Challenging Sinophobia, anti-Black racism and global capitalism during COVID-19

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Image: Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion

Today we're bringing you an online talk organized by the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, held on May 13, 2020. The HCCI had scheduled a major conference on combatting racism hosted by HCCI the end of March. But COVID-19 interfered with those plans.

The conference was repositioned as a series of webinars, covering a lot of the same topics that would have been discussed at the in-person conference. One thing is different, though. The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed racism in ways that wouldn't have normally happened.

Today's conversation is a discussion between two friends and colleagues who are reflecting on the impact of racism on their two communities. It's called Solidarity in the wake of COVID-19: challenging Sinophobia, anti-Black racism, and global capitalism.

We've all heard racist comments referring to COVID-19 as "the Chinese virus." Similar to the 2003 SARS outbreak, there have been many displays of anti-Asian rhetoric, and verbal and physical hate crimes against East and Southeast Asian communities. And we're also seeing a disproportionate number of Black people who are suffering and dying due to anti-Black medical racism, compounded with everyday public policing and hyper-surveillance, and racial and class disparities in front-line occupations.

This HCCI talk explores those dynamics, and also what mutual solidarity and care between East Asian and Black communities in North America could look like at this moment, and in the future.

Speakers in this presentation are Lynn Ly and Huda Hassan, colleagues at the University of Toronto Women's and Gender Studies Institute.

Lynn Ly is a queer Asian scholar based in Toronto, where they are a PhD candidate. Their work focuses on transpacific solidarity movements, queer relationality, Asian North American history, and the connections between settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, and Asian subjection under liberal humanism.

Huda Hassan is a writer from Scarborough. She has written essays and reviews for Hazlitt, Pitchfork, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Quill & Quire, and Ethnic Aisle. She is a mentoring editor of in:cite journal, a youth-led peer-reviewed social justice journal based in Toronto. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's Women and Gender Studies Institute.

About Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion: 

The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) was formed in 2006 as a result of the work undertaken through the Strengthening Hamilton Community's Initiative (SHCI), an initiative formed as a response to the burning of a local Hindu temple in 2001, the same year the terrorist attacks occurred in the United States on September 11.

HCCI's short-term goal was to deal with the distress in the community caused by the burning of the Hindu temple, but it was anticipated that to address issues of racism in the longer term, a more profound systemic change would be required. To this end, HCCI was established to develop a civic resource centre to create an inclusive and welcoming city through respecting diversity, practising equity, and speaking out against discrimination.

Image: Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion event poster

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