Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with a statement from the University of Waterloo.
An Asian professor from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada has come under fire after posting a series of racist remarks against other Asians on Facebook last week.
In his now-deleted posts, Dipanjan Basu, an associate professor of engineering, regurgitated stereotypes about Chinese people, particularly the idea of bat consumption, which has spurred hatred toward Asians as a collective during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“How will bat chow mein taste?” Basu asked in one of his posts.
He wrote in another, “Rat, bat, cat … thinking Chinese! Noooooo — teaching my son English.”
Although Basu targeted Chinese people, he also made an offensive remark towards people from Pakistan.
“The Pakistan-China nexus is one of the deadliest in the world,” Basu claimed in another post. “One is an expert in producing terrorists and the other is an expert in producing viruses!”
While Basu deleted his controversial posts, some people managed to save screenshots of them. His Facebook account is inaccessible as of this writing.
“A racist being a professor publicly spreading racism is one of the most horrible things I can possibly imagine,” one Facebook user commented. “Let’s make this an example, and send a message to the whole society: racism is WRONG, and racists are DISGUSTING.”
Basu claimed in an interview that his comments were not directed to Chinese people, but to the Chinese government for allegedly withholding information about the virus.
In one of his posts, Basu alleged, “Create a problem, hide it, suppress those who talk about it, and then make business out of it!”
The professor reportedly apologized for offending people.
“I didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings,” he said on a phone call, according to local newspaper The Record.
Matthew Grant, a representative from the University of Waterloo, said that the institution is now investigating the matter.
“The University is aware of the concerns that have been raised about the use of racist language on social media and is currently looking into the matter,” Grant told NextShark in an email.
“The University of Waterloo does not condone racism in any form and makes every effort to support a culture of acceptance and respect.
“Currently, our priority is to support those impacted by this situation. For privacy reasons, the University of Waterloo cannot comment on this current situation, but is taking action to examine the remarks.”
A change.org petition is seeking 10,000 signatures to make Basu “responsible for provoking racism.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge that affects us all. We as humanity are in this fight together. Spreading hatred by accusing China to be ‘making business out of it [the virus]’ on Facebook does not help. Calling China ‘an expert in producing viruses’ and Pakistan ‘an expert in producing terrorists’ when the source of virus remains unresolved is even more disturbing and violates the ethics of a research scientist/engineer,” petition author Liumen Wu noted.
“These racist comments induce tremendous anxiety among the Chinese and Pakistani students/researchers. We demand an apology from this professor and necessary actions taken by the university to uphold its value of cultural diversity.”
NextShark has reached out to the University of Waterloo for further comment.