Meiyang Chang features in powerful video on racism: ‘My name is Chang and I am not coronavirus’
Reports of racism against people from the northeast and Indians of Chinese descent have emerged during the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Actor-singer Meiyang Chang, who was at the receiving end of a racially motivated verbal attack last month, featured in a video condemning casual racism.
“Namaste. My name is Chang and I am not coronavirus. Now you must be thinking why I am delivering this popular dialogue of Shah Rukh Khan like this. Let me explain. A few days before lockdown, one man was going home at night when suddenly two people on a bike who were passing by saw him and shouted, ‘Coronavirus!’ Why? Maybe because he looks a little different. Now this man was really angry. He thought of abusing them or doing something. But then he calmed down and just ignored it. Because he has been ignoring such racist things since childhood. Sometimes ‘Ching Chong’, sometimes ‘momo’, sometimes ‘hakka noodles’, sometimes ‘Hey, open your eyes at least’ and God knows what else. He just ignored it. That man was me, an Indian of Chinese descent,” he says in the video.
Chang goes on to say that what happened with him could have happened with anyone from the northeast as well, and in all likelihood, already has. “Now you must be thinking, ‘What’s the big deal, yaar? He must have been joking. Just chill.’ And you know what? You are actually right, they must have been joking. Jokingly, an uncle in Delhi spit on a Manipuri girl. Jokingly, people of Nagaland were thrown out of their homes in Ahmedabad and Kolkata. Jokingly, an aunty in Pune thrashed a Mizo girl publicly. Jokingly, someone was made to realise that even though you are from this country, you don’t belong here. ‘Go back to China, Nepal or wherever you are from!’ By saying this, they have hurt someone’s identity. But this is not a joke. This is casual racism. And racism against Indian Chinese, northeast Indians or anybody for that matter is not cool. Not even jokingly. Because how it escalates from a joke, we have all seen that,” he adds.
Addressing the youth, Chang said, “This is why, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. You, the youth of India, I know you are the most kind, smart and sensitive. You understand what I am saying and you will explain to others as well to please not be racist. If you want to do something, please love and respect your fellow human beings. Especially at a time like this, when all of us should be together. Especially at a time like this, when we cannot afford to be divided. Thank you so much and please take care of your health.”
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