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'The virus does not know what race you are': Director Alan Yang on his recent PSA to fight against anti-Asian racism

“It shouldn’t be incumbent on the group being discriminated against to shoulder all the burden,” Yang said.
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“Tigertail” director Alan Yang has joined MSNBC to speak out against anti-Asian racism amid the pandemic.

He's partnered with the Ad Council to produce a PSA, “Fight the virus. Fight the bias,” to raise awareness of and combat the steady increase in anti-Asian attacks. The spot features people of Asian descent, including the most recent “Top Chef” winner, Melissa King, recounting their experience with anti-Asian bigotry and racism during the pandemic.

“The virus does not discriminate, the virus does not know what race you are,” Yang told MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin in an interview Friday. “There’s no reason that anyone who looks a certain way or comes from a certain country is more likely to have it at this point.”

More than 30 percent of Asian Americans say they have been subject to slurs or jokes since the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council has reported a total of almost 2,400 bias incidents against Asian Americans through the month of July. And recently, 150 members of Congress demanded that the Justice Department take action against anti-Asian, COVID-19-related racism.

Yang said he feels President Donald Trump’s repeated use of racist nicknames for the new coronavirus, like "Kung Flu" or "Chinese virus," has only made it more difficult to fight anti-Asian bias.

“If you’re in this country, we all need to work together to fight the virus. It doesn’t help to label it, and it doesn't help to discriminate against people,” Yang said. “We’re all fighting against the same common enemy.”

“It shouldn’t be incumbent on the group being discriminated against to shoulder all the burden.”

Yang wrote and directed "Tigertail," a fictional account of his parents’ "coming to America" story. It is available on Netflix.