Do Non-Asian-Americans Not Like Wearing Face Masks Because They're Identified With Asians?



The truism is how people who lived through the Great Depression would never give up their penny-pinching ways, no matter how many decades have passed.

Speaking for myself, long after COVID-19 is history (call me an optimist for assuming that), I'm going to continue wearing a mask in certain settings (call me an optimist for assuming I'll live to see the day COVID-19 is history). For one thing, I don't think I'll ever ride public transit again without wearing a mask.


Oh, and a memo to Dow Constantine and Peter Rogoff. If you ever want to see transit ridership recover, make masks mandatory! I know our transit community bends over backwards to make transit accessible to underserved communities, including the underserved community of sociopathic assholes. And it is simply not in the DNA of these agencies to require riders to wear masks. Seattle transit could recover from this pandemic, but it won't because it can't; it is constitutionally incapable of saving itself.

(And this sort of thing isn't even on the radar of the transportation advocacy groups out there. They're too focused on communicating what gender pronouns to refer to people with.)

Speaking as someone who has supported every pro-transit ballot measure in this region in the 21st century and opposed every anti-transit ballot measure in this region in the 21st century, it saddens me to acknowledge this. But to not acknowledge this is simple denial.


"There are three reasons main reasons. One is, of course, racial; another concerns the stubbornness of American individualism; and the last has something to do with the preservation of Yankee manliness."

This is a lousy analysis of an interesting topic. I suppose that fear of "looking Asian" might be the primary reason a small percentage of people object to wearing masks. The other two reasons are far more important to understanding why a minority of Americans object to wearing the masks in public. A well researched and objective article would have explored these issues in detail and may have helped shed some light on the subject.


My guess is the most common reason is that it is uncomfortable. There are a lot of people who wear their mask when they get into a crowd, or go indoors, but the rest of the time they leave it off. Another very common reason is they simply forgot it at home. I would bet those two reasons are way more common than the three you listed, and especially the "I don't want to look like an Asian" idea. That is bizarre. My guess only a very small percentage of people think that, let alone care.


"Our analysis suggests that their use could reduce onward transmission by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic wearers if widely used in situations where physical distancing is not possible or predictable"

In other words: indoors. There are sensible precautions and then there is unhinged paranoia. Freaking out about people not wearing face masks outdoors is pretty clearly the latter.



The problem being: how are you going to compel people who won't wear masks outside to do so inside? Many of them aren't carrying masks in the first place, because they don't think they're either necessary or effective (both incorrect assumptions). So, the only option is to make them available at the entrance and then bar entry to anyone who refuses to wear one; basically an update to the old "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" admonition with one new addition. And even then some entitled assholes are going to scream bloody murder about "their rights being violated" - because, well - because they're spoiled, infantile, self-entitled assholes who believe the world revolves them and their uncontrollable impulses.


Excellent comment @6. It's a lot easier to enforce a mandate at the door of a facility than upon leaving one's door. Only one quibble: I don't believe establishments should be on the hook for providing masks at the door.

Digesting now the top breaking story in The Seattle Times: "King County issues directive for residents to wear cloth face coverings in certain settings."


White people do not like being told what to do. They truly believe that anyone telling them to do anything is oppression. It is bat shit insanity. Get over yourselves and wear a fucking mask!!!

If white people had to deal with even a fraction (I'm talking 1%) of the bullshit other people have to deal with on a daily basis (all of the microaggressions and policing of their very existence by other people), all white people would be acting like the assholes in the militias terrorizing legislators and governors at state capitols for having the nerve to insist they stay home to save lives.


In 1918, there was an anti-mask league in San Francisco, which objected to wearing masks to prevent the spread of influenza. They held meetings of thousands of maskless people. San Francisco was ultimately was one of the cities that suffered most from the Spanish Influenza pandemic

"...The wearing of a mask immediately became of a symbol of wartime patriotism. A Red Cross public service announcement stated bluntly, “the man or woman or child who will not wear a mask now is a dangerous slacker,” calling into question the patriotism of those who refused."


@10 Yeah, if only we had a President that would sell that message, it might help a lot.




