Throughout the U.S. presidential campaign, Donald Trump has been deflecting criticism of his handling of COVID-19 by blaming China.
But the relentless linking of the pandemic to China has had negative consequences for Asian Americans, including CNN correspondent Amara Walker.
She recently described experiencing three anti-Asian racist incidents within an hour while travelling through Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
Following these events, Walker described what happened in a lengthy Twitter thread. (See below.)
"I wanted to be a voice for so many of us Asian Americans who don't speak out when these kind of things happen," Walker told CNN anchor Brianna Keilar.
Walker emphasized in her interview that had there been only one incident, she likely wouldn't have spoken out. But it was the frequency of the racist insults that resulted in her doing this.
"Right now, I have to admit, I'm shaking right now," Walker said.
Travellers consoled her
In the first incident, an older man lowered his mask, greeted Walker with the Mandarin phrase ni hao, and then used a common insult.
"I was stunned," she said. "This has happened to me before."
She kept walking but then encountered him later. She told the man that what he said was racist.
According to Walker, he had a smug look on his face as he walked away.
Just five minutes later, she was approached by a young man not wearing a mask.
He invaded her personal space and asked if she spoke English.
Walker demanded to know why he was asking this question. Then she told him that she speaks Spanish, which is true.
Walker said that he then spoke incoherently, mocking an Asian language.
Her producer sought help from security staff at the airport.
A large police officer then approached the producer, "almost nose to nose", and said in an angry voice that what the young man did was not racist.
Walker said she felt intimidated and nervous, so she said "okay, okay, fine, it wasn't racist" and walked away.
At that point, some of the travellers in the airport tried to console her.
"Brianna, I want to make it clear, it's not about me, because Asian Americans across the country deal with this on a regular basis," Walker emphasized. "And we're not talking about it."