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

 

Just Posted

Children of the Japanese Canadian internment return to Tashme, for museum expansion

A replica of a tar paper shack and education space part of Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum expansion

20-bed emergency shelter to open in Hope in October

Supportive housing also planned for two lots on Old Hope Princeton Way, adjacent to the shelter

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

PHOTOS: Japanese-Canadians who built Highway 3 forever remembered with Mile 9 sign

A lesser-known part of B.C. history is the 1,700 Japanese-Canadian men who built highways in WWII

Hope arm-wrestler turned track and field star wins five medals at 55+ Games

Seven medals total coming back to Hope from golf and track and field events

VIDEO: More cameras, police coming after Marissa Shen killed in Burnaby park

B.C. privacy watchdog worries that the cameras are a ‘slow creep’ to a surveillance state

Arborist killed by fallen tree at Maple Ridge Golf Course

Was working near the 9th tee box of the golf course.

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Abbotsford raccoon dies from injuries suffered in a trap

Wildlife protection group offering $1,000 reward for information about incident

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Most Read