Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Confrontation

"You pushed me! I'm sure they have cameras." The speaker was a thick woman with a heavy Pakistani accent.

"I didn't touch you!"

The woman pointed her finger at a young man wearing a bright orange vest. "Yes, you did! They have cameras!"

I was standing at the service counter at Loblaws, waiting to pay for a small box of wedge fries. The two were arguing five feet from where I was standing.

A manager walked over, a big man with a thick mane of curly hair and a speckled gotee. He listened to both sides before leading them away. I don't know what happened, (though I did see the young man back at work organizing the carts later in the afternoon) but  that wasn't what I found interesting

What interested me was how a visible minority clearly not born in Canada, was able to speak her mind to a young white man who'd been born here.

Now to most Canadians, particularly those of us in the bigger cities, this is not a big deal. This is what we expect to happen. And if the young man did push her or swear at her, she not only deserves to be heard, but the young man obviously deserves to punished. Again, this seems obvious. But think about all issues we've had with systemic racism within certain enforcement agencies. And this isn't just about our friends to the south. We've had issues here in Toronto as well.

Racism (like bigotry and misogyny) will never go away, though we do what we can to at least minimize its effects. And so often we see those negative examples on the news or pop up on our social media platform.

This is fine, because the only way we can correct things is to understand what's going on in the first place. Still though, it's nice to examples of when we get it right. Today, it wasn't about being white, being male, or being born here. And it was nice to see.