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LETTER: Racist online comments attack NDP leader

I was reading the Facebook comments on your July 8 online article “Singh calls on Trudeau to address systemic racism in police forces.”

I know, I know, don’t read the comments. But we all do occasionally. I usually just snarl to myself and then move on, but since the recent racially motivated deaths of far too many Black and Indigenous people to count, all at the hands of police, I have vowed to never remain silent when witnessing racism. And, let me assure you, every one of the comments on this article was a racist attack on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Your article quotes Singh as saying, “If the Rideau Hall intruder had been a person of colour, the outcome of last week’s events in Ottawa would have been very different.” Mr. Singh is not ‘playing the race’ card by pointing out this fact. How many Indigenous and people of colour have been shot recently during “wellness checks,” or on mere suspicion of misdeed? Yet the armed white man who rammed the gates of Rideau Hall while threatening to kill our prime minister was met with a lengthy chitchat before being peacefully arrested.

The comments on this article range from calling Jagmeet Singh “pitiful” and attention seeking, to “Everythings (sic) about race with this guy.” To the white people who wrote these comments (yes, I checked your Facebook profiles – all white), please understand that it is never OK to dismiss someone else’s experiences, especially where racism is concerned.

Canada has a long history of deep-rooted racism from creating the RCMP to control Indigenous people, to the Chinese head tax, Japanese internment camps, and yes, Black slavery. It is easy to forget this history when we have not suffered the brunt of the policies but for those who are anything other than white, they still deal with it every day. Perhaps, instead of dismissing accusations of racism, it would be good to do a little research to try to understand the root of the accusation.

In a time that calls on us all to be kind and be calm, I suggest you think before writing your next online comment, and ask yourself if you are, indeed, being kind. We all need to strive for compassion and that is not achieved by perpetuating racist attacks.

Jessica Duncan

Victoria