With just two days before the University of British Columbia’s National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism in Canada, a new Angus Reid Institute poll (in partnership with UBC) is revealing the depth and scale of anti-Asian racism in Canada and the experiences of racism in the Asian community.
Key among the findings is Canadians of Asian descent aged 18 to 34 are most likely to have experienced, and been affected by, anti-Asian racism and bigotry over the last year.
The study canvassed the opinions of Canadians of non-Asian and Asian ethnicity, and found that a majority (58%) of the latter group has experienced at least one of a range of situations related to anti-Asian discrimination in the last year, while more than one-in-four (28%) report exposure to these situations “all the time” or “often”.
Notably, however, not all Asian Canadians have experienced the same level and intensity of bigotry over the past year. According to ARI’s Anti-Asian Discrimination Index (AADI), respondents of Asian (including Chinese) descent fall into one of three categories, the Hardest Hit (31%), the Exposed (35%) and the Unaffected (35%). Asian Canadians who are older (55+) and higher income are more likely to be among the Unaffected while the Hardest Hit are more likely to be younger (aged 18-34) and lower income.
Other findings include:
- Asked for their reaction to discrimination over the past year or so, 53 per cent of Asian Canadians said it has been hurtful and stays with them. Two-in-five (38%) are troubled but able to put it aside, while nine per cent have not been impacted.
- Few Asian Canadians say the discrimination they experience is institutional. The vast majority (86%) say they have not received poor or unfair treatment by institutional organizations such as local police, the health care system, banks, or the justice system
- 79 per cent of non-Asian Canadians say that they view Asian Canadians as warm and friendly, while half (50%) say that they feel this group is often mistreated in Canada
- That said, one-in-five non-Asian Canadians say that they feel most or all Asian Canadians do not contribute to the broader community. More (one-quarter) say many or most Asian Canadians do not make an effort to fit into broader Canadian society.
- One-in-three non-Asian respondents say Chinese Canadians are more loyal to China than to Canada regarding issues of bilateral conflict between the two nations. Just seven per cent of Chinese Canadians say this is actually the case
- Nearly the identical number of Asian (20%) and non-Asian Canadians (17%) say that they would prefer if the community they live in was people from their own race or ethnicity
- Asian and non-Asian Canadians tend to agree that this issue will take another generation to solve. Three-in-five among each group say this is the case, while one-in-four Asian Canadians (26%) do not think Canada will ever overcome some of its discriminatory practices and prejudices – 10 points higher than non-Asians (16%)
The full poll data is available here – www.angusreid.org/anti-asian-discrimination.
The National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism in Canada will consider the implications of the poll and how to address them June 10-11.
“The discussions this week are crucial,” says UBC President Santa Ono. “Through open conversations with key figures in education, health care, media, the corporate world, the not-for-profit sector and government, we’ll produce bold actions and key priorities to be implemented across the country.”
Ono adds: “Anti-Asian racism will not be eradicated because of a two-day forum, of course, but we believe the forum will help spur a much-needed national conversation.”
The first day of programming, June 10, will be open to the public, with sessions focusing on the issues impacting Asian Canadians, coalition building across Asian Canadian communities and other racialized communities, and effective access and advocacy for systemic change. The second day, June 11, will be a working session informed by discussions from the day before. The event will culminate in a public session, giving attendees an opportunity to share the list of bold actions, key priorities, and pathways forward that will be presented.
“We all have a role to play in the fight against pervasive and enduring anti-Asian racism,” says forum planning committee member and Associate Professor of History, Henry Yu. “To address it, we must examine anti-Asian racism within the broader context of racism against Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities. Together, we’ll share stories and create productive solidarities for change.”
Registration and agenda information for the National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism in Canada is available here.
This event is possible through the generous support of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
“These stats are troubling as they expose the reality of how unsafe Asian Canadians are feeling,” says Mohammed Hashim, Executive Director for the CRRF. “We know false accusations of dual loyalty and being the cause of the pandemic have fuelled such unprecedented levels of hatred. This forum will bring everyone together to consider the root causes and the necessary interventions needed for all of us to confront anti-Asian racism in the Canadian context.”