Daniel Bains (left) and his friends had this sign taken away as they entered a recent Toronto Blue Jays playoff game. Bains said they were told it would be 'too offensive' to Cleveland Indians fans

BC VIEWS: Racial prejudice in modern B.C.

A racist tirade caught on video illustrates a stubborn streak of ignorance, where many people don't know what 'Indian' actually means

It has long been my belief that B.C. schools should step up their efforts to teach that Pakistan and India are separate countries. They are in fact hostile to one another, and everyone should be concerned about that, since both have nuclear weapons.

Their bitter history of conflict makes it logistically difficult for “Pakis” to “go back to India,” as was famously suggested last week by a man emerging from a double-parked monster truck in Abbotsford.

This fellow’s racist tirade quickly became B.C.’s viral cellphone video of the year, watched around the world. It was recorded by a local lawyer who took a picture of the truck, only to have the guy get in his face.

Viewers saw this muscular man, with a particular T-shirt-and-track-pants style, riding shotgun in the most jacked-up pickup it is legal to drive on B.C. roads.

In appearance and mannerisms, he typifies a gangster look that is depressingly popular among white males these days. It contrasts with the more urban clothing and vehicle styles favoured by aggressive deplorables of other ethnic communities. But these fashion leaders all seem to share one thing: they have more money than morals.

This sort of white immigration critic is common, not just in the Fraser Valley, but in Kelowna, Prince George, Nanaimo and other B.C. communities. I’ve heard these kinds of comments many times since my adolescence in 1970s Dawson Creek.

Abbotsford Police reported that they are well acquainted with this individual. His last known address is in Hope.

The lawyer who captured the video is of Indian ethnic origin, which means his family came from India. It seems redundant to explain this, considering Indians, particularly of the Sikh religion, were among the pioneers who immigrated to join aboriginal people here, along with Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiians and others, beginning two centuries ago.

But in our American-dominated culture, many people still don’t get this.

Case in point: Four men went to a recent Toronto Blue Jays playoff game carrying a sign that said “Real Indians cheer 4 the Blue Jays.” The Jays were, of course, playing the Cleveland Indians, who continue to use this inaccurate name and an offensive red-faced “Chief Wahoo” logo.

These men are indeed “real Indians” and looked friendly enough. Yet Rogers Centre security took their sign away, because its accuracy was deemed “too offensive.” I’m not making this up.

This kind of ignorance remains pervasive, so it’s understandable that it is mirrored among non-European ethnic communities, including aboriginal people.

One of many responses I received to a recent column on the sinking of a tugboat on the Central Coast was from a young woman who identifies as aboriginal.

“As a Caucasian, cisgender, male, settler Canadian, you need to check your privilege,” she wrote. “At most your family has been in what is now called B.C. for less than 200 years. In those 200 years your people have successfully collapsed almost every fish stock on this coast and clear-cut old growth forests to the brink of annihilation.”

She wasn’t done: “You have lost all connection to the land and sea. Your culture knows nothing but greed.”

I wrote back to say she had made quite a sweeping series of assumptions and questionable claims based on my picture. A quick search determined that this woman has been studying to be a teacher, having received a scholarship to the aboriginal education program at UBC.

Her attitude towards me isn’t surprising. But do we as a society want racial prejudice of any kind taught in schools?

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Big Beach parties spark concern in Ucluelet

“You find needles, left over party debris, bottles and still burning fires.”

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

Young tourist caught untying boats from Ucluelet dock

“He was just untying the boats and watching them float away,” said Harbour Master Kevin Cortes.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read