Tag Archives: racism

comment section crusade

It was an average Monday when I went to do a routine check on the Google Analytics running on my site when I was met with 18 comments waiting for my admin approval. While I was thrilled at my sudden rise to fame, I was quickly disappointed when the comment section was not populated by real people but rather by some very supportive, poetry-loving, bots. At least I think they’re bots, they could be a supportive individual who runs about 18 Russian Escort service websites that is leaving these comments, but I think they’re a bit too robotically insightful to be true. Since I have decided not to approve them onto my site- as their linked websites are not the type of content I would like to affiliate my site with I have included some of the comments for entertainment here.

“Can I simply just say what a comfort to uncover somebody who truly understands what theyre discussing on the web. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you arent more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.”

– Zie

This one almost made it to the actual site just out of how much flattery Zie decided to write.

I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉

– Irene

The winky face throws me off a bit, but I appreciate how I have convinced someone in a very different line of work to apparently get their own blog now.

And while these examples may have been all positive, trolls on the internet and created bots with ill-intentioned coders are the plague of many online creators. Websites like Popular Science are going so far as to turn off comments on their site, as they find, “internet comments, particularly anonymous ones, undermine the integrity of science and lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse (Konnikova 2013).” In plain-speak, having troll comments can make readers doubt the information, no matter how reputable the source.

The reason that I brought up my own comments relates to the impact of commentary on one’s mental health. For myself, the comments were positive, leaving behind a positive impact on my self-image and view of my created content. This is not the case for many other minorities who decide to publish themselves virtually though, with a study by the Guardian finding “that of the 10 most abused writers eight are women, and the two men are black (2016).” This disproportionate attack on minorities is continually found within the Guardians writers with hate spewing into the comment sections of journalists with specific religious, gender, and racial markers (Gardiner et al. 2016). This creates a dangerous crossover of a public platform and racists with hidden identities, a ground for hatred without clear consequence.

Personal mental health also takes a major blow from such online activity and the issue grows day by day. It’s also important to recognize that the internet wasn’t always like this, “in the early days of Twitter, it was … a place of radical de-shaming” a place where differences and obscurities were related to and supported (Ronson 2015). Times affirms such a “personality” of the internet, saying, “once it was a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information” but somewhat recently having turned into an entity that helps as much as harms (Stein 2016). Trolls can exhibit a range of habits from “clever pranks” to “harassment and violent threats” with the most dangerous idea being the lack of knowledge of how the internet could react (Stein 2016). Creators do understand that “you can’t exist .. for very long without learning that something you write is going to upset someone, sometime, somewhere,” however the response of disagreement should never be something of potent hatred or false accusation that trolls deliver with ease (Atwood 2022).

So whether it’s bot comments that sing your praises or hateful speech that makes you sick, it’s important to distance yourself from comments that are not from those whose opinions really matter.


Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. “Your Feelings Are No Excuse.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 1 Apr. 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/books/archive/2022/04/margaret-atwood-hitchens-prize-speech/629443/.

Gardiner, Becky, et al. “The Dark Side of Guardian Comments.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Apr. 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/the-dark-side-of-guardian-comments.

Konnikova, Maria. “The Psychology of Online Comments.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2013, https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-psychology-of-online-comments.

Ronson, Jon. “When Online Shaming Goes Too Far.” Jon Ronson: When Online Shaming Goes Too Far | TED Talk, TEDGlobalLondon, 20 July 2015, https://www.ted.com/talks/jon_ronson_when_online_shaming_goes_too_far/transcript?language=en.

Stein, Joel. “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet.” Time, Time, 18 Aug. 2016, https://time.com/4457110/internet-trolls/.

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Thoughts on Lunar New Year, and on recent Asian hate crimes in New York

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I didn’t intend to write something like this, but after thinking over it, I felt like I needed to. I know this blog centers on self-care, but I’ve been meaning to talk about how systemic barriers sometimes make self-care feel useless. There is no amount of what I can do for myself that can correct the nagging fear that I feel systemically as a Chinese woman. But it might do some good to talk about it.

Please be warned that the following post has mentions of racial violence and sexual violence. I had drawn and written some thoughts on these graphics, but they in no way convey the full severity of the pain and palpable losses of Michelle Go and Christina Yuna Lee this past month. I ask that you pardon how scattered some thoughts might be. It is always hard to write about this because it hits so close to home. I will be repeating a lot of thoughts. There are two primary reasons for this.

The first: I’ve already written and spoken on anti-Asian hate here in this article that was published in April last year. I am directing you to it because I speak extensively on the historical ramifications of fetishizing Asian women, leading them to be exposed to higher rates of violence. I also speak on BC’s history of subduing the exploitation of Chinese labour in the construction of the CPR. I reference much of the same information here but in much greater detail there.

It is still true that a tragedy will precede any conversation of preexisting racial biases, and I only had the privilege to ignore this until Asian hate crimes escalated in 2020. It is still true that it is an enormous burden to beg for people to protect our elderly, our vulnerable, to value our lives.

