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People Are Claiming This Asian-American Doctor Who Took A Knee Is Too Privileged To Speak Out

Dr. Gu told BuzzFeed News he was simply supporting black Americans after Trump's remarks, but he believes he's now being told to stay quiet, grateful, and act as the "silent model minority."

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Dr. Eugene Gu is a general surgery resident physician at Vanderbilt University Hospital. He also serves as president and CEO of a nonprofit that studies congenital heart and kidney diseases.

Gu is also an outspoken critic of President Trump. In fact, a joke "covfefe" tweet got him officially blocked by @realDonaldTrump in June, he said.

@ConnorAMiller @one_timi_oke @jules_su @realDonaldTrump Covfefe: The same guy who doesn't proofread his Twitter handles the nuclear button.

Gu told BuzzFeed News he thought Trump's comments calling NFL players "sons of bitches" were "incredibly chilling."

Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

The doctor called the president's comments a "suppression of people's First Amendment rights" and he was baffled by how they contrast his remarks after the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Back then, he hemmed and hawed about condemning white supremacy. But now when black athletes engage in peaceful protest, he gives the most forceful and vulgar condemnation of his entire presidency," he said.

So on Saturday, while he was on the job, Gu said he was compelled to "take the knee" as "an Asian-American doctor" in solidarity with those Trump called "SOBs" in an effort "to fight white supremacy." His tweet and photo have gone viral, with now over 43,000 retweets.

Twitter: @eugenegu

"I had to do something so I took the knee on social media as my own form of peaceful protest and to show solidarity with the black athletes whom I admire for their courage," said Gu.

Many others were inspired by the gesture, and declared their identities and professions in an effort to show similar support.

@eugenegu White IT Guy here. I’m right there with you.

@m27731630 @MikeSanPedro_ @eugenegu Fyi: I'm a privileged American white female and I believe in #TakeAKnee bc it's… https://t.co/Ca5A5m3bLT

"I am a white combat vet and currently a police officer I am taking the knee with you."

@eugenegu I am a white combat vet and currently a police officer I am taking the knee with you. #TakeTheKnee

Gu said many others across all professions direct-messaged him photos of themselves taking the knee as well.

But very soon, people who strongly oppose the "take a knee" protest began mocking Gu. "I'm an Asian-American doctor whose been afforded amazing opportunities by this country. So I'm going to take knee to protest it," someone wrote.

@eugenegu I'm an Asian-American doctor whose been afforded amazing opportunities by this country. So I'm going to take knee to protest it.

They claimed that because Gu has become a doctor, this directly negates white supremacy. "If America is so racist, how did you get to be a doctor?"

@eugenegu to fight white supremacy? if America is so racist, how did you get to be a doctor? I am so confused.

@eugenegu Wouldn't white supremacy here keep you from being a doctor?

Many Trump supporters believed he is too privileged in this country to speak out about racial injustices. They even suggested he advocate and work in other countries in Asia instead.

@eugenegu Why aren't you in an Asian communist country fighting for the rights of oppressed Asian's instead of draw… https://t.co/XT7R2busYF

@eugenegu @MasterGuns1313 Guess your patient list will become obsolete. I suggest you practice medicine in North K… https://t.co/DJmxDpbIpg

"The common theme among these white supremacists is to accuse me of 'Asian privilege,'" Gu said. "Their arguments were that because I went to Stanford and Duke Medical School, I should be thankful and not complain about systemic racism..."

Asians make up 5 percent of the population but 20 percent of medical school students. A real indicator of white sup… https://t.co/zQsGa10XQT

"It struck me as incredibly racist because I have every right to show solidarity with African-Americans in this country, my fellow Americans, who are subjected to police brutality and injustice..."

Dude I'd suggest your resume tends to cut against institutional white supremacy arguments https://t.co/tdU4v5tgL3

"In fact, successful white Americans and Hollywood stars comment about this all the time. Why is it that I, as an Asian-American, cannot comment on prevailing social and racial issues affecting America today? Do I have no voice?" Gu added.

He said after prominent conservative commentators, like Ben Shapiro and Michelle Malkin, weighed in, a deluge of followers also commented. He said he's received direct messages threatening to harm him simply for sharing his photo.

More publicly, people are boycotting Dr. Gu's services and/or calling on him to leave the country.

Be careful who your doctor is. Wouldn't want this hateful racist operating on me. https://t.co/Y3pErYXnBc

He believes this overwhelmingly aggressive response "is because Asian-Americans are traditionally seen as being the silent model minority. ... We are often used as a wedge against other minorities."

Get the hell out of this country https://t.co/Mb9kELUqiH

"Our so-called success is held as a reason why there is supposedly no racism or injustice in this country," Gu added.

You’re an idiot. https://t.co/SCMvAkhXqV

Despite the detractors, Gu said he is trying to remain focused on the subject at hand. He also notes that he's also seen a lot of "supportive Americans willing to fight racism and injustice" after he shared his photo.

@eugenegu AMERICA KNEELS WITH YOU, KIND SIR!!

@eugenegu We appreciate you Doc! ✊🏾

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

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