ICYMI: Highlights from NBC News NOW’s The Racism Virus

ICYMI: Highlights from NBC News NOW's The Racism Virus

ICYMI: Highlights from NBC News NOW’s The Racism Virus

Last night, NBC News NOW and NBC Asian America aired “The Racism Virus” a streaming special hosted by NBC News’ Vicky Nguyen. Various guests joined the special. Here are some of the most notable moments:

  • On playing a stereotype: “It wasn’t until I got into the industry that I realized how Asian I was and I needed to fit into this box of these particular characters, tropes, or stereotypes.” – NBC Chicago Med actor, Brian Tee

  • On new Teen Vogue EIC: “I think it’s important for people to hear her say that these were racist comments and there’s nothing excusable about…I think that for myself and other people in our community, it would just be nice for her to just say exactly what it is. Call it what it is, it was, it was a racist stupid remark.” – actress, Olivia Munn

  • On his struggle to focus on his game while hearing racist comments on the court: “When people come in and they say those things, they’re trying to get you out of your element.” – NBA basketball player, Jeremy Lin

  • On what can we do as consumers to support Asian artists and communities: “It’s such an exciting time for these artists.”

  • On feeling invisible in media and entertainment and what more can be done: “It’s so important to really talk about visibility. I think that things have changed, but it’s taken such a long time… My television show premiered over a quarter of a century ago… We’re not all crazy rich… it reinforces our narrative and stereotype that we are untouchable and invisible. It’s about supporting these films, these artists, these actors and supporting this culture which is emerging.” – comedian and actress, Margaret Cho
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  • On Biden signing the executive order to combat xenophobia against Asian Americans: “It makes a huge difference. They ignored us for a whole year, so it was a huge thing when Biden issued this executive order within the first week of him taking office. We set up a meeting right away and we’ve come up with several ways to combat hate crimes.” – congresswoman, Judy Chu


The special featured in-depth conversations with Margaret Cho, comedian, actress and fashion designer; Judy Chu, US Representative, D-CA and CAPAC chair; Dr. Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate; Yul Kwon, First Asian American winner of Survivor; NBA basketball player, Jeremy Lin; Benny Luo, CEO of NEXTSHARK; actress Olivia Munn; Amanda Nguyen, CEO and founder of Rise; Jess Owyoung, founding member of Compassion in Oakland; actor Brian TeeEric Toda, global head of social marketing at Facebook; Dr. Jenny Wang, clinical psychologist and founder of the Asians for Mental Health community; and Kimmy Yam, reporter for NBC Asian America. NBC News’ investigative and consumer correspondent, Vicky Nguyen moderated the special.

Since the start of the pandemic one year ago, Americans have seen a stark rise in anti-Asian discrimination and hate attacks occurring nationwide. According to Stop AAPI Hate, between March and December 2020, more than 2,800 hate incidents towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported. This special will cover how the community is coping, the psychological and economic toll this discrimination brings and what can be done to bring a sense of belonging and unity again.

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This NBC News NOW’s special is part of NBC News’ two-week “COVID One Year Later: Life After Lockdown” series on the pandemic, featuring exclusive and original reporting across “TODAY,” “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” MSNBC, NBCNews.com and NBC News NOW.

Watch the NBC News NOW special again on demand on Peacock and on NBC Asian America.

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