The second: I feel that I should expand further than what I’ve written in these little graphics. I feel that I do the victims, and the severity of anti-Asian hate crimes in general injustice if I do not elaborate. Media attention on crimes against people of colour just seems so temporary, as if our tragedies are just a rotating news cycle for people to consider their morals. I feel if I don’t talk about it, I help these terrible crimes be buried under a sea of horrible news with no change.

Regardless, this is a post where I am positioning myself as a Chinese woman with fair skin. If you are reading this and considering further reading on anti-Asian hate crimes, I suggest listening to especially South, Southeast, and West Asian ethnicities on this topic, as I can not summarize what this may feel like for them.

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Lunar New Year is such a special time in our lives. This is one of the only major holidays we have to celebrate and uplift our community. There is a cruel injustice to how this moment of joy has been scarred with tragedy in the Asian community. On January 15, Michelle Alyssa Go was shoved into the train tracks while waiting for a train. She died momentarily. Less than a month later, Christina Yuna Lee would be followed from Chinatown and violently murdered in her apartment. These acts of violence against Asian women are not isolated to New York, nor are they anomalies. They reflect the escalation of Asian hate crimes that have been increasing everywhere in North America.

Tweet: @namholtz

Reactions to these crimes, especially so close to each other, echo my thoughts on this as a Chinese woman living in Vancouver. In 2020, Asian hate crimes were documented to rise by 717%, from 12 to 98 reports. This was a year of listening to news of elderly men being shoved on the street, women being assaulted, and fearing for whether it might be me or my mom next. To this day, it feels like this surge in hate crimes has only slightly slowed down.

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I remember the lump in my throat I felt at reading headlines from reading fearmongering articles two years ago. I read memes upon memes that pointed to the virus spawning from the “barbaric” eating habits of Chinese people. In one Daily Mail article that falsely stated Chinese people ate bats, the video was found to be doctored, and not filmed in China at all. But the damage of this kind of content had already been done. Rumours spread like wildfire and put the blame on Chinese people for being the carriers of this virus. It was as though the western world was content with blaming the Wuhan people for contracting the virus because of their culture, however true the representation of that culture may be.

I can not describe how horrid that felt across the world, where every bus ride felt unsafe. It felt like it only took one month to completely dehumanize anyone who looked like me. Whether they were actually Chinese or not didn’t change the fact that this cultural shift was scary.

I watched videos of my friends talking about how they felt glares on them if they so much as sniffled. It made me feel smaller on every transit ride. My skin made me feel like a target in the places that I would normally feel safe in.

Two years later, it feels like sinophobic sentiments have not subsided. My heart sank when I read that the Dr. Sun Yat Sen garden had been vandalized in January and February this year. And on New Year’s Eve, a woman was shoved into a bush unprovoked. “Gods,” I thought. “I’m only a year older than her. I’ve walked the same streets as her.”

Asking if every victim could have been me is an exercise that I, and many other Asian women have been doing since 2020.

Lee and Go were supposed to be safe. Whether these were crimes specifically because they were Asian doesn’t matter. It adds to that visceral fear that we could be perceived as submissive victims, and therefore easy targets.

We shouldn’t compromise our security with a body count. We shouldn’t only talk about Asian hate crimes in cases of death.

But here we are.

Tweet: @imontheradio
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I’m not really sure how to end this post. As I said, I feel as though I’ve already poured my heart on the topic, so what can I say about it that isn’t thoroughly exhausting? This has been both a rant and an attempt to make something educational in a time of mourning. I feel as though I am more cohesive in the article I wrote a year ago, and want to direct you towards it again, if only because there are more perspectives aside from my own that tell their own important stories about anti-Asian hate crimes.

In any case, I just wanted to write something that vocalized my concerns. I’m mourning these deaths in our community, but at this moment, I understand that I am also positioning myself as a spokesperson for people to care about our pains. If I didn’t write about this, I feel like these crimes will be obliviated as though they don’t matter. And they do.

Please pay attention to marginalized people’s voices, and help protect our vulnerable. Our sex workers, our elderly, we all deserve the same protections as anyone. Do some readings on how anti-Asian hate crime has affected people across the diaspora. This isn’t a trend, nor is it a one-time tragedy. I’m tired of feeling afraid for myself and on behalf of the people I love.

For now, I want to direct your attention to these fundraisers for Go and Lee‘s families towards their memorial funds.

I am asking you to support the following organizations. If you live in Vancouver, consider visiting Chinatown and supporting the businesses there.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden, where funding will help protect the property and preserve it for future generations.

Yarrow Intergenerational Society, an organization that assists low-income seniors in Chinatown and helps them with anything from groceries, providing translation in legal services, medical accompaniment, and more.

SWAN Vancouver, an organization that helps immigrant sex workers through housing, immigration, crisis management, and advocacy in appointments.