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Raymond Sheppard: When did racism ever take a day off?

Two Nova Scotia men were convicted under Canada’s hate crime laws in relation to a cross-burning incident on the lawn of an interracial couple in Windsor, N.S. The photo is from the RCMP.

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Back in July of 2019 Premier Stephen McNeil issued a statement critizing all forms of discrimination. He said, “that several acts of discrimination had been reported over a few weeks.”and called this “disappointing and disheartening.”  

He said that there’s only a few incidents of racism here and there in our province, suggesting that in between these incidents racism/discrimination somehow takes a couple of days off.

Closer observation reveals that racism is rampant in Nova Scotia and happens on a daily basis in many people’s lives.

Well, Mr. Premier why not do something about the situation? For starters, update and amend the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.

One would expect the Premier of Nova Scotia to be aware of the Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) report released to the Star in October 2018 after a Freedom of Information request. That report states that hate crimes and white supremacy activities in Canada are sharply increasing.

Hate crimes are prejudice-motivated crimes which occur when a perpetrator targets a victim or a group because of race or social background.

Most hate crimes in Canada are almost exclusively about race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender and or sexual orientation.

These hate crimes may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, taunting, name calling, graffiti, hate mail, and so on

Hate crimes against persons of African descent are escalating in Canada and Nova Scotia, while authorities are failing to take a strong public stand against these intolerant acts.

Hate crimes against African Canadian youth are especially heinous.  Case in point, the September 19, 2018, alleged racial bullying, racist taunts and slights that culminated in Nhlanhla Dlamini being shot with a high velocity nail gun by a coworker (Shawn Wade Hynes) employed with PQ Properties Limited of New Glasgow. 

Shawn Wade Hynes was found guilty in 2019, of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and assault causing bodily harm.

African Nova Scotians are over represented in the Criminal Justice System in Nova Scotia based on inherent bias.

Based on observed disparities at the time of sentencing, there seems to be a preponderance of plea-bargaining among racialized people.

 Of course racism is not limited to the criminal justice system. It also exists in education, housing, employment, medical services, politics, law, the armed forces, the media and in all walks of life.

Stephen MacNeil should do the right thing that is overdue and call an inquiry into the mistreatment of African Nova Scotians in the province in recognition of the United Nations International Decade of African Peoples.

Raymond Sheppard

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