Chinese-only signage in Richmond,


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The changing face of Richmond is worrisome to some (with video)

Kerry Starchuk, 55, mounted a campaign this year to halt the growth of Chinese-only signage in Richmond. She believes community cohesiveness is falling with the rapid growth of Chinese language, business and culture in Richmond over the past decade.
Since mounting a campaign this year to halt the growth of Chinese-only signage in Richmond, Kerry Starchuk has raised uncomfortable questions.

Starchuk, 55, believes community cohesiveness is falling with the rapid growth of Chinese language, business and culture in Richmond over the past decade.

From 45 per cent in 2006, Chinese origin citizenship is now above 50 per cent and rising. The white population of Richmond was 34.2 per cent in 2006, and is falling. Starchuk believes Chinese origin population in her own neighbourhood is now 75 per cent.

Following Starchuk’s unsuccessful campaign seeking Richmond bylaw control of sign language, some have questioned whether Starchuk and the “new minority” of whites are being excluded and facing reverse racism in Richmond. And Starchuk has been accused of being racist. The Province interviewed Starchuk to dig deeper into her views.

Q. Why are you concerned about increased Chinese signs?

A. “We know Richmond for what it was, and as time goes on you adapt to change and are tolerant of change, and then it comes to a point where you think, what on earth has happened? I don’t feel I fit here anymore. There are barriers. You can’t communicate with a lot of the neighbours. You think, is this going to be my future? How much willingness is there to be part of Canada’s fabric? And this is more than the signage issue … there is a lot of social things that are going sideways. I’d say a good part of my neighbourhood is half empty. Empty houses and condos has been an issue.”

Q. You’re referring to offshore real estate investment?

A. “I’m very concerned. I don’t think when you have empty houses just for intentions to invest, I don’t think that serves the community. I don’t feel, for example, if you’re a youth hockey team and you go to a (local business) and you can’t get a contribution, so they are not your friends. It’s a very empty feeling. The foreign investment is just to make money, not to build community.”

Q. Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says he believes your group is blowing the Chinese signage issue out of proportion. What’s your response?

A. “I don’t think the mayor is connected. I know what people are talking about. When you have a sign in your neighbourhood you can’t read, that’s not normal. And as the year went on, more literature was coming to the house with more Chinese than English, and then you get your real estate weekly, and it is all Chinese, no English. Our numbers are saying that in my area it is more Asian, so we’re going to be marketed to like Asian people. It’s not just a Chinese problem. It’s not just the Chinese people, it’s the corporations. It’s called ethnic marketing. I don’t want to be marketed to like I’m Asian living in Richmond. I want to be marketed to like I’m Canadian.”

Q. Do you believe you are subject of reverse racism?

A. “I’m trying to figure this all out. I’m 55, and I’ve never been through an era of racism. I don’t quite know what this is all about. This is very new to me.”

Q. What do you think about multiculturalism?

A. “In all, multiculturalism is good. It’s the numbers I’m concerned about. When you get more numbers of a certain culture, it becomes dominant. And that is what is concerning to me. I have two Japanese daughter-in-laws, my best friend is Chinese, so, it is the numbers in the large that I’m concerned about, in multiculturalism.”

Q. Following coverage of your campaigning, you have been labelled a racist at least once online. What would you tell the writer?

A. “I wish I could tell her that’s not who I am. I want my community back. I want it to be better. It’s very difficult when you can’t read the signs and communicate.”


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Floyd, Virginia
Well, here's fusor's take on it all.

Throughout our history in the US (not counting just killing the natives), we've had immigrant-driven "racism". I'd rather call it "culturism" but it amounts to almost the same thing.

This has affected every single large single culture that has for whatever reason and at whatever time decided to immigrate here en-masse. Could be the Irish, the Chinese, the Italians, the Mexicans, the Indians or name it.

And here's the reason, that they don't "get". This is a melting pot, or is supposed to be. You (immigrant) came here because for whatever reason, your culture failed you, and ours looked better.
Fine - I have no issues at all with that, and neither does almost anyone else.

So - don't bring it with you and try to force it on us. If it didn't work at home, why should it magically work here? If you refuse this idea, you're either stupid, or simply invading, not immigrating, to take advantage of "us suckers", and you know what? Americans HATE being seen as suckers (even if we mostly are).

Don't come to my place, then exclude me. Don't bring the parts of your culture that made it fail and try and force it on mine - we're happy with the other parts, but you mexies can leave that machismo at home, you Irish can keep the alcoholism - in your country, and you Chinese can keep your exclusionary self-love in your own damn country. Bring me your art, your music, your literature (translated into my language if you please) and leave the rest. You Indians can keep your fucked up caste ideas and total snootiness at home as well, I don't care if you can write computer programs as well as I can (yet to see that one, but sure it's possible since there are so many people who think they are better than average at it).

I mean, really - it boils down to politeness. You are initially a guest here - so it's house rules, OK?
If that doesn't fly, you're more than welcome not to let the door hit you on the ass on your way back out, because I choose my guests, I don't have to take all comers. It may not be as clear-cut (yet) as a country, but that's the game, you'd better learn it.

Look at history. Whenever you have a chinatown, an irishtown, an italiantown, a whatever (and TX right now has issues with whole towns of Indians, by which I mean those from that continent) who won't integrate - you have "issues" that lead to racism, violence, crime and so on. It's the main driver of all that. Refusal to "melt" once you get to the "pot". Sure, we've made our own mistakes - we'd created "black-towns" in the past, and we still have some. That doesn't make it right - it's the problem no matter whose fault it was originally.

Melt, and there's nothing to fight about.