Reports of Anti-Asian Racism in Canada sees sharp spike in May
In light of growing anti-Asian racism, the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), in collaboration with the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice and other Canadian organizations and with funding from the Government of Canada, has officially launched our national web tool www.covidracism.ca at our launch event for reporting and tracking anti-Asian hate/racist incidents on May 28.
In total, since February there were 138 reported cases of COVID-related racism, with 110 of those cases being reported during the Month of May. We have recorded 80 instances from Ontario, 36 from BC, 15 from Quebec and the remainder from other provinces. Of the people who recorded their own experiences:
- 66% identified as women
- 80% of those who reported incidents identified as East Asian, 11% identified as Southeast Asian, 3% identified as indigenous, 2% identified as Black, and 4% identified as other
- 72% noted they suffered from emotional harm after the incident
- The three most common types of harassment were verbal harassment, intentional spitting/coughing, and exclusion or refusal access to premises.
Katherine, a Chinese Canadian frontline health care worker who shared her experiences confronting racism spoke about why this tool mattered to her: “We know that racial injustice is happening all around North America and especially coming to light with the recent incidents in Minneapolis and NYC. I am hoping that this advocacy tool will start an important dialogue at a system-level around race and social inequity in all communities, and the first step of having this conversation would be providing means for the victims to be forward about their experience”.
Kennes Lin, CCNCTO Co-Chair, noted during the press conference: “Based on misunderstanding facts and science, layered and fueled by xenophobia and racism anti-Asian racist incidents are intensifying in disturbing rates. This is unacceptable. Viruses do not have an ethnicity, nationality, or race. To have a clear understanding to advocate for change, tracking every incident of hate is key to understanding the racism Chinese Canadians and Asian Canadian face in this time of pandemic”
CCNCTO recognizes that further emphasizing policing will not help address systemic racism. As Justin Kong, CCNCTO Executive Director, notes: “In a climate of increasing austerity and heightened fear, what we need now is not more policing, but more dedicated resources to supporting communities in need, resources dedicated to anti-racism education, guaranteeing workers rights and supporting migrant communities”.
CCNCTO also echoes the growing calls within the Asian diaspora to recognize that safety for our communities can only be achieved through confronting racial violence as perpetrated by the state, alongside other forms of racism.
Edward Hon-Sing Wong, CCNCTO Co-Chair, explains, “The findings from this report will help inform our efforts to foster substantive community-based responses to racism that do not rely on policing. This is especially significant given the recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, sparking mass protests, and concerns about the role of Toronto Police in the death of Regis Korchinski Paquet”.