Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Color me confused, but how does an issue of alleged racism in a tiny community in rural Newfoundland and Labrador make national headlines? 

One case of racism or discrimination is one case too many!  What I am having trouble understanding is why such an obvious case of discrimination, racism, cruelty and ignorance towards an 11-year-old boy had to become a new story in the first place?

It is easy to dismiss a fourth grade bully, but this issue, as reported is beyond the pale. It appears to be a repugnant case of structural xenophobia

I have no connection to Westport, but I am ashamed and embarrassed about what has allegedly happened here.  At both of the schools at which I chair school councils there is a fairly significant multicultural population. That population is a mix of refugees, immigrants and second generation Canadians. I have never heard of a single incident, not the one - of a child being teased about his or her color, religion, ethnicity or language. We are an understanding, embracing, loving and supportive community. Mixed race people are a common sight on the streets of St. John's. It is so Canadian.

How is this type of behavior possible in this era of school diversity, anti-bulling programs and awareness ? How could  a child  be subjected to endless racial slurs and physical assaults and it not be dealt with until our province is made to look like a racist backwater in the national media?

Something is not adding-up here.  

How could the parents concerns about the taunting, tormenting and alleged assaults not been more satisfactorily dealt with by school authorities at St. Peter's Academy, the Eastern District School Board or even the police.  

Was the issue not taken seriously? Was the hell that this little boy seems to have endured minimized by those in a position to make a difference? Is this another example of what happens to the decision making process when you centralize it in one large board? 

Is there a culture of tolerance for this type of behavior? Are there still pockets of overt racism bustling in elementary hallways, kitchen tables and sheds? I can guarantee you one thing - this taunting, tormenting and bullying in a community of 200 people could not have gone unnoticed by those old enough to know the difference. Where is the personal accountability?

Torrence Collier and his family, have been let down in more ways than one. As a province, we are in shock that some ignorant people amongst us remain closer akin to Neanderthals than decent 21st century human beings. 

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