by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It is truly disappointing that, even at this late stage in the pandemic, some Americans remain so addicted to racism and xenophobia that they are willing to countenance the theory that COVID-19 was mistakenly leaked from a Chinese research laboratory. To these people, I say this: We see you; we know what you are doing; and it won’t stand.
Occam’s Razor dictates that there can only be one reason why people who believe that COVID-19 originated in a lab in China keep saying aloud that they believe that COVID-19 originated in a lab in China, and that is to drive anti-Asian hatred on the streets of large cities in the United States. In truth, the “lab-leak theory” — as it is now euphemistically called — is just the latest iteration of an old and ugly stereotype that has haunted America for decades. I remember all too well how the bullies in my kindergarten class used to taunt the AAPI kids. “Hey you,” they would say, “I’ll bet you work on gain-of-function research in an institute of virology and are reckless with your gloves!” …
… If we are to build a more inclusive world, free of the stereotypes that divide us, it will be important for us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that COVID-19 was not unleashed by something as intrinsically Sinocentric as a scientific accident involving poor protective-clothing management, but as the result of a more culturally neutral tradition such as the human consumption of wet-market bats. Only once that has been established beyond rejoinder will we be able to start the hard work of defeating prejudice and acknowledging who was really to blame for this devastating pandemic all along: America.