Anti-Asian Hate: An Enduring Issue in Canada

With the rise in awareness of Asian hate circulating on social media, I’ve seen a lot of articles highlighting incidents in the United States. Although there are articles that highlight the general increase in hate crimes directed towards Asians in Canada, I haven’t seen many highlighting specific incidents in the country. While Canada is known to be multicultural and full of nice, welcoming people, it is wrong to assume that some groups don’t look down on others, as some people have shown hostile attitudes and microaggressions toward minority groups. In this article, I will be specifically focusing on hate directed towards Asians, especially East Asians, as it has escalated since this pandemic.

I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, a city that’s known to be diverse and welcoming. Yet when I was a child, I’ve witnessed teenagers mockingly say, “Ni Hao!” while pulling their eyes back to my parents on the streets. What’s disheartening is that my parents initially didn’t understand why these people pulled their eyes back and greeted them in an unfriendly tone before I broke the truth to them. Two months ago, when my mom called the hospital to confirm her appointment at the hospital, the receptionist asked her to read out her health card number. When she was in the middle of reading it out, the receptionist interrupted by saying, “I don’t understand what you're saying. We don’t have a patient booked in with this health card number,” and hung up. Then, I called and the same receptionist answered my call. This time when I recited my mom’s health card number, the receptionist seemed like a completely different person and cheerfully confirmed my mom's appointment. It was horrific, yet unsurprising that there was a sudden shift in her attitude towards someone with a “Chinese” accent versus a “Canadian” accent.

While anti-Asian sentiment is nothing new and has always been present in Canada, many people were “hush-hush” about it, or simply kept it to themselves since society made us believe that it’s “not a big deal.” From making fun of our eyes to turning it into the fox-eye trend, and from making fun of our language to idolizing K-Pop idols, the things that we were once made fun of are now a trend. Now, with influential political figures such as Donald Trump calling COVID-19 the “China Flu” or “Kung-flu,” society has turned on people who look Chinese, which, to the uneducated, happens to be anyone who is East Asian. Even in Canada, Asians are cursed at, beaten up, coughed on - and it’s mostly seniors who are being targeted. Now that it has gotten to the point where many Asians are afraid to step outside of their homes and fear for their parents’ safety, our society has finally become aware that Asian hate is an issue.

All in all, we should all treat each other as equals, as the human race isn’t a hierarchy. Especially during these times, when we witness acts of racism and hostility towards other minority groups, we should call them out for it and fight to end racial injustice.

 

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