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My Anti-Asian Racism Perspective

Opinion by Christepher Wee (From April 2021 Online)
Christepher Wee
Christepher Wee

I’ve been thinking about how to enter into the anti-Asian racism dialogue through a tangible and germane avenue because I think that counter voices to this issue are critical. This opportunity befell recently when CBC News reported on newly released data about anti-Asian racism compiled by the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter.

Anti-Asian racism is not a new occurrence. But since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think targeted aggressions from racial slur to physical violence to homicide have instilled fraught fears in Asians who are Chinese and look visibly Chinese.

"Fuckin’ chink," "Go back to China," being shoulder-checked, and slant-eyed gestures are a few types of aggressions I have experienced since childhood, even on the school playground. However, since this pandemic year, the frequency of these aggressions has increased, and my anti-Asian racist experiences do not carry the same fears as in the past. From my perspective, they carry a license of charged, violent racism.

Just last week while walking on Robson, the words "fuckin’ chink" shouted at me switched my chilled state of being to one of defensive reactions. I swiftly turned my body and sight towards the man who verbally assaulted me as he hurried to cross the road. I saw three other visibly Chinese-looking Asians walking towards him. While I stood by ready to act, I wondered to myself if the man would utter the same racist remarks at them or more.

My "fight or flight" survival instinct triggered rapid emotional, psychological, and physical changes. The conscious fears I feel today are intensified because I know these negative, racist aggressions have the potential to physically harm my fellow Asians and me. I have been a visible target of racism when I lived in and travelled to predominantly, non-Asian places. But today, I am able to and must stand my ground firmly because my survival instinct is telling me to "fight."

As the first Asian to win the title of Mr. Gay Canada in 2014, I experienced racial discrimination within my own LGBTQ+ community. I worked harder to gain the support and confidence of organizations. During my travels throughout Canada for my advocacy work, I also believed I had to prove myself worthy as a visible person of colour in this "position of power." It was only after my recognized work, efforts, and positive media exposure that I felt some people saw past my yellowness. Derogatory questions such as, "You’re Mr. Gay Canada? Where are you from?" became less frequent, but still echoed towards the end of my reign.

As an educator and social advocate, I am fighting through education and raising awareness. We all can, in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities. But our governments, workplaces, and political and community leaders have the prosocial responsibility to lead by example, take active actions, and implement intentional education to stop anti-Asian racism.

Stop anti-Asian racism by not being complacent. Use your voice and exercise peaceful actions such as writing to your legislative representatives and participating in campaigns. Be proudly visible as you or as an ally. Racism has no place in society here and anywhere.

A Year of Racist Attacks: Anti-Asian Racism Across Canada One Year Into the COVID-19 Pandemic:

CBC News:

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Contributor Christepher Wee |

Topic COVID-19 | Mr. GayCanada | Racism |


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