Wednesday • 2016.05.11
An Open Letter to the Racist Lady in the Blue Jays T-shirt
Dear Toronto Blue Jays fan lady (with the reddish-dyed hair), who I met on Front Street last Sunday afternoon,
You don’t know me, but my friend and I met you briefly on our way to Union Station. You and your companion were dressed like you were coming from the baseball game, along with the rest of the boisterous crowd that filled the street. As we crossed the road, we noticed you were in some sort of altercation with a curbside flower vendor, shouting with her. I can’t be sure, but on a glance I think she was of east-Asian or Latin descent, whereas you and your male companion are both white.
As you walked away from the flower vendor, I heard her shout after you “It’s none of your fucking business.” She then went back about her work hawking streetside roses, the very picture of politeness.
Incurably nosy, I wondered desperately what she had done to provoke your ire. I turned to my friend and asked him, “I wonder why everyone is yelling at each other down here today?” You overheard me and turned in our direction.
“I don’t think (that flower vendor) is as Canadian as the rest of us,” you declared smugly. Instantly, I understood what had happened: You saw a non-white woman on the street and decided to stop and harass her on the assumption that she’s an immigrant.
When I ignored your response and walked away from you, I heard you proclaim “Yeah, enough said, right; I know…” As if you thought that I and my friend (who is also white) were in agreement with your point of view.
Then I made what was probably a mistake.
I knew exactly what I wanted to say to you in response, but instead I just shut up and kept walking. That decision has been eating away at me for days now.
I guess I was afraid of a confrontation; You and your friend looked bigger and stronger than us, and we were all surrounded by a sports crowd. Plus, I had already seen you get into a confrontation with a complete stranger who had done nothing to offend you besides exist. So, I said nothing and walked away.
I knew what I wanted to say to you, and I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, I’ve thought of a few more things since then that I really need to tell you.
Blue Jays lady. You think you’re automatically superior to immigrants because you were born here? Better than non-white people too? Or people who speak with a different accent than you because English is not their first language?
First, you need to get a clue, you arrogant closed-minded nincompoop. Your value system is broken and I pity you. You live with a pathetic sense of insecurity and entitlement that you probably learned from bad upbringing.
Second, I promise you, everyone who witnesses your behaviour thinks you’re a miserable asshole scumbag— Except your broken little social circle, your friends and acquaintances who act like you do, continuously patting each other on the back as reward for continuing to hate the same external groups. But do you know who almost everyone in Canada really hates? People with attitudes like you.
Third, immigrants are not the problem in this country, YOU are.
I am ashamed of you— I am ashamed that immigrants who come to Canada to make their life here have to put up with people like you. You make it so that I can’t tell people Canada is a completely open and accepting place; That would be a lie today, because there are still people like you here.
Finally, here’s what I really wanted to say to you on Sunday but wasn’t brave enough:
I don’t know that flower vendor, or anything about her… I can’t tell you her name, her background, her citizenship status and whether she was born here or not (not that it fucking matters). Nevertheless, there is one important thing I can tell you and your companion about her: She is without a doubt far more “Canadian” than you may ever be.
The trans woman in purple.