The tragic events of last week have had a lot of folks talking about a form of racism that often goes unspoken in the US.
After a white man killed eight people, including six Asian women, at a series of massage parlors in Atlanta, it’s really brought the rise of anti-Asian violence over the past few years to the forefront of the national conversation.
Video: Elderly Asian Woman Was The Victim Of A Random Attack — Then She Grabbed A Stick And Fought Back!
And Sunday night’s Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver put two people in particular on blast for their part in what’s happening. The first was an example of someone whose nationalistic, xenophobic, blatantly fearmongering rhetoric has been gasoline on the fire of racism in this country for years: our former president, Donald Trump.
The second? Someone who has been hypothetically anti-Trump — but who in this case as in so many others defended his behavior: The View co-host Meghan McCain.
After giving a brief tour of some of America’s darkest moments, Oliver brought things to the present, saying:
“Our long ugly history of anti-Asian racism and the fact that it often peaks during times of crisis is the very reason why, just last year, many were loudly warning that Trump calling Covid names like ‘the China virus’ was likely to lead in a rise of violence against people of Asian descent, an argument that, at the time, not everyone seemed to find convincing.”
The show then cut to a segment on The View from March 2020, in which “Never Trumper” Meghan McCain called the reaction from the Asian community an example of the type of political correctness that people hate:
“I think if the left wants to focus on PC labeling this virus, it is a great way to get Trump reelected. I don’t have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It’s a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan. I don’t have a problem with it.”
Oliver went after John McCain‘s daughter hard:
“Oh good, Meghan McCain doesn’t have a problem with it. Listen not to the scores of Asian Americans telling everyone that the term is dangerous and offensive! Instead, gather round, and take the word of a wealthy white woman who’s dressed like she’s about to lay off 47 people over zoom.”
He then referenced her more recent stand against anti-Asian violence — and the fact she only made it after it was clear the warnings she brushed off were right on the money.
A whole shared meme? Thanks! Oliver was not impressed either, as he continued:
“Now, I will say, McCain posted this week, ‘Stop Asian Hate’ with three broken heart emojis, which is a fine sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact. But there has to be an understanding that saying I don’t have a problem with calling it the China virus is very much giving space for that hate to grow.”
You know what? He’s absolutely right. And even Meghan thinks so. A day after the piece aired, she tweeted:
“I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community. There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.”
Again… like Oliver said… after the fact.
And if it seems like he went after Meghan harder than he went after Trump, well… There’s a reason for that. There’s no real point in criticizing people like Trump. He’s not making any arguments in good faith.
But with Meghan? We think Meghan has made it clear she genuinely wants to be on the right side of history. But over and over again she finds herself arguing on the side of what she claims to hate. Why? She won’t like hearing this, but it’s privilege.
You just have to watch her for 5 minutes to know she’s only thinking about making her devil’s advocate point and not interested in listening and learning from her co-hosts. Just watch the discussion in question about Trump’s coronavirus rhetoric:
As usual, she comes to some conclusion based on her own experience — growing up a rich, white Washington insider — and instead of letting the experiences of others help to shape it to get it closer to the truth, she just fights everyone for daring to try to change her mind.
Anyway, that’s our read as fans who would love to see Meghan grow into her best self. But it’s going to take a minute.
On Tuesday she responded to yet another mass shooting by talking about how no one who thinks we should have stricter gun control understands what being a gun owner was like, saying:
“I have a very hard time debating this issue with people who don’t understand it and don’t have experience with it.”
Something tells us all those folks talking about anti-Asian violence a year ago felt the same way…
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