Gov. Phil Murphy, without citing any statistics or incidents, said Sunday there has been a rise in “incidents regarding racism” toward members of the Asian American community in New Jersey.
Coronavirus, as almost everyone knows, started in China and spread throughout Southeast Asia. President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to it as the “Chinese virus” — a description he says is accurate, but others find offensive.
Murphy, during his daily coronavirus briefing, made it clear where he stands on the issue.
“To be clear, this repugnant and repulsive behavior is wrong, even in good times, but it is even more repugnant and more repulsive now,” he said. “Our diversity is one of the core strengths of our state. That strength will get us through this. We are one New Jersey family. Everyone is fighting the same fight. Everyone is making the same sacrifices. We are going to get this through this together.”
Murphy refrained from discussing any particular incidents.
“I’ll leave out any details, but it’s extremely unfortunate,” he said. “We’re better than this.”
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is expected to speak at a daily briefing soon, perhaps as soon as Monday. If so, he’ll certainly be called upon to discuss the situation.
Last week, he took to social media to say: “Hate is contagious, too. Help us stop the spread.”
Hate is contagious, too. Help us stop the spread.
— AG Gurbir Grewal (@NewJerseyOAG) March 19, 2020
Murphy pleaded for New Jerseyans to stay compassionate to one another.
“We ain’t going to get out of this if we start squaring off against each other,” he said. “We will get out of this when we row the boat together.”
He even made a wartime analogy to express his disgust.
“We didn’t win World War II because we panicked,” he said. “We didn’t win World War II because we divided. We win wars — and this is a war — when we stay calm. We rise and fall as one extraordinarily diverse New Jersey family.”
Murphy said the time to stop such behavior is now.
“I don’t have a data point and I don’t want to use the word that I was accusing myself of using too much, which is ‘anecdotal,’ but, enough already,” he said. “We just have to snuff it out.”