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"Join ISIS." POC Harassed on Vancouver Public Transit
“‘I don't get why they don't teach in your country-’ was the beginning of his insult, right before I started filming . He lied about saying it around 0:55, he knows what he was doing.”
Note, not one bystander confronted him or suggested he cease his hostile engagement.
Iris Y. and two friends walked onto a Skytrain car in Surrey on February 18, 2015, immediately beset by a man, first visually then followed by a procession of questions, exclamations, and varied insults, including, “You don’t know how to socialize,” and, “You’re cuckoo.”
Unprompted, he asked the group “Are you three foreign students?" Without a pause he continued, “I don't get why they don't teach in your country, why do they come here?"
That’s when she began recording his impromptu lecture. When specifically asked to repeat that line, he then became more hostile.
Asked what she hopes people note when watching this segment of her experience on public transit, Iris explains, “I wanted to share that video because none of the passengers on the train spoke out. The fact that no one helped us is just as disgusting as the old man’s behaviour. It is obvious that the old man’s actions are not acceptable, yet no one said anything against; it is not enough to just stay silent. If they spoke out, the old man would not feel so arrogant and confident about his racism. These bystanders are part of the problem because they enable this to happen.”
Also adding, “It’s important to speak out and encourage a conversation on topics that are avoided for being too ‘sensitive’ or ‘controversial’.”
She’s currently working with her friends to create educational material for anyone who may mistake this incident and the frequent scrutiny and attacks on people of colour as one-off incidents and not as being connected to prevalent systems of oppression.