Another video of an overtly racist incident was captured for all the world to see, this time at a Denny’s restaurant in Lethbridge, Canada. What’s worse, the police responded in a similarly racist way to the incident.
Monir Omerzai, a resident of Calgary, posted the video on his Facebook page which showed a white woman turning in her booth to face him and his friends and then unleashing a barrage of racist sentiments on the four men.
“You’re dealing with a Canadian woman right now and I will leap across this table and punch you in the f***ing mouth,” the woman said at the start of the video. “Ignorant pr***.”
And then, predictably, she said, “Go back to your own f***ing country. We don’t need you here.”
“Just respect. Don’t say it like that. We are all Canadians,” said one of the men behind her. However, from then on, the situation escalated.
“You’re not Canadian,” the woman, who has been identified as Kelly Pocha, said. “No, you’re not Canadian.”
“Yes, we’re all Canadian,” said Omerzai, who now had to defend his humanity. “You’re a human being, I’m a human being. There’s nothing special about you.”
However, Pocha kept chanting her racist mantra, as if saying enough times the four men were not Canadian would make it true.
Then she asked another one of racist people’s stereotypical questions.
“Do you pay taxes here, my friend?” she asked.
“F***ing of course I pay taxes,” said Omerzai.
However, the racist woman refused to believe that either. Then suddenly she decided to insult the entirety of the female population of a war-torn Middle Eastern country as well.
“You’re not dealing with one of your Syrian b****es right now. You’re dealing with a Canadian woman, and I’m not going to be talked down to like that,” Pocha said.
None of the men were Syrian. In fact, Omerzai, who has been living in Canada for 13 years, is from Afghanistan and owns his own business.
“I am a good immigrant,” he said. “I do pay taxes. I do work hard.”
It is extremely shameful when immigrants are made to feel so unwelcome in a country through no fault of their own and feel they have to justify their morality and existence.
“Speak English or don’t speak at all,” the woman ended — as if she had the right to tell anyone what language to speak in a free country.
Apparently, the reason for the callous verbal abuse was also quite petty. In fact, it seemed it was a total misunderstanding and overreaction on Pocha’s part.
“I didn’t do anything,” she said. “He’s eyeing me up. I turned around and he glared at me.”
It’s quite strange that Pocha could see someone was glaring at her, considering she had her back to the four men.
According to a local news outlet, the woman said the men “started talking in their own language” and then started laughing. She believes they were mocking her.
“We were speaking in our own language,” Omerzai told The Star. “Talking about ... playing video games. And some parts were funny, so we were laughing. This lady looked at us two or three times. My friend was sitting across from me. I did not see him glare at her. She thought we were talking about her and that’s how the whole thing exploded.”
But it gets worst.
Omerzai then said the woman then stalked off to a different table. Soon after, a waitress came to the table and actually apologized to her — for what, there’s no clue.
“The waitress apologizes to her,” Omerzai said. “She did not say anything to us.”
To add salt to the wound, the police officers and the restaurant’s manager also told the four men to leave.
“The police said for us to leave. They said there is no criminal code for racism, for being yelled at… Manager says you guys cannot stay here. You have to pack your food and pay,” said Omerzai.
Then an Alberta New Democrat, Stephanie McLean, posted a victim-blaming tweet on her page asking, “That being said — (am) I hearing right? At the beginning of the video does the man on the left say to her ‘you ask to speak.’ Then says something about her mother?”
The tweet was deleted after McLean got backlash for her victim-blaming sentiments.
Omerzai didn’t say anything about “her mother.” He said “it doesn’t matter” if they weren’t Canadian. However, McLean, too focused on defending a racist, misheard him, probably.
She later apologized after receiving backlash.
I apologize for my comments. My tweet shouldn’t have implied there could be an excuse for the behaviour in that video. There is no excuse!Albertans must stand against racism and bigotry. I believe deeply there is never any possible justification for racist and hateful remarks.— Stephanie McLean (@NDPStephanie) May 9, 2018
However, her apology means nothing because no argument necessitates a racist assault.
The response from Denny's was equally disappointing.
“Based on our initial internal investigation, it appears our manager followed proper protocol but was unable to de-escalate the situation, and thus contacted local law enforcement,” the statement read.
“I am embarrassed to learn that this incident happened in Lethbridge,” Chris Spearman, mayor of Lethbridge, said. “We are working hard to address racism and bigotry but cannot prevent ignorance and the hostile behavior of individuals.”
Pocha, who worked at a car dealer, Cranbrook Dodge, was fired from her job.
“We have recently become aware of a disturbing video that involves one of our employees,” said owner Dave Girling in a post. “We are deeply concerned about the content of this video and want all of our friends, families, colleagues and customers to know that this behavior does not reflect the values of Cranbrook Dodge in any way.”
Pocha has also tried to defend her action saying she would not “normally say things like that” and was just having a bad day — but that doesn’t excuse her words.
She also said the video would damage her reputation and she wanted to apologize to the men she had offended. However, all of that came after she received backlash and lost her job, so her apology is moot.
As for Omerzai, he said he has never faced such racism before.
“I have sat with people, I have dealt with people myself in life, but I have never seen such a thing like that for 13 years, and someone shows you so much hate and so much anger. It was just something shocking for me,” he said.
“I know what real Canadians are like, so we don’t take this as a representation of Canada,” said Mujtab Abdul Gahafar, one of Omerzai’s friends at Denny’s that night. “She is what she is to herself, and I hope at some point in life she realizes that whatever she has inside of her is all hate and she needs to maybe get rid of some.”
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