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Newsbrief: Worker shot with nail gun says incident was racist

Photo Stacey Dlamini, via the Star Halifax

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Just a reminder that racism remains alive and well in Nova Scotia, and that there is nothing subtle about it.

As widely reported, Nhlanhla Dlamini, a 21-year old Black worker from Pictou County says that a coworker shot a nail gun at him, causing a punctured and collapsed lung which required a four-day stay at a local hospital.

Dhalmini also says that prior to the shooting he suffered racist slurs from that same coworker who fired the gun.

The incident happened on september 19, and has now come into the open after Dlamini and his mother spoke out and the resulting excellent reporting by CBC journalist Mairin Prentiss.  

Dlamini says that the shooting occurred at a construction site in Abercrombie, and that the incident was deliberate. There were no witnesses.

His employer, landlord and developer Paul Quinn, drove Dlamini not to hospital, but to his home, from where a friend drove him to the hospital.

The worker who fired the gun was arrested by RCMP on suspicion of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, but no charges have been laid at this time.

Dlamini told the CBC that he had been on the job for just three weeks when the nail-gun shooting occurred. “During those few weeks, he said the co-worker who fired the gun called him “Squigger” and occasionally referred to him as “whatever the F they call you at home,” writes Prentiss. The co-worker also threw nails at him, hammered his booted foot and stapled his jacket to a staircase, Dlamini said.

Dlamini said he was the only person of colour on the worksite and the only person bullied by the man.

On September 23 Craig Clarke, a lawyer speaking on behalf of Quinn, told the CBC that the shooting wasn’t intentional and only required a band-aid.

In a follow-up story by the Star Halifax, Dlamini’s mother, Stacey Dlamini, tells reporter Taryn Grant that  her son at this time is not interested in speaking with news organizations, and is focused on finding another job.

But she doesn’t believe that this should be the end of the story.

“You don’t change people with racist attitudes by charging them; you change it by society having conversations about this …  What we want is for people in our community … to just raise their voices and say no, we’re not going to tolerate this behaviour here,” she told Grant.

Judy Haiven tells the Nova Scotia Advocate that she hopes to assist with some kind of action in support of Dlamini. Haiven is co-founder and steering committee member of Equity Watch, a group that fights bullying, racism and misogyny in the workplace. She can be reached at equitywatchns@gmail.com.    

See also: Putting bad bosses on notice. No more bullying and no more discrimination, says new organization 

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