University of British Columbia medicine professor Dr. Amy Tan claimed that refusing to wear a mask is an act of bigotry.
According to True North, the BC scholar and physician commented on Twitter when quoting a user sharing similar views.
That user, referred to as "Reese," claimed not wearing masks was racist because "BIPOC are the worst impacted in this pandemic."
The tweet reads, "The majority of the very few people [she sees] still wearing masks are BIPOC [as] Asian countries have been wearing masks during flu seasons pre-2020."
Tan commented: "Not masking is racist, ableist & classist."
A December 2022 Angus Reid poll found that Caucasians wore masks indoors more than Indigenous people and were more concerned about COVID than visible minorities and Indigenous people.
It found that 11% of Indigenous people wear masks "every single time, no exceptions" indoors, versus 14% of white people and 21% of visible minorities.
In her tweet, Reese claimed Asians wear masks because of "anti-Asian hate/violence" and urged white people to "stop speaking for BIPOC" on what constitutes racism.
"You need to learn your place. Your white saviorism is killing us. Sit down, shut up, and listen to us [because] your whiteness is a problem."
Tan is 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.
Tan's bio on UBC's website describes her as "an advocate for health equity and an anti-racism educator and consultant" and notes that her education and expertise include providing "culturally-safe and anti-oppressive care with patients and families."
During the pandemic, Tan appeared on media outlets and engaged with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on COVID roundtables.
In 2021, Chatelaine listed her as one of the eight COVID-19 experts you should follow on social media.
Tan also writes blogs that feature her "reflections on COVID-19, anti-racism, health equity & justice, grief, palliative care, and healthcare communication."
In one of her blog posts, she states, "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."
On February 22, Tan locked her account and left Twitter, stating: "Ppl need to think abt why they're so triggered by just a TLDR of thread I quoted, directed to NO ONE SPECIFIC."
However, she is not the only scholar to publish controversial social media posts regarding masks.
True North reported that University of Ottawa law and epidemiology professor Amir Attaran shamed a maskless United Airlines flight attendant on Twitter, prompting a widespread backlash of the scholar.
Attaran also claimed that unvaccinated people are "antisocial crazies [who] 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-Semitic."
Additionally, 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."