The Department of Sociology would like to express our shared pain and outrage at the horrific murders perpetrated in the US. The most recent example is the March 16 shooting and murder of eight people, including six women of Asian descent in Atlanta, Georgia.
While these murders occurred south of our borders, acts of violence and discrimination are also occurring nearer to our home. The pandemic has created a new wave of intensified prejudice and violence. It is shocking to note that hate crimes, which rose by 97% between 2019 and 2020, have also seen an even sharper increase when looking at crimes directed at Asians – rising by 717 per cent from 2019 to 2020 according to Vancouver police data.
But, this ignorance, discrimination and violence is also a product and expression of our own histories of white supremacy/racial violence in “white slavery” and the “yellow peril” that informed the making of Chinatowns, the head tax/exclusion act, and the D’Arcy Island Leprosy colony. It is also essential to recognize that these acts are often highly gendered and reflect larger issues of gender inequality and tolerance for gendered violence. The Stop AAPI Hate National Report shows that nearly 70% of anti-Asian hate crimes targeted women, which reflects the intersection of racism and sexism experienced by Asian women.
We support UBC President Santa Ono’s call for us all to work together to foster more understanding of anti-Asian discrimination and violence and to support a more tolerant and equitable world. As allies and advocates in the shared battle against anti-Asian racism and violence, we understand the sadness, anger, and fear that our students, faculty, and staff of Asian descent may be feeling now. We stand together and pledge to work to increase inclusion, tolerance, and justice in the face of these incidents and larger systemic racism in society.