstar) to my dealership… It is to my very unfortunate advantage to suffer some indigence for sake of survival.

(Btw, both GM and Tesla have this internal feature where things don’t go well, they don’t send you a post-service survey. I mean, I don’t know if it’s an American car maker thing… my Honda services is always followed by a survey that always had at least four out of five stars. I mean, the employees are all Americans right? But corporate culture sure makes a lot of difference.)

That utterly unprovoked anger is still around. When I shop at WholeFoods in San Mateo, the white cashier spends a lot of time adjusting the nose clip on her mask when I arrived. Simple questions are met very very stern and curt responses. It is a big upgrade from being told to “get out of here and don’t come back,” But I am not enjoying flinching at every move the cashier makes at the super market. There are a lot of non-Asians to watch out for, if white racists lead them into hatred.

This is a good moment for me to think about my idea to establish an “integration process” for immigrants. I too dislike immigrants, they bring uncertainty into my life. My desire for immigrants to take some time to learn how to live here civilly, how to drive, how to speak, how to stand in line,…, and most importantly of all, how to not hate based on race and gender and wealth… But for the moment, that seems like an unfair requirement. The people who are established here do not act that way. The people here discriminated against Asians, and can not control their emotions like professional adults should.

Is it fair to expect new immigrants to be better?

As a American minority, it still makes sense to me to request that new immigrants do not hate based on race. It will be worth the time and effort and money we spend on it to make sure immigrants do not hate, perhaps even as we maintain our own hatred. Even if our society is provably racist, we can make it better if we integrate new members with less hatred than we have now. I am starting to understand the very weak requirement of Rawls’ Difference Principal. When all are failing, and nothing is within anyone’s control, it makes sense to just make things better: more equal in the case of Equality Justice, and simply less hatred in the population in the case of hate for Asians.

As always, I wish that by the time this post publishes that this post will not make any sense to me or anyone else reading. But it is a reminder to us all, that in the early quarter of the 21st century, what happened to people, the American people, we show our true color, when faced with a dangerous virus from China: B many will begin to single Chinese people to hate, many will call it the Chinese Virus, some will refuse to service Chinese people, some will be violent Against Chinese and Asians, and some Asians will “shelter in place” and try to ride it out.

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