Since When Are Viruses Racist?

In the identity politics world of the progressive left, everything is racist. Using the pseudo-concept of intersectionality, all grievance groups overlap, except the groups of white, male, Christian, and heterosexual. The intersectionality of those four groups represents the ultimate in racism and bigotry, the scourge of civilization.

In this mindset, it makes perfect sense for inanimate objects to be labeled as racist. For example, a “black hole” is now considered by some to be a racist term. Perhaps we should use “singularity,” since it’s so much easier for the average person to understand.

Cold weather, air, dogs, solar eclipses, and farmers markets are also considered racist to the woke progressives. So, it’s no surprise that something so small that it cannot be seen with an ordinary microscope is also said to be racist.

I speak of a virus, the “Wuhan virus,” to be specific. Or the “Chinese Coronavirus” to use another term. This virus is busy causing not a mass epidemic, but mass hysteria, leading people to empty store shelves of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Also known as COVID-19, the Wuhan virus, like so many of its predecessors, is named based on where it was first identified, in this case, Wuhan, China.

In an intellectually functional society, claiming a virus name is racist would be nonsensical. But in America, where thoughtful discussion is replaced by cliched outrage and common sense has been relegated to history books, the name “Wuhan virus” has become the latest trigger for the left.

One of our congressional thought leaders, Rep. Ilhan Omar, tweeted out an accusation of racism after Rep. Kevin McCarthy referred to the virus as “Chinese Coronavirus.” Isn’t that where the virus originated? It’s not the Swedish or Bolivian Coronavirus.

Rep. Omar had no similar outrage when a New York Times editorial writer called it the “Trumpvirus.” President Trump didn’t create the virus and it didn’t originate from one of his properties, but instead came from China. What’s wrong with calling it what it is?

Speaking of the New York Times, they piled on as well, complaining that conservatives calling it the Wuhan virus is not only racist, but also xenophobic. How long until someone adds homophobic or sexist to the criticism?

Predictably CNN joined the chorus claiming “racism and xenophobia.” Salon was close behind with their caterwauling, “the racist art of naming a virus.”

Viruses are tiny inanimate objects, consisting of a few strands of DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat, measuring around 100 nanometers in size.

They don’t wear white robes or march for “viral supremacy.” They infect individuals of all races, colors, sexes, religions, and national origin. Viruses don’t care where you were born. They aren’t concerned over what bathroom you prefer to use. Viruses don’t give a whit about your political party membership or whether you believe the earth is flat.

Virus are among the least racist objects in our world. Yet in the left’s wokeness, virus names are racist. How have past viruses and similar infectious diseases been named?

The Spanish flu of 1918-20 did not originate in Spain, but was first reported by Spain as they were neutral in World War I. But the name stuck and wasn’t considered racist.

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a viral infection first described by a German physician in 1740, thus the name. Angela Merkel is a woke EU politician, but I haven’t heard her complain that German measles is racist or xenophobic.

The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was appropriately named after where it was found.

A hemorrhagic fever virus similar to Ebola named Marburg was first recognized in 1967 in of all places, Marburg, Germany.

MERS is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, first reported in Saudi Arabia. When discovered in 2012 during the Obama administration, I don’t recall cries of racism or Islamophobia because the virus was identified with the Middle East, where it first appeared.

The bubonic plague, technically a bacterial, not a viral, infection from the 14th century was called “black death” because black spots formed on the skin of those infected. Imagine if Don Lemon or Al Sharpton were alive then and how they would howl over the name “black death.”

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, from 2009, was so named because people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. The animal rights groups were not offended at the time or hollering about “speciesism” over the use of the term “swine.” What would they say about “bird flu” or “chickenpox”?

Smallpox is another horrific virus called “small” to distinguish it from syphilis, or the “great pox.” How long until short people cry “heightism” and claim the name “small” is discriminatory?

Remember the Zika virus? This was discovered in 1947 in the Zika Forest in Uganda and named accordingly.

Lyme disease, not a virus but instead a bacterial infection passed on through tick bites, was first recognized in 1975 after a number of children developed arthritis. Where were these children living at the time? Lyme, Connecticut, hence the name Lyme disease.

Let’s continue. West Nile virus was first isolated in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937 and was named as such.

Rift Valley fever is a viral infection affecting humans and animals. It was first identified in 1931 as a sheep epidemic on a farm in the Rift Valley in Kenya, hence the name.

Then there is Rocky Mountain spotted fever, not a virus, but like Lyme disease, a tickborne disease first recognized in 1986 in the Snake River Valley of Idaho -- which just so happens to be in the Rocky Mountains.

Colorodans are sufficiently woke to have selected Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary, but none are complaining about this infectious disease being named after their home in the Rocky Mountains.

Many diseases and infections are named after who discovered them or where they were discovered. It’s as simple as that. Wuhan virus originated in Wuhan, not Tokyo, not Bangkok. To claim the name is racist is silly.

Big media is pushing the story that, “Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirus.” But the reality is that this current viral outbreak started in Wuhan, China. The left deserves the backlash over shaming the country over politically correct nonsense.

Calling it the Wuhan virus is accurate and scientifically appropriate, but certainly not racist.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, Rasmussen Reports, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.

