An increase in racist behavior toward the Asian community has been repeatedly observed since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic. This rise has been described as “unacceptable” by Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. Reports of racist attacks and hate crimes have seen a substantial surge in Canada, typically in the form of spitting, verbal attacks and physical assaults. Vancouver police documented a 717 per cent increase in cases of anti-Asian hate crimes in the past year alone. Toronto and the GTA has the second highest number of cases involving anti-Asian hate crimes, following Vancouver.
Aaliyah Subang, a 25-year-old Filipino woman, was walking her dog on Mar. 28 when she said she was approached by a Middle Eastern man,
According to Subang, the man began a racist rant, in which he stated that she “did not belong here” and that she should go back to her home country. Subang also mentioned that the man said Asians are the reason for COVID-19 in Canada.
Subang also said that the incident made her question herself, wondering if she should be ashamed of her own racial identity, before the realization that this behavior is unacceptable. The incident occurred on the same day as the rally against anti-Asian racism in Toronto.
She said he walked away but continued to yell and make obscene gestures after another woman came and stood with her.
Recently, it was reported that officers identified the man. He was warned about his behaviour and told he could face criminal harassment charges should it happen again. He was left off with a warning.
This harassment directed toward an Asian woman walking her dog on a Sunday afternoon in Guelph is one of many asian discriminatory attacks.
During the incident, Subang stated publicly that she did not know what to do. “I didn’t engage. I didn’t know how to respond to him.”
Scott Tracey, of Guelph Police, emphasized that victims of such crimes should call them to report these crimes. This is one of the first steps in promoting conversation and increased awareness surrounding what is happening in the community.
“There are people who aren’t able to speak out and defend themselves against issues like this,” Subang said. “So, I think it’s important that they need somebody to raise awareness and to bring this issue to light.”
Subang spoke to Global News and said she was a bit disappointed with the outcome. “I think what frustrates me the most is that he can’t get charged until it happens again. The whole point of me speaking out about this and trying to raise awareness is so that this doesn’t happen again.”
Avvy Go, the director of the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic in Toronto, said it is important for there to be more education on anti-Asian hate and support for programs that work against this racism.
Why are we introducing Avvy at the end of the story with no quote to back this up? kinda feels incomplete tbh
To report anti-Asian racism and hate crimes in Canada you can go to:
To support yourself and/or others, you can access the following mental health resources:
- This article aims to provide a list of mental health resources in Canada, America, and online, as well as cross-cultural programs geared towards suicide intervention counselling.
- The Asian Mental Health Collective aims to build a community for Asian mental health support.
- This anti-Asian violence resource website provides statistics, updates, resources to educate, allyship, ways to donate, and take more action, petitions, and more regarding the racism facing the Asian community.