What's race got to do with it?


I accept the argument. Those involved in the recent decision to provide a group of—white—residents in Lake Major with keys to an old logging road so they could avoid having to travel an extra 5.5 km through the—black—community of North Preston were providing a small but reasonable favour to those most inconvenienced by a local bridge construction project.

When they—the landowners who provided the keys, Councilor David Hendsbee who facilitated the arrangement, municipal bureaucrats who blessed it—came up with this favour, they weren’t thinking about the race of those involved, or about how those who weren’t given keys might regard this favour.

I accept that.

Just as I am prepared to believe a different set of “theys” harboured no particular ill will to the black residents of Upper Hammonds Plains back in the 1990s when they decided not to extend city water services from nearby Pockwock Lake to their homes, even though main water lines traveled through Hammonds Plains’ backyards en route way to providing water to white communities.

And I’ll buy the claims of other theys that race wasn’t a factor in deciding to locate a landfill in Lincolnville in 2006.

Just as it was not a consideration when they—another different they—dumped an earlier landfall beside the same black community in 1974.

Not to forget the landfill in East Lake in 1992. And the dump in Africville in…

By one estimate, over 30 per cent of Nova Scotia’s black communities happen to be located within five km of a waste dump.

That doesn’t mean the decisions were racially-based.

Race may not have been the prime motivator behind this year’s cross burning in Hants County either.

Or in the torching of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown in 2006.

And that cop who stopped Kirk Johnston’s car in 1998—triggering a landmark human rights complaint—may not have done so just because the boxer was “driving while black.”

As a white person, I have no difficulty believing race was not behind any one of those specific incidents or individual decisions.

But I can understand why a black person might see a troubling pattern.

  1. Hello
    tbhis comment has nothing to do with your article.
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    please do reply
    the numero- uno legal thriller lover


  2. comparing events that were obviously racially motivated, to an event that make clear sense? Was this to ilicit a particular response?

    The cross burning was racially motivated, the torching of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown in 2006 was racially motivated. that cop who stopped Kirk Johnston’s car in 1998—triggering a landmark human rights complaint, was likely racially motivated.

    I go into detail on this in my blog http://anthony-arsenault.blogspot.com, but the events in North Preston were not racial. The gated rated brought the two detours within 2km of each other. Without having that detour, Lake Major residents had to drive 11km, and North Preston residents had to drive 7. The now cancelled detour would have seen lake Major residents driving 5km. So it’s ok if 10 LM residents drive 11 km and NP drive 7, but it’s not ok if LM residents drive 5 and NP drive 7?

    It is not racism, it is practicality and common sense.

    What would happen if those white people screamed racism? It is the same thing. They are being forced to drive further, and a particular ethnic group drives less. They lost their detour because they were white, when they weren’t given it based on the color of their skin.


  3. Uh. . . yeah. Funny, I’m white and I see a troubling pattern as well.


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