“Noting” Race

From The Star:

OWEN SOUND, ONT.–Mayor Ruth Lovell addressed a local white-on-black stabbing openly last night at an event to open the 146th annual festival marking the emancipation of black slaves.

“The perpetrators of this crime do not share this community’s sense of non-violent behaviour and tolerance of all people from every walk of life,” she told 250 guests in short but rousing remarks that drew thunderous applause.

“There appear to have been racial overtones and that makes this incident something that needs to be addressed,” she said. “I hope this may be a stimulus to try to assist (such) people.”

Festival chair Dennis Scott proved more circumspect earlier, as guests and dignitaries filed into a heritage barn at the edge of town for talks from, among others, Rev. James Lawson of Los Angeles, a close former associate of the late U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

“Emancipation means freedom,” Scott said.

“It took people from a lot of cultures and a lot of colours” to help American slaves flee to Canada on the so-called Underground Railroad in the 1800s.

Festival committee members will await a police investigation before commenting directly on the shocking events on the main street Tuesday night, when a 42-year-old Toronto man was stabbed twice in the chest and once in the back by several young men and a female, 17.

Police say the attack was not racially motivated but are investigating whether racial slurs were hurled during the fight. The victim was black, the attackers white.

“What happened doesn’t reflect the Owen Sound community,” Scott said, who is 58 and in a bi-racial marriage.

Owen Sound, on southwestern Georgian Bay, marks the northernmost point of the secret route to freedom for American slaves. This year marks the 146th annual Emancipation Celebration Festival, the longest-running such event commemorating the Imperial Parliament (British) Emancipation Act of 1834.

Events leading to the stabbing began Tuesday evening at a downtown Tim Horton’s coffee shop, as recounted by Owen Sound Deputy Police Chief Bill Sornberger.

Somebody accused the Toronto man, who works in Owen Sound, of being a rapist – “a case of mistaken identity,” Sornberger said.

The local hospital reported the victim yesterday as in stable condition.

Charged with assault with a weapon and aggravated assault are Cody Doherty, Blaine McEachern and Shawn Dyer, all 19, all of Owen Sound. The teenage woman, who can’t be named because of her age, is charged with assault.

The mayor visited the victim in the hospital for 10 to 15 minutes Wednesday to say “99 per cent of the people who live in this community are appalled at what happened to him” and that she was sorry.

What, precisely, is the point of mentioning that Scott is “in a bi-racial marriage”?  Is the information that he’s 58-years old provided in order to justify mention of this?  Geez, I just can’t think what significance his age and his marital status have to do with his position.  I note that neither the ages nor the complexion of the spouses of others mentioned in the article is found noteworthy.

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