MN Homeschoolers Against MACHE's Xenophobic Statements
As a follower of Jesus who is also a homeschooler that lives in Minnesota, I feel an obligation to distance myself from and publicly denounce the anti-Asian rhetoric of Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators (MACHE).
On May 19, Executive Director David Watkins sent out this letter as part of their mass email distribution. In it, he chooses to call SARS-CoV-2 not by its scientific name, nor even by its more common names (Coronavirus or Covid-19), but by the xenophobic description of “CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.” This is a description being propagated by the racist far-right and should not be any part of the language of a “Christian” organization. Given our U.S. history of anti-Asian government policies and laws, which have harmed our Asian brothers and sisters, we should not be embracing this rhetoric, but distancing ourselves from it.
Lest the response to this be turned into a semantics game of “We didn’t say “Chinese virus, we said CCP virus,” let me just say that regardless of that negligible difference, the wording choice of MACHE is still indeed extremely inflammatory and produces the same negative and destructive responses toward our fellow image-bearers. We have seen an uptick in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in our country since this virus began. Our president has chosen to fan the flames of hate toward Asian people by continuing to call this by an insensitive, careless, unscientific description. And as followers of Jesus we should not be latching on to the same language that has triggered increased resentment for our neighbors here and abroad.
I am calling for MACHE to put out a public apology on social media and via email to all its members, correcting this unchristian language. I am also asking that they reexamine their heart as an organization to one of aligning with Christ in a way that unites—with the goal of enriching homeschooling, instead of driving a wedge between ethnic groups. We are called to a higher standard. Let us do better. Below you will find excerpts from an article by a dear image-bearer Tiffany Henness, Tiffany Lavon that is worth thoughtful consideration and reflection. You can read it in its entirety in the link below.
“For me, COVID-19 is a case study in America’s pastime of hating Chinese and East Asian people. It is not difficult to hate someone once we’ve perceived them to be a threat. The depictions (in words and images) of East Asians as the evil and threatening “yellow peril” have deep roots in our cultural history and COVID-19 is merely proving how little has changed.”
“When #IAmNotAVirus trends, and I read about another Asian verbally and physically assaulted, and how Chinese American businesses are being punished, I remember the racist cartoons and legislation of our country’s history. I recognize the same comfort today that existed then with creating a convenient enemy out of East Asian people. The anti-Asian messaging we see today fits into the larger context, the pastime of “yellow peril” fear and hatred that won’t be contained.”
“….hold your thoughts up to the truth that Asian people are created in the image of God and consider if your thoughts are supporting that truth or obscuring it. You can remember that our historical cultural narrative tips toward dehumanizing Asians, then focus on how you and the Asian people in your community are more alike than different. You can acknowledge a natural fear of a virus and then separate that fear from your perceptions of Asian people.
“This Christian commitment to self-awareness and truth should become a lifestyle. It should cause us to think critically about the words, images, memes, and headlines we’re seeing, so we can resist being deceived into seeing threats or enemies where there are none. As you hear more and more Asian people speaking up about the real harm caused by deceptive messaging, continue to question your perception. Inspect your own thoughts and words. I will even urge you to resist re-framing the situation to highlight how you may benefit (e.g. cheaper international flights), as that encourages a dismissive attitude toward suffering (i.e. hardening your heart).”