Ass­hole stu­dents

The Coast - - THIS WEEK -

Rebecca Thomas talks about how she wor­ries in the south end that she does not have a safety net which al­lows her to carry on in public, like her white friends who have been drink­ing and who feel “a lit­tle an­i­mos­ity to­wards the wealthy neigh­bour­hood of Hal­i­fax” (“White noise” story in the Back To School Guide, Au­gust 30). I live in the south end, and my hus­band and I who work in the arts are not wealthy. We pur­chased our home 25 years ago at an af­ford­able price. We could not af­ford to buy it now. We are close to the Dal­housie cam­pus, and all year long we are sub­jected to noise, van­dal­ism, rude­ness, bad be­hav­iour (in­clud­ing cars and houses be­ing uri­nated on). I’ve been in­tim­i­dated by all kinds of stu­dents and oth­ers who are drunk and/or high at var­i­ous times of the day and night. I have rarely shaken my head or chuck­led at the ac­tions of in­tox­i­cated and rude stu­dents. Many of them are white and come from wealthy fam­i­lies in On­tario, and seem to have a lot of dis­pos­able cash, ve­hi­cles, cloth­ing and fur­ni­ture. I couldn’t care less what the colour of their skin is. I sim­ply do not un­der­stand why they think it’s OK to be dis­re­spect­ful to any­one liv­ing in their neigh­bour­hood. I’ve had men and women (more white than POC) try to in­tim­i­date me. I know who to call for help from mem­ory.

I’m sorry that you feel judged when walk­ing in the south end, but I would re­ally love it if you could please tell your friends that no one de­serves to be tar­geted for where they live. Let’s aban­don the boor­ish drunken be­hav­iour and learn to live to­gether as neigh­bours, what­ever the neigh­bour­hood.

Peggy Walt, Hal­i­fax

I ap­pre­ci­ate Rebecca Thomas’ per­spec­tive on this, but as a rel­a­tively re­cent south end res­i­dent I can as­sure you that there are POC stu­dents who carry on and usu­ally get not more than a few shak­ing heads at them. There are many, many in­ter­na­tional stu­dents as well as lo­cal POC in the south end, es­pe­cially near the Dal cam­pus. I can also as­sure you that the noise com­plaints and also much more se­ri­ous weapons of­fences that are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Hal­i­fax po­lice are, at least in my part of the south end, en­tirely di­rected at white

stu­dents act­ing rep­re­hen­si­bly. The drug-re­lated mur­der a few years ago? White kids, too. Cam­pus as­saults? White boys.

I keep my chil­dren close when pass­ing by groups of sports-team bros in a way that would never cross my mind when en­coun­ter­ing Black, Asian, Mid­dle Eastern or In­dige­nous stu­dents. And I know it’s not just me: I’ve dis­cussed this with my neigh­bours who are also par­ents of young kids.

As some­one who moved to the area, I am well used to hav­ing pre­con­ceived ideas about who lived here. But it turns out that it is not nearly as ho­mo­ge­neous as your ar­ti­cle pre­sup­poses, and is ac­tu­ally far more di­verse than the hip­ster north end. I ap­pre­ci­ate your con­cerns re­gard­ing pro­fil­ing based on the sad his­tory of racism against First Na­tions peo­ple, but in this in­stance the dy­nam­ics of the neigh­bour­hood you feel sus­pi­cious of are ac­tu­ally some­what dif­fer­ent. It’s the en­ti­tled, self-ab­sorbed white kids I am more wary of, and pretty much ev­ery­one else gets a smile and the ben­e­fit of the doubt when they are be­ing bois­ter­ous, as it pretty much never more se­ri­ous than that.

posted by LJP

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