Anti-Asian Hate and Racial Trauma

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After the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes, racial trauma patient amount has increased. Spa shooting on March 16 killed eight people. Six women of Asian descent were among the victims. Out of fear of being out in public, a clinical counselor in Vancouver, Angela Leong, stopped walking to her work. “I’m not comfortable with walking down the streets, so I started taking Uber exclusively just to go back and forth to my office,” she stated.

She is not the only person who shares these fears. Leong’s clients have also stopped visiting the office after sunset. According to her, since the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. and Canada, more patients experience racial trauma.

Chinese Canadian National Council, CCNC, Toronto chapter released a report in March. It documents 1,000 verbal and physical attacks against Asians from March 2020 to February 2021 across the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada had more anti-Asian racism reports per capita than the U.S.

According to Vancouver police, anti-Asian hate crimes rose by 700% in 2020. A registered clinical counselor, Linda Lin, says she has also noticed a spike in people who seek mental health support.

“I noticed a tenfold increase in my caseload,” said Lin, who focuses on racial identity and trauma. “They are clients who are coming to talk about … past experiences of racialized verbal abuse or incidents linked with COVID-19.”

Racial Trauma

According to her, being marginalized while growing up in Canada or feeling discriminated against because of ethnicity or race can cause racial trauma. In the past two weeks, up to 77% of her clients were Asians. The percentage was only up to 52% before.

Lin said rage and anger are common signs of racial trauma. Victims of racial abuse and violence often feel silenced and invalidated.
The Canadian Heritage department stated the government set up an anti-racism secretariat in March 2020. In 2019 the government announced a four-year anti-racism strategy.