O Canada! White Canuck Detains, Calls Police on Black Man He Deems an ‘Illegal Alien’

Illustration for article titled O Canada! White Canuck Detains, Calls Police on Black Man He Deems an ‘Illegal Alien’
Screenshot: Katie Pocasangre Montoya (Facebook)

Well, it looks like one of the things our largest trading partner is importing from the USA is good old xenophobic racism.

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In a recent video in which a white man can be seen berating a person of color, saying the man is an “illegal alien,” if you blink, you might think that the incident happened in America.

But the site of this particular fuckery was to our North, in a grocery store in the city of London, a Canadian city in Ontario, just above Lake Erie and about 120 miles north of Detroit (maybe that explains it?)

The CBC reports that London police are now investigating the incident which happened on Tuesday at a Sobeys grocery store.

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In the 30-second clip, which has now been viewed more than 1.4 million times, the still unidentified man can be seen blocking another man from leaving the grocery store, calling him an “illegal alien,” and asking if he’s afraid to be “deported.”

“I want to leave; stop assaulting me,” said what looks to be a black man (or possibly an Arab, or Indian, or Pakistani man) in a black hoodie with “Harlem” emblazoned across the front.

“Don’t touch him, why are you touching him?” a woman says off-camera.

The woman who first posted the incident recounts the story on Facebook:

At my local Sobey’s , ( LONDON ONT. NORTH LONDON STORE) a man accuses the young man of being an “illegal alien” & won’t allow him to leave the store. Continues to push the young man to force him to stay in the store as he has called the police & wants the police to come to the store for the young man (while he has done absolutely nothing) .. he continues to ask if he’s scared to be deported & asked the young man to show his Canadian documentation, & tells him if he leaves the store he will conduct a “citizens arrest” on behalf of the police.

🤦🏻‍♀️ ... I see a lot of comments of people wondering if he was shop lifting, he was not, he rightfully PAID for his items.

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Illustration for article titled O Canada! White Canuck Detains, Calls Police on Black Man He Deems an ‘Illegal Alien’

A witness to the confrontation told the CBC, “I heard him say he was an illegal immigrant and an alien. I was shocked.”

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Arden Keet continued, “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing was actually happening in real life,” she said.

Keet also noted that, as in America, most people ignored the incident, and low-key blamed the black guy for it.

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“I was shocked and surprised that no one else was really that bothered by it, or upset,” Keet added. “I was upset how the cashier said, ‘Oh, he was crazy’ (about the man with the backpack).”

According to CBC, police say that there was a “previous incident between these two males” prior to the start of the video recording.

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“When police responded and investigated it was learned that the male in the red shirt had assaulted the male in the black shirt,” said London police Const. George Demopoulos.

The victim opted not to press charges, said police. Demopoulos also added that police cannot yet confirm if the confrontation will be prosecuted as a hate crime.

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“It’s difficult to say whether it was hate-motivated, but obviously race did play a part in the incident,” he said, adding police officers are continuing the investigation.

CBC reports that the London Police Services Board said that there has been an increase in hate crimes in the city between 2016 and 2017. The report said there were 64 reported incidents in 2017, compared to 40 incidents in 2016.

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And so what used to be our refuge, is perhaps becoming less so, with racists the world round becoming more emboldened in an “us” versus “them” mentality—usually with white heterosexual Christian men on one side and Muslims, LGBTQ folk, immigrants and people of color on the other.

Oh, Canada! Say it ain’t so. Has our North Star fallen?

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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DISCUSSION

I mean, us being down here doesn’t help. But can we quit this “they imported it from America” whenever some other Western country has people who do this? Canada doesn’t need to import racism; it has it’s own. The same people who colonized Canada colonized the United States.

Like, please stop this lazy narrative. America didn’t event white supremacy. “Our refuge?”

In the early twentieth century, the Canadian government had an unofficial policy of restricting immigration by black people. The huge influx of immigrants from Europe and the United States in the period before World War I included few black people, as most immigrants were coming from Eastern and Southern Europe.

Clifford Sifton’s 1910 immigration campaign had not anticipated that black Oklahomans and other black farmers from the Southern United States would apply to homestead in Amber Valley, Alberta and other parts of Canada.

However, Canada acted to restrict immigration by black persons, a policy that was formalised in 1911 by Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier:

“His excellency in Council, in virtue of the provisions of Sub-section (c) of Section 38 of the Immigration Act, is pleased to Order and it is hereby Ordered as follows: For a period of one year from and after the date hereof the landing in Canada shall be and the same is prohibited of any immigrants belonging to the Negro race, which race is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.”

If Canada was so great for black folks, it would be Windsor and not Detroit that is today 80% black.

Girl, stop.