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Bryan Adams' COVID-19 post promotes 'racist collective': activist

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 7:46 pm CDT


President of CCNC-SJ says Bryan Adams comments is promoting racist collective view against one group

Activist says Chinese, Asian-Canadians are not seen as individuals but collective

Bryan Adams has apologized for the controversial COVID-19 post on social media

Editor’s note: This article contains some tweets with offensive language. Reader discretion is advised.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice says Canadian rock and roll star Bryan Adams’ controversial post about COVID-19 shocked her, but then she “quickly turned to anger, and … sorrow.”

Amy Go tells CityNews she liked Bryan Adams and his music, although, upon seeing Adams’ social media post blaming the virus on “bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards,” she was overcome with various emotions.

She says she first felt “Anger, because it’s another one with his kind of high-profile status … This is going to trigger even more vile and more rampant racist acts against Chinese-Canadians and Asian-Canadians.”

And then she felt “Sorrow, because it’s like, when is this going to end? When are we ever going to be treated as Canadians, as equals? And we truly will be living in a racist-free Canada? So that despair.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Bryan Adams was wrong to target China, but wet markets do pose virus risk: expert

Adams, a former North Vancouver resident, triggered a debate over the context of his comments.

Those defending him say he is not singling out a nationality, and since Adams has been a long-time animal rights activist, this was just another example of his well-known vegan activism.

Although others believed his comments were racist and tone-deaf.

Go says when examining all the factors of what contributed to the pandemic, transmission and government actions, China is now solely responsible.

“China definitely should be examined. Just like the U.S., just like Italy, just like Canada. So evidence can help us improve our practices and be prepared,” she says. “However, having said all that, Chinese-Canadians should never be held responsible for a foreign country.”

This week, Go received an email from an alleged COVID-19 patient who wrote, “China should be held responsible. Bryan Adams was merely pointing out that fact, so don’t hide behind racism. You are using racism to make excuses for China. Are you in the pocket of the Chinese government?”

But Go points out, “We are not saying Chinese or other governments should not be examined, should not be reviewed. We are merely saying racist remarks made by people such as Bryan Adams, who generically group one race, one population, will have harmful impacts differentially on certain groups.”

Go says, in spite of generations of Chinese-Canadians, some people do not fully credit the population as Canadian, which she says is the “unfairness, and that is the injustice.”

“We will always be associated with, questioned, and be challenged for our commitment to this country. When something happens outside, in this world, we are always to be blamed,” Go says, quoting Derek Sloan, a Canadian MP.

She adds, “Even if – let’s say the Chinese government should be accountable for whatever. Let’s say evidence shows that they should be held responsible, why should Chinese-Canadians be held accountable for a foreign country? Why should we? Because we’re not seen as Canadians.”

In the era of COVID-19, people around the world repeat the phrase, “we are in this together,” but Go says Chinese and Asian-Canadians are left out and are carrying an additional burden.

 “We are not seen as individuals, we are seen as just a number of all these similar faces.”

Go says, what Adams is doing, as a high-profile individual, is promoting a racist collective view against one group.

“Make[ing] it easier for individuals who subscribe to those views to say, and target easy prey along the way. Yes, Bryan Adams said you are this dirty bat-eating, animal-loving person who spreads disease. I am saving the world by doing something against you. Targeting you, attacking you. I am justified in my action, because I am helping fight this spread of disease.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Rocker Bryan Adams issues apology after controversial COVID-19 post

Since the controversial post, Adams has apologized.

“Apologies to any and all that took offence to my posting yesterday,” Adams writes on an Instagram post. “No excuse, I just wanted to have a rant about the horrible animal cruelty in these wet-markets being the possible source of the virus, and promote veganism. I have love for all people and my thoughts are with everyone dealing with this pandemic around the world.”

Adams’ initial comments were made when he was forced to cancel a residency at London’s Royal Albert Hall because of the crisis.

-With files from Ash Kelly and Hana Mae Nassar