Asian pain does not lessen black pain, nor does Latino pain or Native American pain. When you publish an article in the national press claiming Asians stood on the necks and backs of blacks, climbed the ladder of success while stepping on the hands of blacks, you are showing not only your ignorance but your lack of humanity and compassion. It does not matter the race, creed or ideology of the author—racism is racism. Worse is when the racism is wrapped up and given to us by a Race & Gender columnist in an article entitled “Dear Brown People: I’m About to Wash Some Dirty Linen in Public. Consider This An Overdue Act of Tough Love” by the Toronto Star. The author of the article may be brown, from India, but she has no clue whatsoever what Asians have endured in the USA and Canada—and it shows in the endless parade of stupidity and ignorance throughout the article.
The history of Asians in Canada is similar to Asians in the USA. In the USA, Asians first came to America in the late 1830s, as cheap laborers in the fields of Hawaii, then increasingly as cheap laborers for gold mines, factories and railroads. According to the 1880 census, in California alone there were over 100,000 Chinese.
From the beginning, anti-Asian hostility was widespread and rampant throughout the USA and Canada. Asians were treated like animals. Lynchings were common, as were large-scale attacks and outright massacres, such as the Rock Springs massacre of 1885 where white miners killed nearly 30 Chinese immigrants, having accused them of stealing their jobs, and the Snake River Oregon massacre of 1887 where whites massacred 34 Chinese gold miners.
Anti-Asian hostility grew and grew until the USA and Canada boiled over in explosive riots, including the Pacific Coast riots of 1907 which spread from San Francisco California to Bellingham Washington to Vancouver Canada. The list of injustices and brutalities against Asians in the USA and Canada goes on and on and on from there, and includes the involuntarily internment in "camps" of Japanese Americans from 1942 to 1946. The first internment camp operated in southern California. Nine others were established between 1942 and 1945, holding approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans in California, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arkansas and Arizona.
The fight for civil rights for Asians and other non-white immigrants began in the late 1800s due to countless laws that were passed to bar and ban the immigration of Asians to the USA and Canada. In the USA, these laws include the Page Act of 1875, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Geary Act of 1892, the Asiatic Barred Zone Act of 1917, the Immigration Act of 1924, and the Tydings-McDuffle Act of 1934.
The fight for civil rights for Asians and other non-white immigrants continued through the early and mid 1900s. In the USA, it was not until 1943 that limited success for civil rights for non-white immigrants was achieved, with the Magnuson Act which ended total Chinese exclusion, with an allowance of 105 persons to immigrate a year, but still did not allow Chinese to own property. In 1946, the Luce-Cellar act allowed Filipino and Indian nationals to become naturalized citizens and own property. It was not until 1952 that this success was expanded, with the McCarran-Waller Act where Asians and other non-white immigrants were allowed to become naturalized citizens, but still maintained the quota system which extremely limited Asian immigration. These successes occurred decades before the broader civil rights movements of the 1960s.
To say Asians and other non-white immigrants owe everything to the civil rights movement of the 1960s is to show your stupidity and ignorance of the history of the USA and Canada. Yes, the enactment of the 1965 Immigration Act ended many of the exclusions of the 1924 Immigration Act and earlier acts. However, the 1965 Immigration Act would not have been possible without the landmark acts that proceeded it over the course of several decades and due to the tireless fight for equality and civil rights by Asians and other non-white immigrants. These were not separate paths. One could not and would not have occurred without the other.
Anti-Asian racism, discrimination and hatred continues to this day. Denying the brutal 190-year history of Asian Americans, and the equally brutal 170-year history of Asian Canadians, in our America is the height of stupidity and ignorance. Shame on the Toronto Star and its journalist, Shree Paradkar.
Thanks for reading, I’m William Robert Stanek, Microsoft’s #1 author for nearly 20 years, and author of over 250 topselling books. Be the positive change you want to see. Speak up, make sure you are heard. Everything is possible.
For the record, I am, of course, married to an Asian American and my children are Asian American. My Asian family extends through generations.