Virtual campaign seeks to address misinformation and end anti-Asian racism in Canada
A series of short videos meant to address anti-Asian racism in Canada was released Thursday as part of a campaign to counter harmful misinformation that has fuelled a rise in anti-Asian sentiment.
Act2endracism Network, a national coalition of people and community groups of Asian descent, produced the series of five videos the group hopes will open the discussion about microaggressions, hate and intolerance towards the Asian community. The series offers historical and environmental context to some of the intensifying racist attacks seen across Canada, said Serena Mah, a communications consultant for the Act2endracism.
“It addresses harmful stereotypes like ‘yellow peril’ and the ‘model minority.’ The point is to educate and to talk about the root causes of anti-Asian sentiment, and that sentiment has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mah.
“Model minority is a stereotype that, at the surface, might look like a compliment — we’re hard working, docile, we don’t make trouble — but it’s used as a weapon, a barrier to prevent racialized groups from advancing. And yellow peril is a notion that Asians don’t belong and are perpetually from somewhere else.”
For example, Mah said she is frequently asked where she is from, and when she replies with “Edmonton,” she is often met with a push to learn, “Where are you really from?” — a common microaggression that racialized communities experience.
The launch of the campaign on Thursday coincides with Asian Gold Ribbon Day, a day to amplify solidarity against anti-Asian racism and celebrate Asian heritage and culture that is a part of Asian Heritage Month.
In one of the campaign videos, Chris Tse, a former Canadian national slam champion, reads “A history of silence” spoken word that he wrote. Animated, faceless characters act and react to his words as Tse speaks about racial slurs, microaggressions, Canada’s historical treatment of Asians and the Asian community taking a stand against racism.