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