Terri Chu (PhD) on Coronavirus & discrimination

For Communication & Culture PhD student Terri Chu, the Coronavirus outbreak has made her reflect on the SARS epidemic (2002-2003), and how racism and discrimination negatively affected local businesses. “The racism that sprung up - people avoiding Chinese businesses; not wanting to sit next to us on public transit - all of a sudden you have this thing that is a race-based disease so to speak, or a location-based disease, and then that source of income gets choked off because of fear.”

Terri, whose family owned a business in London, Ontario, explained how the same things are happening today and why it is important to speak on it in the media. "...that's why we were doing the media messaging. These people probably do not pose a risk to you, and we should be supporting these small businesses because they are the lifeline of the community.”

During her media stops, Terri also touched on the importance of representation in the news world. “I'm not an unknown entity to the media, my background is energy and environment. I write public columns in Ontario News Watch, and I’ve been on CBC before, but my phone has never rung off the hook like it is right now when there's a race-based thing. So, you only put us racialized people in front of the camera, to fulfill a stereotype that you need to be fulfilled. We are doctors, we are lawyers, we are engineers, we are functional members of society with varying degrees of expertise, and you never get us in front of the camera until it’s a race-based issue. And so, people do not see us as contributing members of society. When they see us, we are still racialized people, as opposed to members of society.”