Since last March, Canada has been amid two pandemics; racism and COVID-19. While racism has infested our streets since the beginning of time, an unsettling spike has appeared towards many groups of minorities over the past year. Since the pandemic entered our lives a year ago, the Asian community has experienced a distinct increase in hate crimes of 717%.
Across Canada, people of Asian descent in both the city and rural areas have become profiled, targeted, and too frequently attacked.
Although the virus of COVID-19 is reported to have derived from Wuhan, China, science experts have come out on countless occasions explaining to the public that between our consumption of meat and the rise of global warming, it was only a matter of time before a person from any region was to become a host to a new virus.
With the origin of the pandemic has nothing to do with the spread or danger of it, one should expect society to act accordingly. However, for many, the pandemic has become an excuse to target an ethnic group and harass the Asian community, “For COVID.”
From waves of vandalism in Chinatown to increases in violence and hate speech, more and more people of the Asian community are finding themselves walking in public embarrassed, in preparation to defend themselves. Provinces such as British Columbia and Ontario and becoming labeled as offensive and abusive areas for the Asian community, where racist connotations in both physical and verbal attacks are increasing in public spaces.
Amenities are being arranged in certain areas like Chinatowns and other public settings to ensure the safety of the civilians. However, even with harsher penalties becoming implemented to reduce hate crimes, it has become clear that the level of darkness and arrogance filled by many people are still willing to attack people and settle with receiving jail time.
When headlines of hate crimes against groups of minorities began appearing in the news, most first came from the United States and some from Europe. Many Canadians were and still think Canada, the country where people say thank you too many times, was not experiencing this situation when in fact- it was worse than the United States.
Canada’s hubris and chauvinism have come in the way of seeing the truth of what surrounds us, making our nation’s negligence the leading cause of why our spike in hate crimes are worse than other countries. For this, many of our politicians and civilians become ignorant of minority groups and the abuse they have experienced.
What Canadian civilians need to understand is that holding our stereotypes of ice, coffee and politeness is deafening to thousands of communities around us who have been experiencing racial profiling, verbal, physical abuse, and harassment.
Instead of targeting other countries, it’s time to look from within our borders and examine the current situation that Canada is under; An increase of 717%/province Asian hate crimes in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Quebec.
It’s time to do better, it’s time to help our peers and protect each other from the black streak that has been eating away and the red and white on our national flag.
If we wish to better our living conditions, we have to start from the base with education. Reforming a nationally uniform history and ethics classes that remain unbiased and teach our people nothing but the facts to eliminate as much arrogance and ignorance as possible.
Racism especially towards the Asian community has been a part of Canada’s history for a long time and in order to improve our nation’s plight, we have to learn and teach ourselves about our past.
Instead of telling our children how Canada gave railway jobs to the Chinese when they came here in the 1840s, we have to tell the truth and spend more time on how Canada gave nothing but the hardest and most dangerous jobs to our immigrants when we built our railways. How Canada attempted assimilation countless times. How Canada still reforms cultures and tries to force their culture and languages upon immigrants from all over since the beginning of time. How today, our current prime minister needs to be reprimanded for calling the Uyghurs Muslim genocide an extremely loaded term before condemning it.
If we don’t educate ourselves on the truth, this facade of cockiness and content on how we live our lives blocks our rationality, sensibility, and humility. By attempting to understand our history, we can become humiliated by our past and try for a better future where we make an active effort to protect our neighbors and friends.