anti asian racism toronto

Video shows man shouting racist remarks and threats at elderly Asian man in Toronto

Isabel Ng was simply minding her own business and working from home when she heard yelling coming from outside her CityPlace apartment around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23.

The Toronto resident told blogTO that she rarely hears her neighbours, so she assumed some kind of altercation was taking place in the hallway, but she found an empty corridor when she opened her front door to see what was going on. 

"That's when I realized it was coming from outside my window," she said.

Ng's unit looks out onto a dog park area, and as she opened her window, she heard one dog owner shouting at another. 

The first man, who appeared to be caucasian and in his 20s or 30s, was shouting violent and racist comments at the second man, who was elderly and Asian, Ng explained. She said the incident may have started as a confrontation regarding the dogs, though she doesn't know for sure since she only started listening halfway through.

"As soon as I heard that he was abusively yelling at the man, I started recording," she said.

Ng heard the dog owner say unthinkably racist things to the elderly man and, though it broke her heart to listen to, she said she knew she had to document it.

"I'll beat the shit out of you, you're like a 50 year-old Chinaman," the white man can be heard saying in Ng's clip. "Go home, you're not welcomed here."

The Asian man can also be heard telling the other dog owner to "shut up" in the video.

Ng said the altercation fizzled out when the Asian man began walking away, and she later decided to send the footage to an employee in her condo building who promised it would be sent to the building manager on her behalf.

"It's just heartbreaking," she said, adding that it hurts even more to witness something like this as a person of Asian descent. "Immediately when I look at that man I think of my own parents… it almost makes me feel unsafe."

Ng sat with the video for five hours before deciding to share it in two community Facebook groups. She said she feared retaliation from the man who made these horrible remarks, since he most likely lives in her building, but ultimately felt it was her responsibility to spread awareness about the incident.

"In the end I ended up posting it because I'm tired of being silent," she said.

She also chose not to report it to police because she didn't feel it was appropriate without the victim's consent. 

Ng said she's heard countless stories of anti-Asian racism and violence in the media recently, but this was the first time she witnessed something this hateful directed at an Asian person right before her eyes.

"I think it's just striking because a lot of what we're seeing in the media has been based in the U.S.," she said.

But according to a new report from the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto, a shocking 40 per cent of all anti-Asian racist attacks and incidents reported in Canada during the pandemic were in Ontario.

"It just hits closer to home," Ng said. "It just goes to show it's really unacceptable, especially when Toronto prides itself on being so diverse."

Lead photo by

Isabel Ng-Lai

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