FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto, May 12, 2020
PROTECH calls on Bryan Adams to address racism and other inequities during pandemics
Together with many concerned Canadians, PROTECH expressed our grave concerns over Mr. Bryan Adams’ remarks on Twitter regarding the cancellation of his concert tour. His careless comments reinforced xenophobic and racist stereotypes that had been fuelling racism and violence towards Chinese Canadians in recent months. Equally alarming are the tweets posted by Adams’ followers who justified Mr. Adams’ racist remarks and claimed that “race” was never mentioned in his original tweet.
Although Mr. Adams did not mention any country or ethnic minority group, his words carried the power to reproduce and reinforce racist and xenophobic images that had been circulating in news and social media. His words clearly suggested that there is a group of people to be blamed, but not him. By posing himself as the victim, he was steering Canadians to go into his camp of innocence and to blame others. Canada’s history of racism towards Indigenous peoples and racialized communities demonstrated that the process of “Othering” has been used to divide our society and justify discrimination. It creates unsafe social environments that threaten the safety of marginalized communities and negatively affect the entire society.
Mr. Adams’ apology this morning did not reflect an understanding of the serious harm his words had inflicted on many racialized and marginalized communities. We call on Mr. Adams to take responsibility for his action and to channel his privileges and power, as a rock icon, to support constructive community responses to combat the unequal impacts on COVID-19 pandemics on marginalized communities.
Prof. Josephine Wong
PROTECH: Pandemic Rapid-response Optimization To Enhance Community-Resilience and Health is a rapid response community-based action research project funded by the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) through the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) competition. The project is led by Professor Josephine P. Wong and Professor Mandana Vahabi (Ryerson University); Dr. Alan T. Li (Regent Park Community Health Centre); and Dr. Kenneth P. Fung (University Health Network).