The tragic rise of anti-Asian hate crimes
Since the start of the pandemic, xenophobia, and anti-Asian hate and violence have been rising at alarming rates. In a report released by the Vancouver Police Department, anti-Asian hate crime rates have increased over 717 per cent.
The Chinese Canadian Council for Social Justice report released on March 24 identified 1,150 cases of hate crimes against Asians across Canada from March 10, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021. These reports ranged from acts of vandalism and violent attacks to things like shouting racial slurs, spitting, or coughing on Asian individuals. 60 per cent of reports were from Asian women.
Recently, Athabasca University (AU) Professor and Psychologist Dr. Gina Wong has been featured on a number of local and national TV broadcasts discussing the tragic increase of anti-Asian hate crimes, specifically following the deadly mass shooting in Georgia last week. She’s spoken about the impact it is having on Asian communities, her own personal experiences, discussed how parents can educate and speak to their children, and provided ways to be an ally to those facing hate and discrimination.
“While over 1,000 reports of acts of racism across our nation is staggering, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Many individuals do not report. This number is likely two to three times higher,” said Dr. Gina Wong, Psychologist and Professor at Athabasca University.
A rise of anti-Asian racism across Canada
According to Statistics Canada, the proportion of visible minorities (18 per cent) who perceived an increase in the frequency of harassment or attacks based on race, ethnicity or skin colour has increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This difference was most pronounced among Chinese (30 per cent), Korean (27 per cent), and Southeast Asian (19 per cent) participants.
Dr. Wong joined CTV National News the day after the mass shooting in Georgia that took the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. “It is such a tragedy to have this happen in today’s day and age and for our community to be suffering, and then additionally, to have this [mass shooting] happen,” said Dr. Wong.
“There is a lot of fear, outrage, and a sense of ‘where am I safe?’ In terms of anti-Asian hate and racism that we’ve been experiencing since the COVID pandemic began, it’s just been that much more exacerbated.”
Anti-Asian racism in Canada: How to have open conversations with kids
Dr. Wong joined The Global News Morning Show and provided some advice for parents when dealing with these recent tragedies.
“It’s so important to not be complacent, and to acknowledge that parents are very burned out already with the pandemic and quarantine. Its important for us, as parents, to acknowledge our own unconscious biases. It’s also important to have compassion—not just for other people but for ourselves,” said Dr. Wong.
“Making emotion something that can be talked about in the household–then children can feel comfortable coming to speak to their parents.”
The personal and painful experiences of Anti-Asian hate crimes
Dr. Wong joined Citytv Breakfast Television to discuss speaking up—or trying to—and deciding what to say.
“There’s a Cantonese term called “Yun”, and it’s the idea of having to suppress and hold in the feelings of being hurt or offended. When you think about the stereotypes about Chinese individuals, it’s that we are polite, we’re submissive, we’re subservient. So, that sense of holding it in has a double whammy for us,” said Dr. Wong.
How can you help?
Aside from being an ally, and speaking up for injustices, there is also a fundraising initiative to support organizations and services that enrich youth and individuals of Asian descent. It includes further development and implementation of psychological and community services to combat the effects of anti-Asian racism on our people.
Dr. Wong is the Founder and Ambassador of The Asian Gold Ribbon 2021 Campaign, which urges individuals, organizations, and communities to demonstrate solidarity against Asian racism and to recognize its profound psychological impact. Reclaiming the color yellow that has been used historically to denigrate and disparage our race (“yellow peril”) will be celebrated by adorning yellow/gold ribbons and signify a better tomorrow.
Dr. Wong joined The Agenda, TVO to speak about the campaign.
“I am involving youth in the campaign and hope to gain worldwide attention through schools, universities, and social media. I’m in the early stages of development and looking for partners, supporters, and allies,” said Dr. Wong.
Visit the webpage for more information on Asian Gold Ribbon|Together we stand against Asian racism and join the conversation on Twitter.