In light of an uptick of racialized violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander community, it’s more important than ever to listen to Asian voices. This list can be a good starting point for folks who want to read, watch and engage with stories from diverse groups within the Asian diaspora. It is also an entry point to learn about the systemic violence many of these groups have endured since long before the pandemic.
Videos to watch
The National Film Board compiled a collection of seven films, each detailing a unique aspect of the Chinese-Canadian experience. From the hardship faced by migrant workers under state-sanctioned racist policies in the 1900s to the fateful transformation of Vancouver’s Chinatown decades later, the series encompasses a diverse set of stories united by one shared yet complex identity.
In this TED talk, Alice Li, an alumna of Vanderbilt University, discusses the detrimental effects of the model minority myth. The model minority myth portrays Asian people as more competent and successful, Li describes the ways that it has limited Asian individuals like her. She does this by using data to demonstrate not only the internal harms of the narrative but also the ways in which it has made Asian Americans more reluctant to speak up about discrimination on race-based discrimination.
Podcasts to listen to
Hosted by three “historians, researchers and explorers,” The Nameless Collective is a podcast that aims to uncover and spotlight suppressed histories about the South Asian community. Juxtaposing issues and stories from the past and the present, the podcasters delve into complex issues of media representation, oppression and resistance.
Though a significant portion of the Filipino diaspora lives in Canada, there remains a gap in representation. Centring young Filipino voices, Filipino Fridays is an inclusive podcast that explores culture and contemporary issues while creating meaningful connections and community.
Research to read
John Kuo Wei Tchen and Dylan Yeats trace the history of the “yellow peril” by exploring the nature of Western antagonism toward Asian people beginning from the Enlightenment. The authors use various mediums — propagandized literature, photographs, paintings, movies and more — to illustrate the extent and nature of the West’s fear of the East, the implications of which are still being felt by Asian communities across the world today.
This concise report is authored by three Canadian South Asian organizations, the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) and South Asian Women’s Rights Organization (SAWRO). The report focuses on the often understated impact of COVID-19 on South Asian communities in Canada. It also details increased income insecurity and religious discrimination faced by South Asian individuals during the pandemic and concludes with recommendations on how to support the South Asian community, the largest visible minority group in the country.
Places to learn
The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) is offering monthly virtual workshops for those wanting to be effective allies to the Asian community. The workshops are intended to equip individuals with the awareness and tools needed to be “a confident and effective bystander against racism and discrimination.” Participants will also get the opportunity to practice intervening in instances of harassment at the end of the seminar, which is offered over Zoom.
From the Chinatown Storytelling Centre to the 58 West Hastings Social Housing project, the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation is dedicated to preserving Chinatown's history and culture while working toward a sustainable and equitable future. The foundation also offers volunteer opportunities for folks who want to help this historic neighbourhood continue to thrive and tell its diverse stories.
Founded in 1999, Centre A is “the only public art gallery dedicated to contemporary Asian and Asian-diasporic perspectives.” Centre A provides opportunities for Asian and Asian-diasporic artists to showcase their work and provokes audiences to engage with intersectional issues of identity, politics and more. Through contemporary exhibitions, public programming, mentorship and collaboration, Centre A is dedicated to creating an inclusive space for culture, production and community.
The Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre has been preserving and sharing the histories of Japanese Canadians for 20 years. Open to all, Nikkei fosters community connections through exhibits and diverse programming for arts, education, the Japanese language and more. With an archive containing oral histories, photographs and other artifacts, Nikkei is a space full of knowledge and Japanese culture.