Halifax resident Tari Ajadi posted a video to his Twitter account on Tuesday showing an encounter with a man after alleged racial abuse.
Ajadi, a student at Dalhousie, says he was having coffee with a colleague in Halifax’s West End when the man came by.
“We were talking about our research and he came around the corner and he addressed us by saying that a white girl like her [his colleague] shouldn’t be around Negroes like me,” Ajadi says.
“I’m in that position and I don’t know what to do because I feel fundamentally unsafe.”
Ajadi says this isn’t the first time this has happened to him, he just happened to be filming this time.
The problem isn’t just that the man in the video said something racist, Ajadi says.
“I think that people understand that a person can be unkind to another person,” he says.
“What people don’t understand is that we have massive social economic inequities in this country that are founded on precisely the same logic.”
Ajadi says he posted the video not only to expose the man, who he says he doesn’t know, but also to educate on what’s going on in Halifax.
“It’s about what the incident represents,” he says.
“It’s about a city that exists to marginalize Black people. It’s about the massive economic and health inequities that currently exist. It’s about the epidemic of police brutality that exists. That’s the problem.”
Ajadi says he believes the man from the video knew he could get away with the racist remark.
“I know that if I retaliate, if I respond, it’s actually my life that’s at risk. I’m not going to call the police — I can’t… If I did call the cops… they might blame it on me, or worse.”
Some Twitter users took to criticizing Ajadi’s response to the incident, but he says filming the man was the safest thing he could do.
“Filming this person was in no way an act of violence; it was simply documenting an act of violence that he visited upon me,” Ajadi says.
Many people, on the other hand, came to Ajadi’s defence on Twitter, including the colleague he was with.
Ajadi, who studies racism and Black social movements at Dalhousie, says he will continue to be dedicated and active in discussing racism in the city.
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