COVID-19: Meiyang Chang Faces Racism, Gets Called ‘Corona’

Indians from the northeast have been subject to racism, with instances of some being attacked for “looking Chinese” amid the coronavirus crisis in the country. Actor and singer Meiyang Chang has said he has been at the receiving end of racist behaviour, and recalled a recent incident when two men sped past him on a bike as he was jogging near his home in Mumbai, screamed ‘corona’ and laughed.

The Indian Idol contestant told Bombay Times in an interview that while he has often been the target of casual racism, such instances have become more frequent. He said that his own friends have begun teasing him saying, “Chang se door raho (stay far away from Chang)”, and while he takes that in good spirit, "trouble starts when random people do it with malicious intent". He recalled another instance when he commented on a friend's Instagram photo only to receive replies from strangers calling him 'coronavirus' in the comments. After he took screenshots of those comments and shared it on his own page, those who made the remarks apologised to him and he “let it pass”.

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Meiyang, who is of Chinese descent, said that he has learned to ignore such instances.

"“How do you punish people for their stupidity or ignorance? Over the years, I have become used to these comments and yes, they are hurtful. I try to move on and be optimistic, but it does affect you.”" - Meiyang Chang, Actor and Singer

He also said that he understands people's curiosity about his looks, but is upset when it results in name-calling. He appealed to people to be more considerate saying,

"“I am Indian and my genes, Chinese. I call myself Indian Chinese. Those who take pleasure in calling me Chinese, please continue to do so, but don’t forget to add Indian before that. I expect a little sensitivity from people, especially when the world is fighting a pandemic.”" - Meiyang Chang

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