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Media opportunity: Asian Canadians felt unsafe due to discrimination linked to the COVID‑19 pandemic, but also connected to their communities: Dalhousie University study

Posted by Communications and Marketing on June 13, 2022 in News

After SARS-CoV-2 first emerged in China and began its spread around the world, so too did one of its more unfortunate consequences -- a rise in racial discrimination against Asians who were subjected to verbal harassment and even physical attacks.

Many Asian Canadians say they felt unsafe because of the unexpected and unpredictable nature of discrimination, according to new research from a team at Dalhousie University that examined how COVID-19 affected their sense of safety and belonging in their Canadian communities.

The researchers interviewed 32 Asian Canadian women and men of different ages from March to May 2021. In a paper published today (June 14) in CMAJ Open, they describe how all participants experienced a range of emotions, including anxiety, depression and anger, leaving them feeling that they couldn't safely use public spaces for fear of discrimination.

Most commented on the unexpectedness of the discrimination, causing them to feel they had to remain alert in anticipation of harm, which in turn led to distress and exhaustion. Also, all mentioned the key role politicians and media played in enabling discrimination through rhetoric and misinformation.

Jeanna Parsons Leigh, an assistant professor in Dal's School of Health Administration, co-authored the report with Stephana Julia Moss and Josh Ng-Kamstra, both researchers in the School of Health Administration. They are available to discuss the findings and how, despite the discrimination, many participants felt a strong sense of belonging to Canadian society.


Media contact:

Alison Auld
Senior Research Reporter
Communications, Marketing and Creative Services
Dalhousie University
Cell: 1-902-220-0491


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