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Letter: Tackling racism in Richmond requires honest conversations

Coun. Chak Au is among a small group speaking out on the issue of racism across all cultures and ethnicities in Richmond
Stop racism poster

Dear Editor,

Re: “More racism in Richmond than elsewhere,” News, April 28

We applaud Clive Clark for speaking openly about his experience and bringing to light an issue we all have to face.

We have witnessed the rise of hate-motivated crime in Canada and our city. The numbers provided by the RCMP showed that between 2019 and 2021, hate crime and incidents have increased by 240 per cent in Richmond. The numbers also showed that while most (61 per cent) of the victims were Asians, 19 per cent were Blacks, and 13 per cent were South Asians and Middle Easterners.

We understand that the news story may have infuriated some people in the community; however, denial is the number one obstacle in fighting against racism. We must acknowledge that racism is not a designation to one particular ethnic or cultural group. The authors of this letter have all been victims of racism, and the experience still hurts.

But we have also come across incidents where members of the Chinese community were discriminatory towards people from other cultures. We agree with Jimmy Yan, an SFU research assistant, that being a victim does not necessarily make you immune to being a perpetrator.

In the fight against racism, we are fighting for all. When we address anti-Asian racism, we also attend to what happens to other peoples.

We need more dialogue to reflect on our own biases. Kwantlen Polytechnic University has offered community discussion groups on “How do l know if l am a racist?” Richmond Multicultural Community Services also held anti-racism dialogues whereby people shared their stories and reflected on the impact of racism and hate in Richmond.

Until we acknowledge that we do hold biases and take steps to correct these biases, we cannot, as a diversified community, move forward with unity and solidarity.

Let’s all Be the Change We Seek.

Chak Au, Vanessa Yu, Louise Yeoh