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Prince George is super racist, apparently

Posted on 20 April 2013

There is a follow-up to this post, titled “Racism is not limited to Prince George.” There’s a link at the bottom, too.

From the Prince George Citizen:

Rally met with ‘open rascism’

“About 30 minutes into the three-hour rally a middle-aged woman strolled past and suggested the 21 people at the gathering ‘get a job’ or ‘have a drink.'”

And… that’s it.

I get why this would be interpreteted as racist, given that the Idle No More movement is Aboriginal-based, and the stereotypes Aboriginal people in this country face.

But I’m not convinced this is open racism.

Telling protesters to get a job is hardly original and is tied more to ideology than race. More problematic is the comment to get a drink, which doesn’t really make sense unless you’re pulling out the stereotype. But that’s not not open racism, it’s veiled (semantics, I know, racism is racism).

Anyways, we’ve established that a single person in a city of 80,000 told protesters to get a job or have a drink. Surely we wouldn’t use this to publish a newspaper article implying the city as a whole is one of the most racist and bigoted in the country?

“[name] grew up in Prince George and has travelled across Canada from St. John’s, Nfld., to Haida Gwaii and agreed about the attitudes in his hometown.

‘Prince George is one of the most racist and bigoted places that I’ve ever been in,’ said the 24-year-old construction worker of European descent. ‘My girlfriend, and mother of my child, is half South African and I’ve been called a n*** lover in a workplace in Prince George and that was OK. This has happened quite a number of times.'”

Oh. Well then.

Look, these comments suck. But they are hardly proof that Prince George is one of the most racist and bigoted places the person quoted or anyone has ever been in. I’ve been here longer than him and have been called nothing of the sort (members of my own family are visible minorities, so there has been plenty of opportunity for all these racists to let the slurs rain down upon me. They have not.)

But you know what? My experience proves nothing either. We’re pitting anecdotal evidence against anecdotal evidence. His experience is as real as mine and both are only parts of the truth. You encounter one bigot on a bus somewhere. That doesn’t make the whole city racist. I don’t encounter racism of the sort quoted. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, either.

I’m not trying to brush racism aside, or suggest it doesn’t happen. It exists, and it’s terrible.

My overall issue is with the way this report is put together. It fails to  seek out the other side of the story (the people who don’t think the city is more racist than others) or find some actual proof- an expert or demographics. It’s just anecdotes. I could create basically any narrative I want using this method. And I do take issue with reporting that paints a portrait of an entire city as racist based on anecdote.

Follow-up: Racism is not limited to Prince George.

Filed under: Canada, Prince George

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