It’s not hard to see their point - writes lfpress.com.
A London couple say they were the victims of a racist tirade in a south-end parking lot last week, the latest in a string of blemishes on London and the region.
The day before, the N-word was scrawled in the fresh snow on a vehicle belonging to a black family.
And a week before that, police charged a Toronto lawyer who attacked an immigrant family in St. Thomas, brandishing a bat and screaming, “ISIS.”
“We’ve tended to see these sorts of incidents as an aberration, rather than a normal experience for members of these communities,” said Barbara Perry, a professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and an expert in hate crimes: “It’s not a one-off. It’s something people in the affected communities expect at any moment.”
For Kristan Goodson, it still came as a surprise.
Goodson and her husband, who’s from Syria, were picking up late-night pizza last week when a man in a nearby vehicle began screaming about how she had parked, Goodson said.
A pair of men screamed at her husband to “go back to where you came from,” and threatened his life, she said.
“I’m not sure if the fight was because he didn’t have enough room to get into his car, or if he was having a (bad) night and he wanted to beef up with my husband because he’s racist,” Goodson said.
The vehicle took off after Goodson and her husband began reciting the licence plate on the phone to police, but not before leaning in the window and spitting on the couple, Goodson said.
London police confirmed that an investigation has been launched, but no charges have been laid.
Goodson said her husband was “really shook up.”
Perry traced the recent string of bad behaviour, in part, to the growing visibility of groups that spread hate about marginalized communities, including Muslims and immigrants.
“That’s just really brought folks out of the woodwork and given them the green light to engage in similar behaviours,” she said.
Naming and shaming the behaviour — not ignoring it — is crucial, she added.
Coun. Mo Salih agrees. He said it’s time for Londoners to use more than just words as a defence against racism.
“It’s a matter of action — calling it out when we see it and not shying away,” he said. “Sometimes people want to say ‘Let’s not draw attention to it,’ but you can be sure, people who are racialized or marginalized are already talking about it.”
For Janice Braithwaite, who came outside to see the N-word written in the snow on her husband’s vehicle last week, it’s enough to want to leave London.
“We’re still in shock. We just didn’t think this would happen in London,” Braithwaite said.
The couple moved to London from downtown Toronto.
Read more news of London on our site.