The San Antonio City Council has passed a resolution attacking the use of the term “Chinese virus” to describe the coronavirus.
The resolution, which proclaims that “COVID-19 will not be stopped by political boundaries and was not created or caused by any race, nationality or ethnicity, and the World Health Organization has cautioned against using geographic descriptors that can fuel ethnic and racial discrimination” passed unanimously, according to WOAI-TV.
San Antonio has been in the news over the past year for its efforts to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening at the city’s airport, couching its battle against the popular fast-food franchise as a battle against an organization it paints as anti-LGBTQ.
Chick-fil-A was invoked by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas when he tweeted his disbelief of the San Antonio resolution.
“This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words ‘Wuhan virus.’ If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as “the Chinese coronavirus,” Cruz tweeted.
This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words “Wuhan virus.” If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as “the Chinese coronavirus.” #NoSpeechPolice https://t.co/a10BZAvleQ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 7, 2020
Many on Twitter agreed with Cruz.
It’s terribly considerate of them to show concern about possibly offending someone in China 8,000 miles away, but I didn’t hear anything about the 70,000 AMERICANS that have died because of the Chinese Flu
— rich rubino (@rjrubino1) May 7, 2020
Unbelievable. Unanimous vote on hate speech by SA council. They need to be ousted ASAP! Should focus on potholes & drive by shooting, crime rate, gangs….ugh!
— Ernie2 (@DiamondCraftV2) May 7, 2020
The major cities in Texas might as well be in California. I’m from Rural West Texas, I’m ashamed of this. I’d say within 5 to 10 years Texas will be blue. This is not the Texas I know. Breaks my heart.
— Rick (@tiggsetter) May 8, 2020
When will you have your priorities in order? The city in now in the “Speech Police” business is absurb. So disheartening that we have such “leaders” here in San Antonio.
— fredvill (@fredvillsa) May 7, 2020
President Donald Trump used the term “Chinese virus” extensively this spring after China’s government tried to pin the blame for the origin of the virus on U.S. military. He has since discontinued that usage but continues to press China to reveal the truth about the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan.
San Antonio officials, however, insisted that fighting “discrimination” should take priority.
“As we look toward both safeguarding our community against future waves of COVID-19 and the restoration of our local economy, it is critical that we commit to an equitable and just response. This coronavirus has held no regard for race, religion, creed, or political boundary. As such, our efforts must meet the indiscriminate nature of COVID-19 with empathy and compassion for all our neighbors,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg wrote in a memo accompanying the legislation. Nirenberg had supported keeping Chick-fil-A out of the airport.
“I ask that you consider adopting the attached resolution — which declares that our COVID-19 response efforts will be free of hate and discrimination,” he wrote.
The resolution claims that “hate crimes, discrimination and aggression against Asians and Jews are on the rise throughout the country as these groups are being blamed for the COVID-19 outbreak and spread” and that “extremists are taking advantage of COVID-19 to spread their hateful ideologies, including antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia, and Sinophobia.”
“COVID-19 is a public health issue, not a racial, religious or ethnic one, and the deliberate use of terms such as ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Kung Fu virus’ to describe COVID-19 only encourages hate crimes and incidents against Asians and further spreads misinformation at a time when communities should be working together to get through this crisis,” the resolution says.
Although the resolution does not have the force of legislation, it indicates the city will act against those it considers guilty of hate speech.
“The City of San Antonio will continue its efforts to protect residents and targets and victims of hate, and to prosecute and curb hate acts related to COVID-19 in partnership with nonprofit organizations, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, the San Antonio Police Department and other law enforcement partners,” it said.
The resolution calls for residents to inform on their fellow citizens.
“The City of San Antonio urges residents to join us in calling attention to these harms and denouncing hate to help keep us all safe during this unprecedented pandemic and beyond,” it says.
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