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Letters: Words absolutely matter when it comes to racism

Another Richmond News reader takes issue with a previous letter writer that asked people to lighten up about using racist terms
Stand Against Racism sign
A Richmond News readers has some choice words about racism

Re: "Trump got it right," Opinion, April 8, 2021

The above opinion letter wishes to defend the former President's comment on equating the coronavirus to terms like the 'China virus' or 'Kung flu'. The last line of this article states, “Let’s all just lighten up a bit." 

It is my view that the points made are short sighted and tone deaf not to mention insensitive. It dismisses the racial overtones of a President's comment as if there can be no negative repercussions to people of Chinese and Asian heritage.

Words matter! They especially matter when they are said by the leader of the free world. There are people out there who have racist tendencies and are looking for blame using race as a perceived tool to help alleviate their personal and/or society's problems.

The previous administration had more than its share of racial innuendos starting with the announcement of his presidential candidacy calling Mexicans crossing the border as rapists, a travel ban on many Muslim countries and referring to African nations as 'shithole' countries.  And of course, who can forget the White supremacist rally and those who protested against them that turned violent. Following the 2017 riot in Charlottesville, the former president made the comment of having 'very fine people' on both sides. Is there not a moral non-equivalence between the two groups of protestors?

These types of rhetoric gave permission and legitimacy for a certain group of people to act out their ignorance, insecurities and fears into hate.

The article also pointed out that an outright blame can be directed to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the Coronavirus. While there may perhaps be an argument to be made, the former president did not address the CPP directly to my knowledge but instead used terminologies that are considered offensive to an entire race. The messaging used is ripe for hate groups and puts many people of Asian descent in a defensive position.

We now know there are repercussions. There is a sharp rise towards anti-Asian racism in metro Vancouver including other parts of Canada and the U.S. and the rise happened during the previous administration and continues to escalate to this day. While it is not conclusive evidence, a direct correlation can be made and it does not help to say 'just lighten up a bit' especially if you're of Asian descent.

In our quest for a society that brings awareness to the importance of Mental Health not to mention a caring society for tolerance and dignity, words directed to a specific someone or group matters. But as I've seen in the news media footage, a placard sign held by someone in a demonstration rally captured the words: "F*** your feelings".

I want to ask a question: which type of society do we rather live in?

Ben Mejilla