A Sydney man told HuffPost Australia on Sunday he was taken aback when a stranger made a “racist” remark at a convenience store in the city’s west when he was picking up a 10-roll pack of toilet paper.
“As I was walking towards my car, this man said, ’Hey watch out, you’ve got toilet paper made in China. It might give you bum rash,” the male, who wished to remain unnamed, said.
“I’m not Chinese myself but this is racist,” continued the disappointed shopper, who had gone to the convenience store to pick up some household essentials, after no toilet paper was available at the local Woolworths or Coles.
This week a survey was launched to encourage people facing anti-Asian racism in Australia to speak up.
Created by the Asian Australian Alliance, Being Asian Australian and Per Capita fellow Osmond Chiu, the survey is a “tool for Asian Australians/Asians in Australia to report the incidents of racism as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic”.
“There has been a huge increase in #COVID19Aus related anti-Chinese & anti-Asian racism in Australia. If you’ve experienced #COVIDー19 related racism or know someone who has, report it here!” read a Facebook statement promoting the survey.
In February a Sydney cafe apologised after it displayed a sign reading, “The coronavirus won’t last long because it was made in China!!!”
At the time, Asian Australian Alliance founder Erin Chew said she was “sad” to see the message that was shared with her on Facebook.
“As a Chinese Australian it’s sad when I see cheap comments like this which only adds to the racism and sinophobia towards Chinese Australians or really any Asian Australians who look Chinese,” Chew told HuffPost Australia.
“Most people such as the cafe feel that this is just a joke but they don’t understand the racial backlash which impacts on anyone who is Chinese looking.
“The focus should be keeping safe and to hope that the coronavirus gets contained as soon as possible but sadly what we have seen is people trying to make this out to be a ‘Chinese virus’ and anyone who looks like us who wears a face mask or coughs or sneezes will get implicated and get racially targeted.”