@6 I don't know, it seems like businesses have been refusing entry by those without masks all over the place and for the most part there is compliance. Costco I believe instituted such a policy. In any case it is quite a leap from the evidence that exists that masks are a useful tool to prevent transmission to saying they are 'indispensable'. People did not start losing their shit over this until the CDC's mild endorsement of mask wearing (ironically probably after cases peaked in many if not most parts of the country). For the most part these seem to be the same people that get an endorphin rush out of being outraged and righteous about random shit on a regular basis.


@8 Batshit insanity: 5G causes the virus. Slightly less batshit insanity: asymptomatic people without masks in uncrowded spaces outdoors are likely to be spreading the virus merely by breathing. Really there are plenty of things to be outraged about in this world. Save your energy.


Why the quest to find sociological meanings in arbitrary decisions when a myriad of more pertinent factors may explain the phenomena with a greater degree of accuracy?


I think it's mostly a man thing, not a race thing. Men don't want to appear weak, because that means they acknowledge the inevitability of death.

And let me just quietly murmur that it seems - based on my forays along Rainier Ave and MLK way - that black men are the ones most likely to not wear a mask.


Mudede, if you saw an airplane flying in the sky you'd claim the source of its lift was racial. In fact, people don't like wearing masks because they are hot, uncomfortable, and fog your eyeglasses if you need to wear them.


All I know about this (as a white person) is that my very dear Asian-American friends in the “liberal” city of Portland, OR would wear masks out of fear of violence directed to them.


Yes, there remains an interesting article to be written comparing the responses of the various Asian, Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian and Native American cultures in the US to wearing masks. I'd guess that all objectors would be in the minority within their somewhat artificial groups but Asians are clearly more comfortable with the restriction. Male vs. Female? Age groups? Urban vs. rural? Blue collar vs. white collar? What do the Muslim guys think about wearing masks?


Interesting that no sooner do I insist @2 that King County Metro and Sound Transit mandate masks—and predict they'll never do it—than they announce that they're going to be stopping just short of a legally binding mandate. Obviously, I'm encouraged to see this; obviously, I'm happy to be almost wrong in my cynical prediction. If nothing else, I'd still like to see individuals who don't warrant exceptions removed from the vehicle at the earliest opportunity for refusing to wear a mask. I still can't imagine that happening.

We'll have to see just how effective this soft edict is. Speaking as someone who rarely needs to take transit these days.

Anyway, I'm happy to see that our elected officials and public health officials are going all Czech on us. I wish they'd done so sooner, but OK.


I wear a mask because with a global pandemic, it is the right, albeit uncomfortable, thing to do.


More fucking drivel form Charles.


What about access?

I've seen lots of photos of colorful masks, and articles about people making them. Even online instructions on how to make them yourself, but these require a sewing machine. I've got a couple cotton bandannas, but these are very uncomfortable if worn snugly, and less effective than a purpose-built mask.

Where can I get a mask?

I know of two tailor shops in my neighborhood who make and sell masks, but they are never open when I pass by. I don't know anywhere else that sell masks, and I will never order anything through Amazon.

And it seems the proper use of cloth masks also requires washing after every use. I don't have a washing machine either, so I'd have to develop a habit of keeping a supply of hand washed masks in rotation.

All of this is a big ask for the public.

In France, every citizen receives at least one mask delivered by post to their door free of charge. I think if the state expects us all to wear masks, they should be obliged to provide them.


@23 a big ask? really? there are tons of videos/tutorials on how to make a no-sew mask (i know because i don't know how to sew). expecting to be given a mask in THIS country where the medical professionals in NEED of them to do their jobs are being refused them by the goddamn sociopathic and sadistic resident in the WH and his minions in charge? get a grip. suck it up. do what needs to be done. are we as a society so fucking lazy, so used to having other people do everything for us that we can't do the very simplest things being asked of us to save lives? wear a mask. make it if you have to make it. clean it by hand every damn day if you have to. god americans are whiny ass bitches. imagine living somewhere where you had to do everything the hard way just to fucking survive. you would be dead in day.


@xina -- BINGO.

LOVE your work
Paragraphs are/can be your Friend.


@25 -- I prefer Dreamers 99-1
over Loyal (at ALL Costs) Followers.


