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NRI Sukhjinder Dhillon guilty of discrimination,
asked to pay $2,000 to each passenger

Indo-Can leaders must stop reverse racism

Surry, Aug 16, 2005
Gurpreet Singh
broadcaster on Surrey-based Radio India.
The now News Paper

Now that a human rights tribunal has found an Indo-Canadian taxi driver guilty of using racial slurs against two aboriginal passengers, the community leaders should wake up to stop this "reverse" racism - an issue that needs an immediate attention.

The tribunal found Sukhjinder Dhillon guilty of discrimination. Dhillon's taxi company in Prince George has also been asked to pay $2,000 to each passenger. The incident occurred last year, when Dhillon picked two aboriginals from a bingo hall. He wanted them to pay for the ride up front. When they refused to do so, Dhillon asked them to get out of the taxi and used racial slurs.

To some it may be a small incident. But imagine if the taxi driver was white and the passengers were Indo-Canadians. The Indo-Canadian leaders would have raised a storm.

This isn't an isolated case of racial prejudice of one minority group against another. Some Indo-Canadian boys in Vancouver, following an exchange of racial slurs, lynched Mao Jomar, a boy from the Philippines.

Earlier, a couple of incidents of caste prejudices within the Indo-Canadian community came to light. A prominent Indo-Canadian power lifter, Sammy Toora, was humiliated by a person belonging to the upper caste group. They both worked for a private security company. His colleague had written derogatory remarks about his "lower caste" on a company register. Elsewhere, a Sikh religious school in Surrey had denied admission to a Hindu boy in the higher grade because he had refused to wear a turban like his Sikh classmates.

Apart from these incidents of racial and religious prejudices, the misuse of race card is also a cause of worry. Recently, a Sikh boy in Richmond hoaxed about a hate crime. He alleged that five white males pounced on him, used racial slurs and then chopped off his hair. For days, the police was groping in the dark for answers. Later, the boy retracted the story and admitted he had chopped his own hair. He did not want to sport long hair according to his parents' wishes. He was looking for an excuse to get rid of the hair.

Seven years ago, another Sikh boy had cooked up a similar story.

Earlier, in an unrelated case, a Muslim couple of Indian origin had complained that a bus driver had mistreated them because of their race. They complained that the driver did not let them sit in the bus. The investigation later revealed that this was a false story. The couple attempted to travel with an old ticket - the real reason the driver denied them entry into the bus.

The Indo-Canadian leaders who had fought against racism in the past should now look at these challenges with a fresh perspective. Canada has changed. The federal government has appointed its first black female Governor General. In the 1990s, Ujjal Dosanjh was the first Indo-Canadian premier in Canada. Herb Dhaliwal was appointed the first Indo-Canadian federal minister.

Racism isn't only what the majority caucasian population has been doing in the past. Today, the minorities who enjoy equality and fair treatment are also indulging in the acts of racism. The Indo-Canadian leaders should wake up to the challenge of reverse racism before it's too late.

Gurpreet Singh is a broadcaster on Surrey-based Radio India.


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