Our Racist Past

Ninety-eight years ago today, the Grandview Chamber of Commerce, supported by the Grandview Ratepayers Association, held

“an enthusiastic gathering of merchants and prominent men of the district, gathered to unite their efforts to drive out of the district of Grandview the Oriental … Speakers said they did not want Grandview to be overrun with Orientals, and they intended to see that it was not … Efforts are being made to induce the real estate dealers and owners who have already rented their premises to Orientals to give them notice to vacate, otherwise the names of those preferring a few dollars to the welfare of their district will be made public” – World 1919 Jan 14, p.12

It is often hard to interpret history without using the guiding views of our own age. It has to be remembered that discrimination against the Chinese, Japanese, and others was rampant throughout BC in 1919 across all classes and political beliefs. Less than a dozen years earlier, Vancouver had witnessed huge riots against immigration and the Komagata Maru incident was only five years before.

From today’s perspective, most of us would find this unacceptable. But in 1919?