A GOP House candidate in Va. is selling anti-China face masks. Asian Americans say they incite racism. - StamfordAdvocate
It was a selfie by Virginia Del. Mark Cole that first caught Sookyung Oh's eye. Cole, R-Fredericksburg, tweeted an image showing off a bright red face mask he said he'd purchased from the congressional campaign of Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper. "COVID-19, 'MADE IN CHINA," it read. Oh, who is Virginia director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium Action Fund, said that she and other Asian American community leaders were "shocked" to find the masks for sale as campaign merchandise. "He's literally financing his campaign with a tactic that has been shown to exacerbate anti-Asian racism," Oh said of Freitas, a libertarian-leaning Republican who is running against first-term Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger in central Virginia's largely rural 7th district. In an open letter issued this week, the NAKASEC Action Fund called on Freitas's campaign to stop selling the "Made in China" face masks, saying the merchandise is another example of anti-China political rhetoric that has put Asian Americans at risk of discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the rhetoric has come from President Donald Trump, who routinely refers to the deadly virus as the "China virus" and has also outraged his critics by calling it the "Kung flu." A number of Asian American community organizers and two Asian American lawmakers from Virginia, Dels. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, and Kathy Tran, D-Springfield, signed onto the statement. "Blaming China for the COVID-19 crisis in the United States has led to a sharp increase of racially motivated attacks and discrimination against people of Chinese descent and others perceived to be of Chinese descent," the statement said, citing incidents in which Asian Americans have been spit on, cursed at or assaulted. "Nick...
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