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News brief: Nova Scotia racism of the in your face variety

Contributed.

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – There was a great quote by social worker Robert Wright in a Globe and Mail article sometime last week. 

It’s part of a  story about the recent wave of racist incidents in the province, and Wright explains, “Our racism is a very polite form of racism. It smiles in your face, it says please and thank you, it calls you sir and ma’am at the same time as it marginalizes you. They’re not yelling at you, they’re not screaming at you, they’re just ill-serving you.”

It’s an insightful statement. Nonetheless, let the following serve as a reminder that quite frequently racism in Nova Scotia is also of the in your face variety.

The kind of thing that cause real harm and real fear among neighbours.

Meet the confederate lawn tractor guy, a man who thinks it’s hilarious to ride around Greenwood Heights, a Timberlea subdivision, on top of a riding lawn mower featuring the confederate flag. He posts videos of this on his YouTube channel, and he has a Facebook page. I am not linking to any of this, Google it if you have to.

I am told the man first drew people’s attention last summer because of the confederate flag on his truck. I am not sure if that’s still the case, but his lawn mower exploits continue.

He claims he is merely a fan of the tv show the Duke of Hazards. Yet the confederate flag, flown by Confederate troops in the field during the American Civil War, has come to stand for white supremacy and is now a universal symbol of racism. 

“I hope you don’t have the misunderstanding that your opinion matters to me, or some stupid fuckin internet article. Stupid cunt hahaha,” he responded on Facebook after someone tried to point this out to him.

There are people who come to his defense on the community Facebook page, but there are others who, although terrified, have the courage to speak out.

“When this thread first happened, I felt really alone. I thought maybe this wasn’t a safe or healthy community in which to raise my children,” writes another courageous resident on the Facebook community page.  

“I thought maybe this community was so broken that there was no hope. Then I started to get messages. People took me aside for private conversations. People stopped me when I was out running errands. People DMd me.They thanked me for saying the things they were afraid to say,” she writes. 

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