The movie “Crazy Rich Asians” recently hit the big screens; however, just a few days before its highly anticipated release, a Vancouver resident found a vandalized poster of the movie covered in racial slurs, such as “stupid chinx.” A picture of the poster was later posted on Twitter, where it gained worldwide attention.
The post has generated strong reactions, with one user saying it was “not surprising giving the anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiments in Vancouver these days.” Another user commented, “My dream of moving to the US for college and being accepted as a human being? *poof* it’s gone.” These comments were particularly heartbreaking because they implied a normalization of racism against Asians, and suggested that little would change in the future. That there is nothing more we can do.
Vandalizing the poster of a movie that that has the potential to usher in an era of progress is simply indicative of the larger amount of improvement yet to be achieved. The Asian American community has had few opportunities to be adequately represented, and the hateful criticism of this opportunity is yet another reason to foster inclusiveness. Every chance this community receives to boost representation has been and will be criticized, and this is just another example of what has to change.
The Twitter user responded to her initial post with a statement that read: “This doesn’t justify the act in any way, but I think the vandals’ motives have less to do with the movie and more with the Vancouver housing crisis and foreign investors. But they should be turning to the government for better regulation, certainly not an entire race of people.” This development alludes to the blame assigned to foreign homebuyers for the housing crisis, with 84% of Vancouver residents citing Asian immigrants as the problem. The vandal also wrote “money laundering thiefs (sic),” a possible reference to another problem in the real-estate industry. While the housing problem is a valid issue in Vancouver, as the user said, that in no way justifies the vandalization of the poster. Blaming an entire race for a regulatory and inter-industrial problem is an unproductive and narrow outlook on a complex issue.
Scapegoating Asians and vandalizing a source of pride for the community is a callous and discriminatory tactic. Rather than engaging in controversial and demeaning rhetoric, those struggling with the housing crisis should turn to their government for assistance.“Crazy Rich Asians” is a historic and defining moment for the Asian community, and as John Chu, movie director, commented, “Nothing will shake us.”