Opinion: People responded to this Burnaby racism with more racism

Chris Campbell

The NOW printed an excellent letter to the editor recently by Stephen Li, a Burnaby resident who experienced racism after moving to our city from Hong Kong as a child.

Li is now thriving as a student at SFU, but was truly a victim while growing up in Burnaby.

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The letter took off on our website (you can read it here). It sure resonated with me. I saw so much of this racism while growing up in Burnaby. Many of my friends, who came here from Hong Kong, were called terrible names.

So, how did some people respond to this Burnaby racism?

By emailing me more racism.

I received multiple letters from people pretending to be understanding, but really just trying to “both sides” this issue.

“As I see it everybody is a racist one way or another,” read one letter writer. “It is only natural. You either 'dislike or like' a person. You cannot tell someone to think what you think you should think. It is not always easy to ‘love they neighbour as thyself’.”

Actually it is “always easy” to love thy neighbour – that is if you are not a bigot who judges someone based on an accent or the colour of their skin.

And no, “everybody” is not a racist.

Another writer said Li was playing the “blame game,” which is ridiculous to claim in response to writing about racism.

This white guy also tried to claim that he is somehow an “immigrant” because his family once came here from Europe so he has somehow been discriminated against.

He also tried to “both sides” this by saying that everybody is racist. He also whined about how Asian folks are “rude” to him.

“I go to an Asian market, often I don’t feel welcome, often ignored. It could be for a lot of reasons. Language barrier, culture, racism? I don’t know.”

Oh my, I hope he doesn’t drown in his white-man tears.

And yes, he doesn’t “know” because he isn’t interested because his letter goes on to blame Asians for a laundry list of problems. I’m not repeating them here.

Stop trying to act like white people are victims here. White people – myself included – have always controlled the power structures and abused those controls to discriminate.

Instead of trying to “both sides” this issue, just be a better person by listening to those who have truly felt the sting of racism.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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