In racism claims, preference given to allegations over conclusive proof



August 20, 2013

In racism claims, it seems the BC Human Rights Tribunal gives preference to allegations of racist behaviour (by visible minorities) over conclusive proof of non-racist behaviour (by corporations or members of the visible majority). Here’s the story

In a rather rich ruling, Tribunal member Norman Trerise found that the Shark Club of Langley discriminated against three people on the basis of the colour of their skin.

: three Indo-Canadians showed up late to a reserved party at the club. The doormen refuse to let them in. While arguing about it, other patrons were allowed in. The three complainers jumped to the conclusion that the only reason they weren’t allowed in is because they are Indo-Canadian. This same sob-story is given at the Tribunal hearing, which Norm swallows hook, line and sinker.

Now, I’ve read the decision, and there are inconsistencies in the testimony of both the doormen and the manager, which work against the club. But there is a piece of evidence that mitigates in favour of the club, a piece that is really, really hard to ignore. Norm, the ol’ rascal, manages to pull it off though! What piece of evidence is that? Well, the fact that there was already an entire party of Indo-Canadians inside the restaurant!

So, how can doormen be found guilty of barring entry to Indo-Canadians on the basis of race, when those same doormen already allowed many members of the same racial group into the restaurant? In fact, the complainers readily admitted that in the whole argument with the doormen, never once was a racial slur uttered (para. 37). Furthermore, some of the people barred from the premises that night had been to this same club numerous other times (para. 149), which begs the question, why would these suffering patrons return repeatedly to a racist club?

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