I am a long-time resident of Richmond, and I would like to write to express my displeasure at some changes I have observed recently.
There has been much immigration over the past 25 years or so, and along with that have come cultural and social changes and an increased presence of people of Chinese descent in this city which was previously dominated by the descendents of another group of immigrants, namely Europeans.
This new wave of immigration has brought a new level of diversity to Richmond, which can be observed in the variety of shops and restaurants available, as well as in the emergence of positive additions to the city’s leisure scene, such as the Richmond Night Market and the Chinese New Year celebrations.
As a mother of three children who attend public school and participate in numerous out-of-school activities, I witness daily interactions between children of more recent immigrant backgrounds and those with more distant immigrant roots and see that, in general, there is harmony and good will between residents of Richmond.
The disappointing change that I have noticed, and which causes me to brace myself every time I open my local paper, is this new preponderance of negative letters to the editor in which it seems acceptable to express a general dislike for the “new immigrants.”
Everybody knows that by “new immigrants” letter-writers mean “Chinese.” It is also clear that “long-time resident” means “(probably middle-aged) white person.”
In fact, the same “long-term” residents seem to be writing letters week after week to air their views about the way Richmond used to be and how things are just not the same anymore.
Week after week, I read these letters and feel anger at the pure ignorance and lack of perspective of these “locals,” descendants of immigrants who likely faced similar hurdles in their adaptations to this country populated by immigrants.
But more so, I feel dismay that some people of Chinese descent might read these letters and believe that the hostile and xenophobic attitudes expressed in them represents my feelings, or those of the majority. They do not.
Richmond is a wonderful place to live because of its diversity not in spite of it, and I for one plan to stay here for many years to come.