Sunday, May 30, 2010

When is it Okay to Call Someone "Nigger"?

Who was the instigator?

There are two sides that Judge Peter Dorothy has to take into consideration. Adam Huber’s account where she said David White yelled out “There’s a nigger” and that Jay over heard it and threw a water bottle; and Jay’s side, where he said that they were going to lynch him and his family. Lynching in the context where it was done in the Deep South and had black people put on impromptu trails in front of a mob and killed by hanging from a tree with a noose.

Did Jay overreact to being called a Nigger?

In a police interview, Adam Huber’s account started with David White yelling “There's a nigger” to the passengers in the truck from the bed. Now put yourself in Jay Philips’ shoes for a minute; the action police will want you to take is not to escalate the situation and to call the police and report it. As with anything when rage and adrenalin gets involve, judgement on what the right thing to do is hampered, and you only have a split second to decide your action.
Now, can you blame Jay for throwing a water bottle at the truck and calling them back to fight? If I was in his shoes, it would be hard for me to let something like that go without reacting to their words.

Or Should we Blame David White for the Racially Motivated Verbal Attack?

Can you blame David White for yelling out “Hey there’s a nigger” within ear shot of Jay wrong? I will go out and say yes, it is wrong. In countries like Germany, Austria, and some European countries, just drawing a swastika can land you in jail. Here in the Comox Valley, acts such as when David White hung himself from a tree with a noose and burning a cross were met with amusement and enjoyment among his peers. I also want to add, those acts are illegal in some American States, so those pictures of David White will have him in trouble if they were taken on US soil, something law makers here should think about.

This attitude is definitely sickening to me. In Canada, we like to think of ourselves as people with progressive ideals, but really, its countries like the United States, Germany, and Austria that are doing more to curb racial motivated violence by making sure people don’t celebrate racist culture. As I said in past blog posts, encouraging people to fly confederate flags, say racist jokes, and burning crosses will only reinforce racism into the people of the Comox Valley. And the result will be more verbal and physical attacks on people who are trying live life here in the beautiful Comox Valley.

Pussy vs Nigger?

David White claimed Jay called them "pussies" in reaction to his racist slurs. In the police interview, David White said, "he called us pussies — he wanted to take us all ... we called him some racial slurs."

When is it okay to call someone Nigger?

The trio had said in the interview with CHEK6 that they only used the word "Nigger" because Jay Phillips made them mad. Dean Slotz, in the interview asked “why the language,” the accused stated they weren’t racists but pissed off. They then defended their use of the N-word by saying it was used to make “him mad because he made [them] mad.” Huber also acknowledged that “it shouldn’t have been said.”

Their Account of the Events Leading to the fight

In the Dean Slotz interview, Adam said:
“we were driving the truck through the McDonalds drive-thru when we turned the corner, I guess Jay is his name is – is with a buddy of his on the corner, drove by, something may have been said, and I see a cheese burger flying through the air. That’s when we turned around -- we turned the truck around, and when we did, I preceded out of the truck to ask him ‘why, what are you throwing at my truck.’ He proceeded to throw his hands in the air and call us all names, slander, say he wanted to fight all 3 of us, he’ll take us all on. I don’t want to say the words that he used but that’s pretty much the gist of it.”

When the Stolz wanted to make clear which side the initial insult came from, one male answered:
“we’re not really sure, we seen the cheeseburger flying through the air. We turned around [the truck] and asked him what the deal was. He wouldn’t even answer us why he threw the cheese burger. He just kind of threw his hands in the air calling us all out… you know.”

