Screaming at Racists
Twice in Two Minutes
As I walked down Augusta to the pot shop I spotted an Orthodox Jewish man, once a more common sight in historic Kensington, presumably walking from the Minsk around the corner, and I immediately noted the chronic fear and anxiety in his posture and I thought, half-knowing how naïve my thought was "Surely in Kensington market he can relax" and as we got closer I heard this gesticulating Asian guy in front of me make crass racial remarks including "Dreidel, Dreidel" making fun of this man for his orthodox appearance.
The man recoiled as the racist walked past at him launching smears. I Immediately got in the racist Asian dude's face, confronting him for his racism, ordering him to leave the neighbourhood, and asking him if he even knew where the fuck he is, reminding him of the signs plastered everywhere "HATE HAS NO HOME HERE". A native friend tried to stop me before I told them what was up, a black friend fist bumped me as I remarked walking by "Hey, I just have to chase this racist" and told the man to run faster, and he did.
I stopped when I ran into another friend, a white dude, and took a puff of his joint, and could barely finish the story before some drunk gay brown guy walked by and called us both "Pakis" -- this time I also ultimately got him to leave the neighbourhood, but he protested for some time that he WAS a Paki. He tried to enter the bar of a local Australian barkeep who was not hard to convince to keep this guy out of his bar, especially after the racism-shouter called me a "White Bitch" in front of the Australian man...
I escalated systematically, inducing terror in the hate criminal, understanding the game theory of no compromise, and gradually got him to move south out of Kensington but not before the conversation shifted: I tried to tell him that his was the second racial slur in two minutes, and that something is in the air he doesn't want to be part of -- he accused me of hating him and I told him I hated his behavior. When I mentioned the orthodox Jewish man beforehand he suddenly claimed to also be Jewish, and demanded to know if I spoke Hebrew. I asked him to tell me a secret as I walked him out of the neighbourhood, finally getting him to leave the bar he tried to enter. I told him I teach in a synagogue but that doesn't mean I speak Hebrew. He also refused to demonstrate the knowledge of Hebrew he drunkenly claimed, but by the time we reach the edge of the neighbourhood, I told him in all sincerity what I had already told him more violently, that it's hate speech to shout racial slurs at people in the street: it doesn't matter who he is, and it doesn't matter who I am, and stop playing his race card, I don’t play mine. I finally saw a different look on his face, not defiance, but guilt, and I think it finally landed after 20 minutes of screaming at him. Don't give up.
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