Would you stop racism against Asian Canadians in public?

With Vancouver's large and ever-growing Asian Canadian population, racism against Asian people isn't always seen in overt ways, and often manifests through passive-aggressive means to skirt around political correctness.

Then again, in my own life, I've been called a "chink" more than a "Jap", and a ranting woman walking by me in Yaletown once called me a "fucking child of geisha". I covered by mouth giggling and gave her the peace sign. Which I turned into the finger.

Anyhow, two episodes from the ABC News series What Would You Do?, which takes a look at how bystanders would react to witnessing examples of discrimination, focus on racism against Asian Americans.

The show stages provocative scenarios in various settings, with actors playing roles in front of unsuspecting people. The reactions are recorded by hidden cameras.

Here's what happens when a female patron getting a foot massage in New Jersey says racist things about Asians on her cellphone in front of a Korean staff member.

At a nail salon in Dallas, Texas, a woman, and later a man (both actors), insult the Asian nail technician in front of other customers.

The witnesses in this video are much more vocal and confrontational than in the previous one.

It'd be interesting to see what would happen if this were staged in Vancouver.

Would Vancouverites stand up and speak out? Or would they be too inhibited by Canadian politeness?

Comments (16) Add New Comment
Some would, some would not. Ditto with Americans. (slow news day?)
Rating: +9
Maybe a Better Question
Is, would you stand up for anyone, regardless of ethnicity, if they were being treated disrespectfully? Our questions about respect and honour are best served by first being inclusive of all.
Rating: +10
Craig Takeuchi
But what would you do?
Rating: 0
It's really hard to say...
I have a lot of Asian friends, heck even my gf is asian and i'm white. It would really depend on the situation. If someone is just being an idiot and saying something as they walked by, i would just say ignore them as there's nothing that will change that uneducated person anyways..

But if they actually caused a scene and it can lead into Violence or other negative reactions, then of course i would step in and help. I just don't see the need of violence or stirring up the issue unless absolutely necessary. We're still learning as a race to deal with one another. And we've come a long way, but we still have so much further to go.

Maybe one day everyone will get along, but that day is still wayyyy down the road :(
Rating: +17
I spoke Up
I designed a radio character on a CFRO Indy Radio show in 2001. My character called Arnold Schwarzenegger on his racism in calling Vancouver, Hongcouver. Then, I explained racism is cancer of the mind.

If I saw racism in public, I would be happy to say, Take your ideas elsewhere, you racist. But I am a Jew. so...
Rating: +2
Don't get the point
Why is this ethnic/race based?

Considering Vancouver is mostly Asian, I think it would be more interesting to see if an Asian person would step in (the other way around). Since their culture is very different,(and usually discard/ignore others that are not) I doubt anyone would stand up. hmmmm now that's a story.
Rating: -4
I filed a complaint with Translink after one of their members put on this RIDICULOUS Chinese accent when an elderly lady on the #3 couldn't understand that he was asking to see her pass. It was completely offensive. I noted the date, time, bus number, the stop we were at and provided a description of the officer. I never got a response.

On the flip side, I have several times been a victim of racism and no one defended me. Notably my Chinese Modern History prof at SFU said racist things in a class where only 7 students weren't Chinese (ie- do you think white people care about Taiwan and China? No, cause it's all a bunch of c%^nks to them.) I complained to the head of the history department and he dismissed me, saying "Well no one has raised any complaints before." Many years ago I also worked in a gelato store where only Chinese employees were allowed to handle money.

So I guess the point is, racism happens to both sides. And no one should tolerate it.
Rating: +10
S Manning
Thirty years ago on a half-filled Cambie bus I listened for a minute or so while a long-time retired fellow, increasingly louder, bemoaned Asian immigration to Canada. There was a small group of Chinese teens within earshot behind me. I stood up and in a strong voice said, "My family fought wars to keep attitudes like yours away from Canada! Shame on you!" He zipped it right quick so I'm pretty sure his monologue was a conscious thought pattern and not neurosis unchecked. This, sticking up for the "other" can work within your "own" as well.
As one of our loose group walked away, someone mentioned an exuberant social faux pas experienced earlier. All of a sudden it was pile up on Sandra time. I let fly, "Poor social skills don't make her a bad person!" They agreed.

Stick up for all!
Rating: +8
What you do or say makes very little difference. Find out who is representing you and vote.

structural / institutional racism is about as fixable as the ozone layer is dependent on you recycling.

What is "the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin"- is a better question.
Rating: +2
Really ? that is all you got to write about today. Maybe 20 years ago this story would have had legs in BC. Grow some balls & tackle parental alienation. It is a massively thorny social & economic issue that few reporters have dared tackled.
Rating: -7
Human nature
it's so entertaining.
Rating: -3
I might speak up
First, I would not presume that the Asian person being insulted by a racist person would need me to intervene, as if they were weak and helpless and I was the big brave white superheroine. If, however, the Asian person were unable or unwilling or inhibited by being new in town to speak up for him or herself, and I could sense or they assured me it wouldn't make them feel even more uncomfortable, I would absolutely remark calmly and firmly that it was an inappropriate thing to say. Getting angry or swearing would only be inflammatory. Also, so many people carry knives and guns these days, or have friends lurking nearby, or have mental illness spiralling out of control that merely saying something calmly could spark a killing. And I'm NOT being facetious.
Rating: -2
Kyle B
Sorry to say. Racism is everywhere, it is natural and to oppress it takes a lot of thought and determination. I am a white male. I spent 12 years in Asia. China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. I experienced Racism every day. From looks to actual physical abuse. The worst is that most Asians will Talk in their mother tongue..... And you should hear what they say..... Worse than anything I hear in Camnada about Asians. When they realize that I can speak and understand their language most are offended and act like I am an A-hole for telling them that I understand them and do not want to do business with them "Thank you very much" But it is so rampant that I sometimes tell them in advance that I understand their language and will not accept Crap from any of their employees. This usually cools it down But it doesn't go away
Rating: -5
Agree with Kyle B
Why is it that when racism is discussed here, it is to imply that it is just against Asians.
I think this article is not reflecting the true problem. (The Straight needs to reflect modern day, not 40 years ago)
Racism happens to most to the minority,(odd man out-) which is NOT the case in the population of Asians in Vancouver. If any thing it is the other way around.

as a Caucasian , I have experienced the harsh facts of being a minority here. A country I was born and raised in. The difference is I won't allow anyone to bully or disrespect me. language barrier or not, I will call out anyone and their crap.
Rating: -1
Craig Takeuchi
To clarify, I posted several stories on the day I posted this, plus conducted interviews for other stories that will be posted in the near future.
But I don't think anyone who has the time to sit around and post sarcastic comments, particularly on a sunny summer day, should be criticizing anyone else for having a "slow" day.
Rating: +4
For me, it depends on who exactly is saying the racist things. If it's just some normal looking bigot spewing hatred, chances are I'll say something.

I'm hesitant to confront people with mental or addiction problems because I don't know if they'll turn violent.

When I worked at 7/11, there were multiple times when customers came in and tried to throw boiling hot coffee at the "muslims" (who were actually sikh and hindu)
Rating: -1
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