Then the other male said, laughing afterwards:
“I just actually seen a cheese burger lying in the back of the truck.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More from the Man Behind the Lense

Comox Valley Record:
May 27th -Racism cited in assault

Victoria Times Colonist:
May 27th -Slur drew YouTube poster to fracas

National Post:
May 27th -Video of racial attack key evidence

New Perspective from a Reader

I would like to share a comment an anonymous reader, which I found thoughtful and gives a new perspective to the case:
Anonymous said...I find it very interesting that for someone who is not attending these court dates, you have so much input on the entire subject. A lot IS being said about what is going on, but if you were actually there in person you would be able to see how much each person that has testified has a different story. Of course memory comes into play, and points are bound to vary, but you would also recognize that Jay Phillips is changing his story immensely and things are definitely not adding up. there is much to say about how the media has exposed the entire subject, plus the information that was given to the RCMP true AND false. I hope that this case brings light to how things can be quickly misconstrued and how rapidly people react to the worst in people. Yes, what the three accused of was shocking and horrifying, but it also could have been dealt with in a much more accurate and responsible manner, perhaps by sending the evidence of the fight that was recorded to the police instead of labeling it "3 white supremacists attack black male," or "hate crime," and then posting it carelessly onto youtube portraying these individuals as monsters when really you know absolutely nothing about these young men, who actually are loving human beings and deserve to be treated fairly just like anyone else. Many lives have been affected even ruined; accused and guilty by association and I just wish that people could understand that there are always two sides to a story and if people are so concerned, disgusted and upset about what they were exposed to, then maybe they should have found the time to look deeper into this and show their concern by showing their faces in the court room. I found it very interesting that in the heat of the moment and for most of the month of at least July, people were coming together to protest and show their support for Jay Phillips. Although yesterday and today looking around in the courtroom, only half of the seats were filled half of which are family members of the accused,the other half being mostly media. I'd also like to point out the fact that the media has crossed a lot of personal boundaries, not just of the 3 accused but also those of which that seem to be guilty by association. Peoples lives are personal and its unfortunate that certain news reporters have trespassed and exposed those that are not at all liable for what happened in that video. Its clear that you have put a lot of time and energy into this blog, and its much appreciated that you are staying up-to-date for those that are watching the case, but its also unfortunate that you have only taken the time to look into the lives of the trios criminal past and was not present to hear Jays past record that was brought up in court. Hope to see more faces tomorrow in court.

I would like to politely disagree with the Anonymous' comment point about how we only looked into the lives of the trio and not Jay’s.

1) Burning crosses, playing with a noose on a tree, and socializing in a room full of racist imagery has ingrained racist ideals and attitudes into young adults, and in this case it was David White. The result: David shouting out racist remarks to a visible minority to incite anger and for a reaction. Or did he do it because he thought it was funny?

2) What does Jay’s past have to do with why David White called him “Nigger”? Just because of Jay’s criminal past, David has the right to call him that word with such hate?

I will agree with how unfairly they were labeled white supremacist. In the age of Facebook, email, and MSN, it’s really easy for rumours to spread. However, I have been to parties on the island before where guys with shaved heads say stuff like “what’s up with this nigger noise” when referring to rap music, and have handed out Neo-Nazi literature to me. And the room that David, Adam and Damien were hanging out in reminded me so much of that party in Campbell River – confederate flags, swastikas and other racist images on the walls. Are you sure they are not racist? And if so, are you also sure it did not play a role in how the fight was instigated

You can respond to post in the comments section

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 2 of the Trial

There has been good coverage of the trail by local media outlets.

So far the people who testified were: Jay Philips, RCMP Const. Dean Biollo, Dean Soltz who interview the trio after the incident, Chris Kemila who shot the infamous video, and Adam's former common-law partner, Sonja Dickinson.

A lot of people are talking about how the relevance of Jay's past as a heroin addict 10 years ago played role in the altercation. Without being at the trial its hard to say, but a lot of people are saying the defense are just grasping at any strings they can get in a "smear campaign". Although I won't go as far as to say they're out to smear Jay Philips, but I think they might just be trying to vilify him.

There has been a lot of back lash towards the trio's defense counsel (aka lawyers). Its hard, but their job is to defend these guys and to make sure they get a fair trial. This includes exploring every avenue of defense. It may look bad on there part depending on your views, but these guys are just doing their job.

Comox Valley Record:
May 25th - Testimony underway
May 26th - Assault was racially motivated, Phillips testifies

CBC News:
May 26th - YouTube assault trial continues in B.C.

Vancouver Sun:
May 26th - Vancouver Island YouTube assault began with slurs: victim

CTV News:
May 26th - Courtenay YouTube assault trial begins

May 26th - YouTube Assault Trial Continues