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How prevalent is prejudice against Chinese immigrants?

The Story

"How much prejudice do Chinese-Canadians still meet?" asks reporter J.J. McCall in this 1972 CBC Radio clip. Despite huge progress in attitudes toward racial minorities in Canada, it seems some Chinese-Canadians are still experiencing overt racism. If you think it doesn't happen anymore, go to Chinatown at 3 a.m., advises one Chinese-Canadian man interviewed in this clip. There, you're likely to hear such derogatory comments toward the staff as "Hey chink, get me a glass of water."

Medium: Radio
Program: Between Ourselves
Broadcast Date: July 17, 1972
Reporter: J.J. McCall
Duration: 3:00

Did You know?

• In the 1992 book Jin Guo: Voices of Canadian Women, women of different generations discuss their experiences growing up as Chinese-Canadians. As the book shows, stories of racist treatment were clearly much worse for generations growing up during the first half of the 20th century, but those growing up in the 1960s and '70s experienced some racist treatment as well.

• In Jin Guo, one woman describes a racial incident in the '70s: "Aside from racist name calling at school, I had never really encountered a great degree of racism before. So when I met my future mother-in-law, it was quite a blow when she said, 'What do you think you're doing bringing her here!'" Another woman was surprised when, in the '60s, the priest at the Catholic Church where she had been attending mass daily, refused to marry her and her husband because they were Chinese.

• When Vivienne Poy - Canada's first Chinese-Canadian senator - was attending McGill University in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she experienced hurtful racist comments. She says that she took a thoughtful approach to it and tried to understand its roots. "A lot of the girls had never been outside of Quebec or Eastern Canada," she recalled years later in Chinese World Magazine. "What struck me was that they were very provincial. That's where racism comes from - a lack of knowledge."



Chinese Immigration to Canada: A Tale of Perseverance more