"Since the pandemic, the need for Asian educators’ voices to be amplified is even more critical, due to the harm experienced by Asian communities and students in their schools...they were left to fend for themselves, keeping their heads down in fear of the next act of violence, hate, and racism.
- Reid, Luu, & Reid, 2022
Experiences During COVID-19: How the surge in Anti-Asian Hate
Impacted Asian Canadian Educators (2022)
Since the start of the pandemic, a surge of anti-Asian racism across North America quickly surfaced. Canada’s major cities (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal) had among the highest rates of anti-Asian hate crimes per capita during 2020 and 2021 (Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, 2021). The Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) reported over 1,150 hate crimes targeting Asian Canadians, over a one-year period, in which the majority of victims were elderly and women (CCNC, 2021). And to this day, Asian people continue to be scapegoats for COVID-19. This research project examines Asian Canadian educators’ responses to the significant rise of Asian hate during COVID-19. We surveyed 45 Asian identifying educators and conducted interviews with 18 of the survey participants. The interviews delved into participants’ reflections during the pandemic, where they recounted experiences of discrimination during personal and professional contexts. Our findings reveal a strong need for schools and districts to provide Asian Canadian educators with opportunities to come together to acknowledge the pain and suffering endured, to examine oppressive mindsets and practices, and to create spaces for healing practices. As participants watched endless media reports of Asian people being physically assaulted, verbally abused, and even murdered, it triggered their own memories of micro-aggressions, discrimination, oppression, and racism. Many of the memories stemmed from racist childhood bullies, while others reflected on recent acts of racism, describing discriminatory experiences of the bamboo ceiling, model minority myth, yellow fever phenomenon, and perpetual foreigner syndrome. Almost all participants expressed that being involved in this study was the first time their identities and struggles have ever been acknowledged. Almost all interviewees expressed feelings of invisibility, quietly being overlooked throughout their professional experiences. A major recommendation from this study involves the need for affinity spaces for Asian Canadian educators. Affinity groups would support well-being and emotional health, even long after the pandemic, as all participants disclosed feeling deeply troubled and negatively impacted by the unrelenting surge of violence.