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Social Science Discrimination & Race Relations

White Riot

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver

by (author) Henry Tsang

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Discrimination & Race Relations, Race & Ethnic Relations, British Columbia (BC), Historical, 20th Century
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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WINNER, Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize for the Best Book on Chinese Canadian History (Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC); FINALIST, Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Prize (BC and Yukon Book Prizes)

Essays and photographs that document the anti-Asian riots of 1907 in the context of contemporary anti-Asian sentiment.

White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver explores the conditions leading up to and the impact of a demonstration and parade in Vancouver, Canada, organized by the Asiatic Exclusion League and the ensuing mob attack on the city's Chinese Canadian and Japanese Canadian communities. Emblematic of a systemically racist era, White Riot reveals the social and political environment of the time, when racialized communities were targeted through legislated as well as physical acts of exclusion and violence.

Based on 360 Riot Walk, a 360-degree video walking tour by artist and author Henry Tsang, White Riot offers an intersectional approach to this pivotal moment in the history of racialized communities and a cultural and social context for understanding for the current wave of anti-Asian sentiment. It features photographs of the riots colourized by Tsang as well as those of contemporary Vancouver where the riots took place. Essays by Tsang and others speak to the colonial times that preceded and followed the 1907 riots, as well as issues that Chinese and Japanese communities (and other racialized communities) in North America are facing today. White Riot poses the question: in the current ethos of anti-racism and decolonization, what does it take to reconcile our collective histories within the legacy of white supremacy?

Includes essays by the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance, Paul Englesberg, Melody Ma, Angela May and Nicole Yakashiro, Jeffery R. Masuda, Aaron Franks, Audrey Kobayashi and Trevor Wideman, and Andy Yan, with a foreword by Patricia E. Roy.

About the author

Henry Tsang is an artist who explores the spatial politics of history, language, community, food, and cultural translation in relationship to place. His artworks take the form of gallery exhibitions, 360-degree video walking tours, curated dinners, and public art. Henry teaches at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver.

Henry Tsang's profile page


  • Winner, Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize for the Best Book on Chinese Canadian History
  • Short-listed, Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Prize (BC and Yukon Book Prizes)

Editorial Reviews

The book includes seven essays from various authors that provide a rich intellectual context for the central story of violent white bigotry and the courageous resistance to that bigotry among various communities of colour ... Highly recommended. -Vancouver Sun

Riots are just the tip of the iceberg of racist policies that have manufactured a climate of racial capitalism and white supremacy on these unceded Coast Salish lands also known as Vancouver. White Riot invites us to practise solidarity with one another by resisting precarity and respecting everyone's right to eat and to remain alive, in community and with dignity. -Rita Wong, author and co-editor of Downstream: Reimagining Water

Tsang's book demonstrates the resilience of Asian communities under a barrage of rhetorical and physical aggression. Photographs from the aftermath of the riots show smashed windows, as well as the elaborate commercial architecture that migrants had constructed in the face of discrimination. -Literary Review of Canada

Historical photos, many of them beautifully colourized, anchor essays by a series of contributors who put the riots into contemporary context, including the recent rise of anti-Asian racism. -The Globe and Mail

White Riot is an unsettling, shattering must-read. This crafted justice project sets a new standard for voicing and unpacking the entangled cultures of British settler colonial violence, domination, and resistance. Storytelling brings about the reckoning of white supremacy past and present in a locally grounded, vividly accessible way. -John Kuo Wei Tchen, co-author of Yellow Peril!: An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear

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