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Letters: Troubling views fuel racism in Richmond

A Richmond News reader is concerned about some of the views expressed by other letter writers
An incident in a Steveston coffee shop has highlighted the issue of racism

Dear Editor,

Re: “Trump got it right about China,” “Racism not the issue,” Letters.

It is with profound disappointment and concern that I write in response to the recent letters to the editor which address the issue of anti-Asian racism.

Particularly, the comments and sentiments expressed by Alexander Vaz and Wayne Clouston are extremely troubling in my view, given that they perpetuate the normalization of racism and inflict further harm on people of colour.

To dismiss the racist nature of these violent crimes not only undermines the racist motives behind these crimes, but it also sends the signal that it is okay to normalize legitimate hate crimes in our community.

According to a recent poll, 77 per cent of Asian respondents have experienced acts of racism at some point during their time in BC.

The fact is, Asian-Canadians live racism every day, including acts of violence. Lived experiences of Asians are more than just a headline and transcend any sort of “mainstream narrative.”

But perhaps what is more concerning is the normalization of the racist term which ties a Chinese martial art to COVID-19.

While the author may be having a “good laugh” at this, they do not recognize that Asians have routinely been ridiculed and subjected to discrimination based on the use of this term. I also question the validity of the author’s flawed logic that just because someone knows people of Chinese descent and are familiar with Chinese culture, that their comments and actions are not racist in any way. Perhaps the author can better educate themself by having constructive dialogue with those who have actually lived the painful experience of racism.

Between the ever-so-subtle microaggressions, asking where we are really from, to the outright hostile and physical attacks like the one recently seen in Steveston, racism comes in all forms and all settings. It is important for racialized members and allies in the community to recognize acts of racism as they happen and rightly point them out.

#StopAsianHate is more than just a reactionary moment against the incidents in Steveston, in San Francisco, or in Atlanta. It is a symbolism of increasing consciousness amongst Asian-Canadians to the systematic racial prejudice within Canadian society and represents a conscious will to actively resist these prejudices that many people of colour have grown to accept.

As a Chinese-Canadian, I realize that calling out racism in our everyday lives is not easy and takes courage. However, I also believe that we as a community can greatly benefit from a community that rejects intolerance and embraces diversity. More than ever, Richmondites need to stand together in the fight against racial discrimination.

David Yang