A North Vancouver MLA is speaking out about the connection between racist comments and hate crimes, in the wake of social media post by Bryan Adams which has drawn accusations of xenophobia.
Adams’ Instagram post (and now-deleted tweet) blamed “bat-eating” and “virus-making” people for the coronavirus.
Adams’ comments do not mention China or Chinese people, but reference “wet-markets.” Scientists believe the virus may have passed to humans at one such Wuhan market.
“I just wanted to have a rant about the horrible animal cruelty in these wet-markets being the possible source of the virus, and promote veganism,” added the singer.
North Vancouver MLA Bowinn Ma responded Tuesday with a Twitter video of her own, in which she says it’s not necessary to name a specific ethnicity in order for a comment to incite racism.
“The problem with prominent people like Bryan Adams, or Donald Trump for that matter, expressing themselves in the way that they do is that it actually encourages people to embrace their biases, their prejudices and their ignorant ideas about other people as though they are righteous,” said Ma.
“And when you start to embrace prejudice like it’s righteous, that’s when it can start to manifest as verbal assaults, as physical violence and as hate crimes.“
British Columbia has seen an uptick of racist incidents, ranging from verbal harassment to graffiti to violent assaults.
In recent incidents, a young woman was punched in the face while waiting for a bus in what Vancouver police called an “unprovoked attack” and a 92-year-old man was assaulted outside a convenience store on March 13.
“Hate crimes committed against even one person is really committed against all of us. And I’m not just talking about people who look like me — people who look like East Asians, who look Middle Eastern or Indo-Canadian or people who are women or people with disabilities or people who are gay,” says Ma in the video.
“I really do mean all of us, every one, because nobody is safe when hate crimes are allowed to thrive.“