Before any more Canadians get too comfortable on their high horses, let me share with you what happened to me about an hour ago. This week has not been easy for me. Amidst a number of personal and professional struggles, my mind has been occupied with the latest string of black males killed by the police over the last few days. So, instead of stewing in my apartment, I decided to take a drive to the Stonehaven Wharf and sit by the water on this cold, rainy July day and try to pacify my mind by reading the works of Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis. After a couple hours by the ocean, quietly reading in my car, I begin the drive back to my apartment. I'm 20 minutes in to my drive back home and I notice an RCMP cruiser speed by me, travelling in the opposite direction. 10 minutes later, I notice the same cruiser approaching from behind at a high rate of speed. Naturally, I check my speedometer and I'm travelling at 87km/h in a 100km/h zone, following the car in front of me (the speed at which people drive out here is another story). Since I'm travelling so slowly I don't think anything of the cruiser behind me until he hit his lights. I pull over and wait for him to approach. Thankfully, he is kind and respectful and asks me the usual questions; where I'm from and where I'm going. He then proceeds to ask me if I was in Janeville earlier this evening. I tell him that I was at the Stonehaven Wharf reading a book pointing to the two books in the passenger seat. He smiles and says that a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours. My response, "Really? I was just reading a book." He smiles, shrugs and replies, "Well, you know, it's a small town." and proceeds to ask me for my license. He verifies my information and sends me on my way. So, a black male, sitting in his car, reading a book is suspicious activity. Good to know. At this rate, I may never leave my home again. #DangerousNegro
All he wanted was a peaceful rest to read a good book and soothe his mind. What Louizandre Dauphin got was a stark reminder that even reading while black has repercussions.
Just a few days ago, Dauphin, the director of parks, recreation and tourism in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada, was having a challenging week dealing with various problems in his personal and professional life. He had also been thinking about the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers, and needed to get out of his apartment.
To pacify his mind and read the works of Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis by the water, he drove down to the Stonehaven Wharf. But what he was expecting to be a day of relaxation turned into an ordeal when he was pulled over by an officer while driving back home.
"Thankfully, he is kind and respectful and asks me the usual questions; where I'm from and where I'm going," Dauphin wrote. "I tell him that I was at the Stonehaven Wharf reading a book, pointing to the two books in the passenger seat. He smiles and says that a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours,” Dauphin wrote in an Instagram post.
He had to go through a series of questions, answers and an identity check before he was left..
"So, a black male, sitting in his car, reading a book is suspicious activity. Good to know. At this rate, I may never leave my home again,” he added to the post.
The amount of racism displayed toward minorities is getting absolutely out of hand. Numerous incidents of racism displayed by police officers toward black people have come to light. A recent statewide study revealed that black people were three times more likely to get tasered as compared to people of other races.
Needless to say, this is sheer discrimination purely based on one’s skin color, and it is far past time to put forth real efforts that educate people on biases against others based on race, religion, sexual preferences and other factors.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Chris Wattie