Anti-Asian racism increasing, worsening in B.C. during pandemic: survey

A Vancouver area woman says she's not surprised after hearing a new poll shows Asian-Canadians are feeling more alone during the pandemic. David Zura explains.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A new survey is shedding light on the rise of anti-Asian racism in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.

The research conducted by Insights West in partnership with OMNI Television found more than 80 per cent of Asian-Canadians say racism is a serious problem in this province — and it’s gotten worse amid COVID-19.

President Steve Mossop explains 43 per cent of those surveyed reported being the target of racism in the past year, experiencing a range of discriminatory behaviours.

“This includes everything from indirect racial slurs, 26 per cent, to direct racial slurs 23 per cent, to social media 16 per cent, and work/school discrimination 10 per cent” he says.

“Five per cent have had an assault in the past year and six per cent have experienced property damage.”

According to the Vancouver Police Department, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 717 per cent in 2020. The Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice has tracked 931 anti-Asian racist incidents in this country during COVID-19

In the US, a white man, Robert Aaron Long, was charged with killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlours in March. The attack has sent terror through the Asian American community, which has increasingly been targeted during the coronavirus pandemic. In several major cities, including New York and Los Angeles, police reported an uptick in Asian-targeted hate crimes between 2019 and 2020, according to data collected by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.


In British Columbia, the vast majority of those surveyed — 87 per cent — say anti-Asian racism has gotten worse, with 64 per cent saying it has gotten “a lot worse.”

“Individuals from all demographic segments and age groups all agree about how serious a problem it is, but females are feeling particularly vulnerable on this issue (41% feel it is a ‘very serious problem’ vs. only 27% of males),” Mossop says.

Mossop says the effects of both the rise of racist incidents, and the fear and anxiety this provokes has affected about three-quarters of people polled negatively.

“It’s really concentrated in the past year and the pandemic has really brought out, I think, the worst in Canadians, and a segment of our society is really suffering because of it.”

With files from The Canadian Press, and The Associated Press

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