By Nolan Lewis
Recently Dr. Daniel Lai, a University of Calgary Social Work professor, released survey results on the topic of racism towards the Chinese community. The results of his survey show that roughly half of the Chinese community in Calgary has experienced some sort of racism at work, school or in a public place.
Another point of concern for Lai was that the majority of individuals who have experienced racism felt they did not have any means of assistance.
The Chinese Students’ Society provided feedback on this issue, specifically on racism on campus.
“It really hasn’t been an issue for me personally ever since coming to university,” stated Andrew Chan, CSS Vice-President Internal. “I also asked some of our committee, and the general response was that we have not experienced any racism on campus towards our minority group–so I think it’s really positive.”
A large amount of the middle aged individuals surveyed who felt they had experienced racism, had while looking for employment, an area that many students have yet to deal with.
“People between 18 to 24 don’t experience as much racism as the older age groups,” Lai stated.
Chan did mentioned one instance when Tantra nightclub cancelled the CSS Christmas dance without any explanation. “According to one of the executives of another Asian club [that was part of our dance], one of the minority council boards heard about the incident and took legal action against the nightclub,” he explained. “We’re satisfied with the outcome of the situation.”
He also added that the recent alleged racism at local nightclubs have been blown out of proportion by the media.
Other members also felt that racism towards the Chinese community is not as prevalent as Lai has made it out to be, not only on campus but in general.
“I was born in Calgary, and have been living here my whole life,” said CSS member Daniel Yu. “I have not experienced any kind of racism whatsoever, at school, at work or even when I’m out hanging out with my friends.”
“I personally haven’t experienced any racism yet, but if I did, I feel that the only support I can get is from my friends,” said another member.
Lai had a ready explanation for this.
“If they tell you that they don’t have concerns then they probably don’t have concerns,” stated Lai. “You only talked to to a very small sample, so, very likely they belonged to the other 50 per cent [who did not experience racism].”
He added that the younger generations may not experience as much racism. Being born and raised in Calgary with English is their first language, they are less alienated from the general population.
Lai added that the CSS likely consists mostly of international students. He explains that having been less exposed to the culture, they are less likely to recognize racism when in fact it does occur.
Lai’s survey of Calgary’s Chinese community shows that racism is a factor, but among many U of C students, racism is not an issue, especially on campus.