For University of Toronto students Gigi Hoi and Alfonso Ralph Mendoza Manalo, one of the first steps in dealing with anti-Asian racism is having difficult, honest conversations.
“Having a space where people can feel safe and share … whatever it is that they're going through,” is crucial says Hoi, a PhD candidate in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology in the Faculty of Arts & Science.
Hoi and Manalo are guests on “Scapegoat,” a special two-part episode of The New Normal podcast hosted by Maydianne Andrade. In the episode’s first instalment, Andrade, a professor at U of T Scarborough and Canada Research Chair in Integrative Behavioural Ecology, spoke with Associate Professor Diana Fu and Associate Professor Jooyoung Lee about the history of anti-Asian racism and its devastating impacts.
Being able to have a candid conversation about racism is vital whether “you've been on the receiving end of aggressions or you were a bystander and regret that you didn't do anything or you suddenly realize that you have unintentionally caused harm,” Hoi says.
“I think it's so important as a first step towards fighting anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and anti-Asian racism.”
Manalo, a third-year undergraduate at U of T Scarborough, is completing a work term at the RCMP as an equity, diversity and inclusion policy adviser, where he is working on an anti-racism course for employees.
“Sometimes in order for someone's voice to be heard, something tragic has to occur,” Manalo says. “I think for Asian Canadians, it's seeing our elders being targeted in Chinatown, it's seeing law enforcement agencies not adequately responding to hate crimes or understanding that we're scared.”
Having a voice at the table can make a difference, he adds.
“With this course on anti-racism, we're given the opportunity to make 30,000 employees across the RCMP understand the oppression that Black Canadians, Asian Canadians and Indigenous Peoples face and have been facing here for so long – and how they should respond to that.”
The New Normal is created in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by Lisa Lightbourn. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify or listen on SoundCloud. You can also find it on Apple or listen on Google.