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EDITORIAL: Reality check from our Canadian glass house

Louizandre Dauphin, Bathurst, N.B.'s director of parks and recreation was stopped and questioned by RCMP after callers complained about a suspicious black man parked on the city's wharf.
Louizandre Dauphin, Bathurst, N.B.'s director of parks and recreation was stopped and questioned by RCMP after callers complained about a suspicious black man parked on the city's wharf.

Sometimes, we have to stop and look in the mirror, and ask whether we just might not be part of the problem.

South of the border, the Black Lives Matter movement is a reaction to the astounding number of young black men shot and killed by American police.

On this side of the border, away from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s racially divisive campaign and the very real and almost daily shootings, perhaps we sit back and righteously tsk-tsk about what’s beginning to look like a country about to tear itself apart along racial lines.

We shouldn’t forget that there are very real racial issues in this country. Not that long ago, questions were being asked about “carding” by Toronto police officers, a situation where predominately young black men were stopped by police and had their identification details collected and recorded.

Between 2008 and 2013, 1.2 million people were carded in Toronto. Desmond Cole, a black Torontonian, wrote in Toronto Life that he’s been stopped and/or carded at least 50 times for things as simple as being in a neighbourhood where police officers apparently didn’t expect to see a young black man.

And then, there’s 33-year-old Louizandre Dauphin.

Bathurst, N.B.'s director of parks and recreation was stopped and questioned by police after a number of calls were made about him — wait for it — sitting in a car on a wharf, reading a book.

Apparently, there’s something suspicious about that there book-reading. Why, there’s something just plain radical about it.

Or maybe it’s sitting in a car on a wharf. Honestly — something that’s a time-honoured tradition for a good part of society pretty much right across the Atlantic provinces since the days when wharves first appeared has, with the downturn in some fisheries, suddenly become suspect.

Could it be that Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the dock of the bay, watchin’ the tide roll away,” has become a coded message for impending criminal misconduct? For radicalization? Because that Redding fellow did say “’Cuz I’ve had nothing to live for, and look like nothing gonna come my way.” Doesn’t that clearly sound like disenfranchisement to you? You can’t be too careful in these dangerous times.

Or maybe it’s something far simpler.

Maybe, just maybe, Dauphin was acting suspiciously by the mere fact that he happened to be different. Maybe because — didn’t we mention it? — he was black.

Dauphin says he’s received messages of support from right across the country and hopes some good can come out of the event.

That would be the best outcome of all: that all of us could take a minute or two to see what we all share, instead of what sets us apart.

And when we shake our heads so primly at our neighbours to the south, we should think about whether our own pretty glass house is at risk of stones.

RELATED: Read Dauphin's Instagram post .

South of the border, the Black Lives Matter movement is a reaction to the astounding number of young black men shot and killed by American police.

On this side of the border, away from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s racially divisive campaign and the very real and almost daily shootings, perhaps we sit back and righteously tsk-tsk about what’s beginning to look like a country about to tear itself apart along racial lines.

We shouldn’t forget that there are very real racial issues in this country. Not that long ago, questions were being asked about “carding” by Toronto police officers, a situation where predominately young black men were stopped by police and had their identification details collected and recorded.

Between 2008 and 2013, 1.2 million people were carded in Toronto. Desmond Cole, a black Torontonian, wrote in Toronto Life that he’s been stopped and/or carded at least 50 times for things as simple as being in a neighbourhood where police officers apparently didn’t expect to see a young black man.

And then, there’s 33-year-old Louizandre Dauphin.

Bathurst, N.B.'s director of parks and recreation was stopped and questioned by police after a number of calls were made about him — wait for it — sitting in a car on a wharf, reading a book.

Apparently, there’s something suspicious about that there book-reading. Why, there’s something just plain radical about it.

Or maybe it’s sitting in a car on a wharf. Honestly — something that’s a time-honoured tradition for a good part of society pretty much right across the Atlantic provinces since the days when wharves first appeared has, with the downturn in some fisheries, suddenly become suspect.

Could it be that Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the dock of the bay, watchin’ the tide roll away,” has become a coded message for impending criminal misconduct? For radicalization? Because that Redding fellow did say “’Cuz I’ve had nothing to live for, and look like nothing gonna come my way.” Doesn’t that clearly sound like disenfranchisement to you? You can’t be too careful in these dangerous times.

Or maybe it’s something far simpler.

Maybe, just maybe, Dauphin was acting suspiciously by the mere fact that he happened to be different. Maybe because — didn’t we mention it? — he was black.

Dauphin says he’s received messages of support from right across the country and hopes some good can come out of the event.

That would be the best outcome of all: that all of us could take a minute or two to see what we all share, instead of what sets us apart.

And when we shake our heads so primly at our neighbours to the south, we should think about whether our own pretty glass house is at risk of stones.

RELATED: Read Dauphin's Instagram post .

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