April 12, 2021

Statement on Anti-Asian Racism

The UCalgary Psychology Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Blog

Over the past year, violence, hate and racism directed towards Asian, Asian-Canadian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander communities in Canada has risen exponentially. The University of Calgary Department of Psychology Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee condemns this racist and xenophobic violence in the strongest possible terms, and stands with our Asian and Pacific Islander trainees, faculty, staff, and alumni. We also recognize and centre the intersectional nature of this violence, including its differential impact on Asian and Pacific Islander women, non-binary folks, and the elderly. It is also important to recognize that the Asian community in Canada is diverse, and includes people of South Asian descent, people of East and Southeast Asian descent, people of West Central Asian descent, people of Middle Eastern descent, and people of Pacific Islander descent, among others.[1] Each of these communities experiences this racist violence and injustice in unique ways.

As noted by the Faculty of Arts Dean in his statement on anti-Asian racism: “Anti-Asian racism is not limited to the USA. Canada has seen a disturbingly high number of anti-Asian hate crimes. Historically, anti-Asian racism in Canada has been profound. Yet it is all too often downplayed, silenced or rendered invisible.” While it is not nearly enough and is much overdue, we write this statement as part of efforts to make the invisible visible. However, statements alone will not create change. Thus, we actively encourage trainees, faculty, staff, and alumni, especially those who are part of groups not directly affected by these injustices (i.e., non-Asian and Pacific Islanders), to direct time, energy, and money to work focused on ending anti-Asian racism.

First, if you are looking to donate, here are some great places to start:

In addition to donating, also consider shopping and eating at Asian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses. For example, in Calgary, check out the Calgary Chinatown website for a list of merchants.

Second, it is the responsibility of non-Asian and Pacific Islander individuals to stand up and speak out when we see racism and hatred occurring. Attending a bystander training is a great way to get more comfortable with intervening:

  • The University of Calgary offers a variety of trainings and workshops that address multiple forms of bystander intervention (e.g., Bystander Intervention; The Comments Section: Addressing Harassment Online; Conflict Management 101; or Understanding Anger)
  • Hollaback! is offering free online bystander training to stop anti-Asian and xenophobic harassment: https://www.ihollaback.org/bystanderintervention/

Members of the EDI Committee are dedicated to fostering initiatives that support the Department of Psychology to redefine policies and practices to create a more inclusive and equitable space. Part of this process involves acknowledging racism and oppression that affects members of our community – students, trainees, staff, faculty, and alumni alike. As part of our efforts to address anti-Asian racism, violence, and injustice, our committee would like to hear from our Asian and Pacific Islander community members on ideas for initiatives that we can possibly institute in the future. If you would like to provide input, please email edi.psychology@ucalgary.ca. If you have input you would like to share with the university about potential actions the larger institution can take against anti-Asian and other forms of racism, please visit https://ucalgary.ca/president/your-input


[1] https://gsa.ucalgary.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Anti-Asian-Racism-Statement-1.pdf