Actor and activist George Takei responded to President Donald Trump's use last week of the phrase "Chinese virus."
The former "Star Trek" star appeared on MSNBC on Saturday to point out the implications of using such language.
"We are chilled by the constant use by the president and his administration of that term," Takei told MSNBC anchor David Gura. "We have a long history of anti-Asian hatred in this country."
Takei said use of such a term can have violent consequences for the Asian American community. He referred to an incident in early February in which a Chinese woman was attacked in a New York City subway station for wearing a mask. In the hate-based attack, a man was alleged to have called her "diseased."
Trump tweeted a call Monday to "protect our Asian American community."
On a personal level, Takei said he understands how it feels to face discrimination. In the 1940s, his family was taken to a Japanese American prison camp. "I was a 5-year-old kid, and I was an American citizen ... and yet, we were incarcerated," he said.
He cautioned that he thinks Trump's words have real-world implications.
"His doing that sends a cold chill throughout the Asian American community, because he's sending a signal to the haters and his constituencies, and there are plenty of them there."