"There are three reasons main reasons. One is, of course, racial; another concerns the stubbornness of American individualism; and the last has something to do with the preservation of Yankee manliness."

For the first couple of months of the epidemic, people from the CDC and WHO to the Surgeon General to the Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Duchin were telling people that masks don't work and could actually be harmful. It could just be that some people listened to them.


I personally welcome the opportunity to wear a mask in public because I suffer from being painfully good-looking.
So finally I can go about my business without people staring, making rude comments ("Hey Hollywood!"- ugh), constantly getting hit on by random women...
you have no idea the burden of being ruggedly handsome in a society that prizes plainness.
I know what you're thinking- well why not just have beauty-reduction surgery?
I tried that, but it didn't take.
came right back.


@8: "White people do not like being told what to do" - Xina, the melanin-challenged hardly have a monopoly on this. Blacks are just as bad about not following rules, as prison population composition statistics reveal.

At my local grocery store, pretty much everybody was wearing masks. A glaring exception was a large black family that ambled about totally maskless without a care. Of course no one dared say anything lest they be called out for racism and become the next 'BBQ Betty' ('Mask Markey'?). Their cavalier attitude was particularly ironic since COVID-19 kills a disproportionately high number of blacks.

Giving any group a 'pass' they don't deserve is racist. If we're going to beat this thing, we all have to do our bit; no one is too 'special'.


"you have no idea the burden of being ruggedly
handsome in a society that prizes plainness."



(speaking of elective surgeries -- I tried the penile
reduction surgery but it grew right back BIGGER)

[fucking 'doktors']


This article is insane and stupid. Worried about looking asian wearing a mask? You are a bad writer who is either bored or trying to stir up more unnecessary racial bullshit. How was this article even published?

Wearing a mask is uncomfortable, hot and you are just recycling your own dirty air. It is not a big deal to wear a mask in a store, it makes people feel a little safer and you can take it off the moment you leave.

How about writing about the potential for cardiac arrest in these idiots that are running, playing tennis or working out while wearing a mask. How about writing an article about the emotional damage being caused by being afraid of all your fellow humans.


In all of the protests against the stay at home, lock down, wear masks, be a sensible human being and not a twat, all I see is sea of angry white people. Red faced, screaming, gun toting, don't tell me what to do, dumb as fuck white people.

There are exceptions. Thr security guard at the dollar store in Michigan was murdered by three black people all because one of them the woman, refused to wear a mask.

Americans, especially white Americans, believe being told what to do by anyone, if they don't want to do it, is an infringement on their rights. Especially, it seems, if it will save lives

Not the sharpest pencils in the box, humans and yet we claim to be the smartest beings on Earth.


"Japan’s obsession with social courtesy" sounds lovely. In contrast, the USA's national obsession seems to be more along the lines of "I will do whatever I like and you can't stop me because you're not the boss of me". Is this racism or narcissism? The USA, as a whole, is a shockingly self-absorbed country of provincial idiots. Humans, pffft.


@34 When I go outside my door I see maybe 3 out of 10 people walking around the streets with masks on. It does appear that nitwits who are agitated about something that is not backed up by any available scientific evidence are vastly over-represented here. What's more likely: the MAJORITY who are not wearing masks in non-crowded areas are entitled racists who do not want to look Asian, or they are simply not paranoid headcases?


Restaurants and bars requiring the patrons to wear masks seems kind of counterproductive since you know... you have to remove the mask to eat or drink.


Yang is right about Japan. When I lived there I found the mask thing odd or different, but I've grown wiser.

However to counter the point Charles is making, it seems like Redmond and other eastside enclaves are mask central for all nationalities. Seattle, not as much. Go north or south and even less so. Should I write a column pointing out how superior and culturally aware these upper middle class neighborhoods are?


Goddamn - I was almost certain that Chuck would loop around to tie Marxist theory into this somehow, and also that non-mask wearing was a 'proof' of the shortcomings of capitalism.

C'mon Chuck - convolute harder!


"Do Non-Asian-Americans Not Like Wearing Face Masks Because They're Identified With Asians?" is the dumbest question Charles has ever asked.