43% of Asians in B.C. experienced racism in the last year, 87% say it’s getting worse: Poll

Click to play video: 'New survey finds dramatic increase in anti-Asian racism since pandemic began'
New survey finds dramatic increase in anti-Asian racism since pandemic began
A new poll has found that B.C.'s Asian community says incidents of anti-Asian racism have increased dramatically since the pandemic began. Paul Johnson reports. – Apr 9, 2021

More than four in 10 Asian British Columbians have experienced some form of racism within the last year, according to a new survey from pollster Insights West.

The poll found an overwhelming majority Asians living in B.C. feel racism has worsened over the course of the pandemic, along with genuine concern things won’t get better any time soon.

“The problem is seen to be extensive and getting worse among Asian British Columbians, and it is even more alarming to see the proportion of individuals who have directly experienced racist behaviours in this past year of the pandemic relative to the rest of their lifetime here in B.C.,” Insights West president Steve Mossop said.

The online survey collected responses from 725 Asian British Columbians, and found 23 per cent had experienced direct racial slurs, while 26 per cent had experienced indirect slurs.

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Another 16 per cent had been the subject of slurs on social media, while 10 per cent had experienced discrimination at work or school.

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A much smaller, but still disturbing six per cent reported racist property damage, and five per cent had experienced an assault.

“When you project out among almost a million Asian British Columbians, that’s a significant number.”

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The survey comes amid concern about a rising wave of anti-Asian racism across North America, heightened by the Atlanta shooting spree targeting Asian massage parlors many believe was a hate crime.

Statistics presented to the Vancouver Police Board in January showed anti-Asian hate crimes were up 717 per cent in the city in 2020.

Last Sunday, hundreds of people turned out to a demonstration against Asian hate in downtown Vancouver to speak out against the rising tide of intolerance.

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In addition to their direct experiences of racism, Mossop said the survey also found pessimism among Asian British Columbians that things are getting better.

More than eight in 10 (83 per cent) described anti-Asian racism as a significant problem, with nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) saying it has worsened since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly half (45 per cent) said they believed racism would get worse by this time next year, while 37 per cent said they though tit would stay about the same.

Just eight per cent of respondents believed things would get better.

The survey was conducted between March 24 and April 6, 2021, from a sample of 725 Asian B.C. residents who participate in Insights West’s Feedback Community.

The margin of error with the total sample—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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