University of British Columbia medicine professor Dr. Amy Tan says that not wearing masks is an act of racism, ableism and classism.
The B.C. scholar, physician, and self-described anti-racism consultant made the comments on Twitter Tuesday when quote tweeting a user sharing similar sentiments.
That user claimed that not wearing masks was racist because “BIPOC are the worst impacted in this pandemic, the majority of the very few people (she sees) still wearing masks are BIPOC, Asian countries have been wearing masks during flu seasons pre-2020, (and because there’s an) increase of anti-Asian hate/violence.”
A December 2022 Angus Reid poll found that Indigenous people were less likely than caucasians to wear masks indoors, and that caucasians were more concerned about COVID-19 than visible minorities and Indigenous peoples.
Tan is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in Palliative Care and Family Practice at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary. She is also an anti-racism support program faculty mentor at UBC.
Her bio on UBC’s website describes her as “an advocate for health equity and an anti-racism educator and consultant,” and notes that her medical education and research expertise includes the providing of “culturally-safe and anti-oppressive care with patients and families.”
During the pandemic, Tan made several appearances on media outlets, and participated in a COVID-19 vaccine roundtable with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Like other progressive doctors, she has built a large Twitter following, with almost 20,000 followers.
Tan also has a personal blog that features “reflections on COVID-19, anti-racism, health equity & justice, grief, palliative care, healthcare communication.” In one of her blog posts, she states that “as a Chinese, heterosexual, settler of colour, second-generation Canadian, cis-gender female with more than one disability, I want to use my privilege and be part of the solution.”
Tan is not the only scholar to publish controversial social media posts regarding masks.
As previously reported by True North, University of Ottawa law and epidemiology professor Amir Attaran faced international backlash this summer after he shamed a maskless United Airlines flight attendant on Twitter.
Attaran has also said that those who do not believe in Covid vaccinations are “antisocial crazies deserve nothing less than to be mocked and shamed”, and referred to the group as racist, low life trash, losers, stupid, village idiots, homophobic and anti-Semetic.
Meanwhile, Ottawa physician and school trustee Dr. Nili Kaplan Myrth, who has co-authored articles with Tan, claimed on a TVO panel that the word “normal” is a language used by the far-right and ableists.
Tan did not respond to True North’s request for comment in time for publication. She did, however, make her Twitter account private.