In the identity politics world of the progressive left, everything is racist. Using the pseudo-concept of intersectionality, all grievance groups overlap, except the groups of white, male, Christian, and heterosexual. The intersectionality of those four groups represents the ultimate in racism and bigotry, the scourge of civilization.

In this mindset, it makes perfect sense for inanimate objects to be labeled as racist. For example, a “black hole” is now considered by some to be a racist term. Perhaps we should use “singularity,” since it’s so much easier for the average person to understand.

Cold weather, air, dogs, solar eclipses, and farmers markets are also considered racist to the woke progressives. So, it’s no surprise that something so small that it cannot be seen with an ordinary microscope is also said to be racist.

I speak of a virus, the “Wuhan virus,” to be specific. Or the “Chinese Coronavirus” to use another term. This virus is busy causing not a mass epidemic, but mass hysteria, leading people to empty store shelves of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Also known as COVID-19, the Wuhan virus, like so many of its predecessors, is named based on where it was first identified, in this case, Wuhan, China.

In an intellectually functional society, claiming a virus name is racist would be nonsensical. But in America, where thoughtful discussion is replaced by cliched outrage and common sense has been relegated to history books, the name “Wuhan virus” has become the latest trigger for the left.

One of our congressional thought leaders, Rep. Ilhan Omar, tweeted out an accusation of racism after Rep. Kevin McCarthy referred to the virus as “Chinese Coronavirus.” Isn’t that where the virus originated? It’s not the Swedish or Bolivian Coronavirus.

Rep. Omar had no similar outrage when a New York Times editorial writer called it the “Trumpvirus.” President Trump didn’t create the virus and it didn’t originate from one of his properties, but instead came from China. What’s wrong with calling it what it is?

Speaking of the New York Times, they piled on as well, complaining that conservatives calling it the Wuhan virus is not only racist, but also xenophobic. How long until someone adds homophobic or sexist to the criticism?

Predictably CNN joined the chorus claiming “racism and xenophobia.” Salon was close behind with their caterwauling, “the racist art of naming a virus.”

Viruses are tiny inanimate objects, consisting of a few strands of DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat, measuring around 100 nanometers in size.

They don’t wear white robes or march for “viral supremacy.” They infect individuals of all races, colors, sexes, religions, and national origin. Viruses don’t care where you were born. They aren’t concerned over what bathroom you prefer to use. Viruses don’t give a whit about your political party membership or whether you believe the earth is flat.

Virus are among the least racist objects in our world. Yet in the left’s wokeness, virus names are racist. How have past viruses and similar infectious diseases been named?

The Spanish flu of 1918-20 did not originate in Spain, but was first reported by Spain as they were neutral in World War I. But the name stuck and wasn’t considered racist.

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a viral infection first described by a German physician in 1740, thus the name. Angela Merkel is a woke EU politician, but I haven’t heard her complain that German measles is racist or xenophobic.

The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was appropriately named after where it was found.

A hemorrhagic fever virus similar to Ebola named Marburg was first recognized in 1967 in of all places, Marburg, Germany.

MERS is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, first reported in Saudi Arabia. When discovered in 2012 during the Obama administration, I don’t recall cries of racism or Islamophobia because the virus was identified with the Middle East, where it first appeared.

The bubonic plague, technically a bacterial, not a viral, infection from the 14th century was called “black death” because black spots formed on the skin of those infected. Imagine if Don Lemon or Al Sharpton were alive then and how they would howl over the name “black death.”

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, from 2009, was so named because people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. The animal rights groups were not offended at the time or hollering about “speciesism” over the use of the term “swine.” What would they say about “bird flu” or “chickenpox”?

Smallpox is another horrific virus called “small” to distinguish it from syphilis, or the “great pox.” How long until short people cry “heightism” and claim the name “small” is discriminatory?

Remember the Zika virus? This was discovered in 1947 in the Zika Forest in Uganda and named accordingly.

Lyme disease, not a virus but instead a bacterial infection passed on through tick bites, was first recognized in 1975 after a number of children developed arthritis. Where were these children living at the time? Lyme, Connecticut, hence the name Lyme disease.

Let’s continue. West Nile virus was first isolated in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937 and was named as such.

Rift Valley fever is a viral infection affecting humans and animals. It was first identified in 1931 as a sheep epidemic on a farm in the Rift Valley in Kenya, hence the name.

Then there is Rocky Mountain spotted fever, not a virus, but like Lyme disease, a tickborne disease first recognized in 1986 in the Snake River Valley of Idaho -- which just so happens to be in the Rocky Mountains.

Colorodans are sufficiently woke to have selected Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary, but none are complaining about this infectious disease being named after their home in the Rocky Mountains.

Many diseases and infections are named after who discovered them or where they were discovered. It’s as simple as that. Wuhan virus originated in Wuhan, not Tokyo, not Bangkok. To claim the name is racist is silly.

Big media is pushing the story that, “Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirus.” But the reality is that this current viral outbreak started in Wuhan, China. The left deserves the backlash over shaming the country over politically correct nonsense.

Calling it the Wuhan virus is accurate and scientifically appropriate, but certainly not racist.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, Rasmussen Reports, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.