Addressing anti-Asian racism

For too many Asian communities in Canada, anti-Asian racism is a daily lived reality. Now, more than ever, and not just during Asian Heritage Month, we need to raise awareness of the challenges faced by these communities across Canada and to confront and denounce all forms of anti-Asian racism and discrimination.

Anti-Asian racism definition

In Canada, anti-Asian racism refers to historical and ongoing discrimination, negative stereotyping, and injustice experienced by peoples of Asian descent, based on others’ assumptions about their ethnicity and nationality. Peoples of Asian descent are subjected to specific overt and subtle racist tropes and stereotypes at individual and systemic levels, which lead to their ongoing social, economic, political and cultural marginalization, disadvantage and unequal treatment. This includes perceptions of being a “Yellow Peril,” a “Perpetual Foreigner,” a “Model Minority,” “exotic,” or “mystic.” These stereotypes are rooted in Canada’s long history of racist and exclusionary laws, and often mask racism faced by peoples of Asian descent, while erasing their historical contributions to building Canada.

The term Asian encompasses a wide range of identities that the very term Asian can obscure. While all may experience being “otherized,” specific experiences of anti-Asian racism vary. Some are constantly being perceived to be a threat, some face gendered exotification and violence, some are more likely to be subjected to online hate and racist portrayals in the media, while others face Islamophobia and other forms of religious-based discrimination.

How we can fight anti-Asian racism

Racism, in any form, is unacceptable and has no place in Canada. It runs counter to the values and spirit of the diverse and inclusive society that we strive to build. It is our collective responsibility to step up, be allies, and stand together against xenophobia, hate fueled by misinformation and all forms of racism including anti-Asian racism.

Here are some ways we can all contribute to tackling anti-Asian racism and building an even better and consciously more inclusive society where everyone is able to participate fully:

  • Learn about pan-Asian diversity and the unique identities and cultures that have enriched Canadian society
  • Challenge stereotypes and consider how they are rooted in the history of anti-Asian racism
  • Show solidarity with Asian communities in Canada, i.e. by supporting local Asian businesses and organizations
  • Be an ally - call out acts of racism, discrimination, and micro aggression and actively support those victimized by anti-Asian racism
  • Interrupt unconscious biases and consider how they can affect your behavior and decision-making

Virtual event series

The Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, alongside various partners and stakeholders, will cohost a series of virtual roundtables, Combating Anti-Asian Racism: Awareness, Attitudes & Action, to shine a spotlight on current issues that reflect the lived experiences of peoples of Asian descent.

These events will convene pan-Asian grassroots, philanthropic, business, healthcare, and civil society leaders to discuss their bold visions, strategies, and actions in working towards eradicating racial discrimination.

Anti-Asian racism resources

Below is a list of resources compiled by Canadian Heritage and the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat. If you would like to suggest additions to this list, please send your suggestions to pch.sdcr-arsec.pch@canada.ca.

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