Nearly two years since COVID-19 took over the world, spurring a fresh wave of anti-Asian hate in Western countries, two recent surveys reflect how Canada continues to grapple with racism against the ethnic group.
The first survey, a study from the University of Victoria, polled 874 first- and second-generation Chinese Canadians and found that most of them had experienced discrimination amid the pandemic.
Of the first-generation respondents, 60.6% reported that they had been treated with less respect due to their ethnicity, while 56.8% of the second-generation respondents made the same claim.
Meanwhile, 35.2% of the first-generation respondents said they had been personally threatened or intimidated; a larger 39.8% of the second-generation respondents reported similarly.
The study also found that while first-generation respondents perceived more health, financial and cultural threats as a result of COVID-19, second-generation respondents reported more personal and group discrimination. For both groups, personal discrimination was negatively linked to their Canadian identity, while group discrimination was positively linked to their Chinese identity.
“Discrimination brings a questioning of belonging to Canadian society and more than half of Chinese Canadians are worried about their children being bullied,” UVic psychologist Nigel Mantou Lou, who led the study, said in a news release. “Many worried about their job and career opportunities being worse due to their Chinese identity.
Despite the increase in racist attacks, Lou said his team found that reporting remains low at just about 10%.
“Mainly, people who feel that they are not being seen as Canadian were less likely to report the incident. Asian Canadians are often being seen as ‘foreigners,’ and the feeling that they don’t belong can really hold them back in life,” he said. “Previous research also found that victims may worry that reporting could backfire and lead to further discrimination, as well as a belief that reporting will not change anything.”
A separate survey by research firm Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies polled 1,255 white Canadians and 75 Chinese Canadians.
Nearly half of the Chinese Canadians reported that relations with white Canadians had worsened during COVID-19, while only about two in five white Canadians said relations with the opposite group got worse, according to The Canadian Press.
Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, attributed the discrepancy to white privilege, saying it shields white people from seeing the lived experiences of Asian Canadians.
A Statistics Canada report found that hate crimes spiked from 1,951 in 2019 to 2,669 in 2020. Those targeting Asian Canadians rose by 301%, according to Global News.
Just last week, a woman was filmed going on an anti-Chinese tirade at a grocery store in Montreal. “All of these 21 months of bullsh*t… All of these f*cking epidemic that became a pandemic, it’s because of you Chinese people,” she told a pair of Asian shoppers.
Go’s group has partnered with other organizations to create Fight COVID Racism, a national portal tracking anti-Asian incidents, similar to Stop AAPI Hate in the U.S. As of this writing, the coalition has received 1,139 incident reports.