It has been referred to as the “shadow pandemic” in Canada. As COVID-19 indiscriminately touches people in large communities and small households, it has brought another kind of virus – one that does discriminate – to the doorsteps of only some Canadians.
That virus is racism. Across the country, assaults, verbal threats, graffiti and worse – all directed at people of Chinese (and other East Asian) descent – have been reported since the pandemic was declared.
Now, in the first study of its kind since the pandemic was declared, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute in partnership with the University of Alberta reveals the experiences and emotions of those directly affected.
Results from this survey of more than 500 Canadians of Chinese ethnicity underscore the extent and depth to which they have been exposed to discriminatory behaviours, and the effect on their own sense of self and belonging in this country. Read more…
Daniel E. Slotnik, The New York Times, May 3, 2019
Wayson Choy, who wrote of the Chinese-Canadian experience in memoirs and novels like “The Jade Peony,” which became a mainstay in Canadian classrooms and led to a revelation about the writer’s own past, died on April 28 at his home in Toronto. He was 80.
Denise Bukowski, Mr. Choy’s agent, said the cause was a heart attack brought on by an asthma attack. He had nearly died from heart attacks related to asthma in the past, episodes he wrote about in “Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying” (2009).
“The Jade Peony,” his debut novel, published in 1995, when he was 56, was one of the first to detail life in a Chinese-Canadian community. It follows a Chinese immigrant family in Vancouver in the 1930s and ’40s as they struggle to make a home in a sometimes hostile country, drawing what support they can from shared traditions, community and folklore. Read more…
ANTANAS SILEIKA, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, APRIL 30, 2019
Wayson Choy and I were both English teachers at Humber College in Toronto when he published his first book, The Jade Peony, in 1995. He was 56 at the time, a late-breaking author. I had published my own first book the year before and I said to him over lunch in the staff dining room, “Enjoy the attention, Wayson. It doesn’t last.”
The book, about a gay boy growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown of the thirties and forties, went on to be a bestseller for 26 weeks and shared a Trillium Award with Margaret Atwood. If Chinatown was practically invisible in the Canadian consciousness at the time, a gay boy in such a setting was a revelation of a reality too long ignored. He later received many more honours, including a Giller nomination and the Order of Canada. Read more…
A trail-blazing athlete known as “King Kwong” to his followers, Larry Kwong broke barriers as the first person of Chinese heritage to play in the National Hockey League.
Kwong died in his Calgary home last Thursday, according to his family. He was 94.
He played his first and only NHL game with the New York Rangers on March 13, 1948, against the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum — although Kwong wasn’t given much more than a minute on the ice. Read more…
City council will hold a special meeting April 22 in Chinatown to make a formal apology to Chinese people for the legislated discrimination enacted decades ago by previous city councils.
The event at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver comes after the 11-member council agreed unanimously in November 2017 to hold a ceremony to condemn the racist policies of city leaders in power between 1886 and 1947.
Banning voting rights, not allowing Chinese people to run for public office and lobbying for a head tax were among such policies. Read more…