A white man went on a terrifying rampage in Atlanta last week, killing a total of eight of which six were women of Asian descent, in an act of a racist attack.
While the majority of people saw this as a hate crime, a racist attack, several authorities in the States had their blinders on and refused to call it for it was — a racist attack by a domestic terrorist. They were quick to mention the race of the victims but conveniently glazed over any details identifying the race, skin colour or ethnicity of the gunman. And while the authorities are still investigating the incident, it has given way for the conversation around racism.
It once again highlights the prevailing racism in many of the so-called progressive, developed nations. And while this heinous act of violence happened down west in U.S.A., Canada has seen a rise in racist behaviour during the pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Statistics Canada from May 12 to 25 last year to understand the impacts of the pandemic on Canadian’s perceptions of safety, “visible minority groups were more likely to perceive increases in neighbourhood crime and feel unsafe when walking alone at night since the start of the pandemic”.
The survey also highlighted that these minorities had observed an increase in crime and had experienced an increase in frequency of harassment or attacks based on race, skin colour or ethnicity, three times more than the rest of the population since the start of the pandemic.
According to Fight COVID racism, at the time of going to press, there were 955 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes and harassment stemming from racism.
A year-end report released by the Vancouver police earlier this year showed that anti-Asian hate crimes had gone up by 717 per cent in 2020 with a total of 98 incidents, up from 12 in 2019. The report also said that the total number of hate crimes had also increased 97 per cent with 142 incidents in 2019 as opposed to the 280 in 2020.
It is clear that the pandemic has exacerbated racism and that just means that what had been neatly tucked under covers, swept under the rug or shoved in the deep recesses of diplomacy, has now come to the surface bubbling with a new ferocity.
It is important we keep the conversation going, ask uncomfortable even inconvenient questions to those in authority and power and strive to end this hate. It is important, we come together and say “enough” to all this hate.