Conversations That Matter: Addressing anti-Asian racism


Anti-Asian racism is increasing. Over the past 12 months, reports of incidents in Canada have more than tripled according to a study by researchers at the University of Toronto, who say the reason is COVID-19.

Anti-Asian racism is not new to Canada. People of Chinese descent have long experienced racism, segregation, intimidation, violence and murder because they were Chinese. The Canadian government introduced the Chinese Immigration Act in 1885 which imposed a heavy head tax on anyone from China. Then in 1923, the Act banned Chinese immigrants from entering Canada.

The Act was repealed in 1947 when Chinese people were allowed to become Canadian citizens. Despite citizenship rights, it wasn’t until 1962 that immigrants from China were allowed into the country. As a country we have been hostile, disrespectful and physically aggressive towards people from China.

Over the past 60 years, anti-Asian discrimination had been fading. Most young women and men of Asian ancestry or new immigrants rarely experienced racism.

Then COVID-19 dramatically changed the way Asian people are being treated.

Franco Ng is one of a group of young people who says part of the problem is his generation needs to step up and get involved. As a co-chair of the Youth Forum for Asian Representation, Lauren Tse, says, “a lack of Asian representation across all spectrums of Canadian government has hindered the ability for the community to effectively address the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes.”

Stuart McNish invited Frano Ng, one of the driving forces behind the Forum, to join a Conversation That Matter about addressing anti-Asian racism.

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