By Garrison Duke ,The Afro News Vancouver : Recently StatCan(Source) just released a shocking report on Hate Crimes, what was most startling about the report, was not the fact hate crimes existed in Canada, (being a Black Canadian I have known that for years especially growing up and living in Toronto.) The most surprising revelation was that Vancouver my home of now 17 years, was crowned the Hate Crimes capital of Canada! – yes Vancouver the city that most recently hosted the world for the 2010 games. The only good news in all of this is that the report was not released in January 2010 prior to the Games.
Make no mistake this is an alarming report and may have drawn attention to something foreboding! Something that perhaps has been quietly simmering below this city’s multi-cultural surface. The study indicates three major areas of concern, hate crimes that are directed at ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.
The study released by StatsCan suggests the most offended group is the Black Community; they are the most common victims of hate crimes, especially by assault. This is very interesting to me, because when you think of the negative image that Blacks have received over the years- gangsters, pimps, wife abuser, muggers, and jailbirds you name it, in reality we are the ones that are the most victimized in society, and the history runs deep on this issue. Think about the Rodney King assault for minute or historical racial hotspots like Halifax, Toronto or Montreal where most often blacks are portrayed in a negative light in the news and media.
The disturbing fact about the Hate Crime report is that Vancouver with a small Black population 20-25,000 had proportionally the largest number of hate crime victims of the three major Canadian cities. That says something when you can beat Toronto with a Black population of over 300,000.
This report speaks to an issue I have advocated for years; Blacks need more representation in the top tiers of society. Our community needs political, economic and community influence. With the rise of Obama it may be perceived that blacks have arrived at the upper echelons of society. But here is the problem; there are not enough black mayors, senators and so on. In essence we can elect a Black Prime Minister but where are the black MPs, MLAs, Mayors and other community leaders of influence that really drive agendas and make laws that brings change to communities.
Our community also needs acceptance and inclusion, the level of tolerance must increase, marginalizing of particular groups must be discouraged at all levels of society. Until these issues are addressed reports like the one just released by StatCan will just amount to a passing fancy or topic of the 24 hour news cycle.
Garrison Duke, Guest Spot on The Bill Good Show June 16th .
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