It's 2019, and horrible, blatant racism is still alive and well—even in Canada.

Anti-racism activists have gone to great lengths to address systemic, institutional racism and unconscious, implicit racial bias in our society. But those subtler forms of racism are not all that's left to tackle. Far too often, racism still presents itself with no veils, no pretense, and no shame.

Take the story of Jonathan Diaby, a 24-year-old Canadian hockey player who left a game early in tears because racists in the crowd kept taunting him and his family. It's a story one might expect to hear from the American south in the 1950s, not from seemingly progressive Canada in 2019. And yet, here we are.


Diaby said he'd faced racism before, but it's never been this bad.

CBC reports the racist abuse from a handful of fans began in the first quarter of the game on February 24. Video shows a spectator taunting Diaby with monkey-like movements and allegedly showing him pictures of primates on his phone.

"I had to put my jersey over my face because I was like, I had teardrops, you know," Diaby told the Canadian news outlet. "They started yelling racist stuff at my parents and my sister and myself. Go negro, baboons, a bunch of stuff.

"My dad was told to go back home," Diaby added. "That he had no business in this country. They were touching his hair, making fun of him. My sister was scared, my girlfriend was scared."

The taunting got so bad that Diaby left the ice and his family left the arena before the end of the game.

Security allowed the racist fans to stay because "nobody threw any punches."

Diaby said that referees did nothing to protect him or his family from the harassment, and security didn't kick any of the taunters out of the arena, reportedly because there was no physical violence.

Diaby's coach Benoit Gratton said, "It's 2019, it's something we shouldn't see anymore. I think it's disgusting."

The league, Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey (LNAH), issued a formal apology. League commissioner Jean-Francois Laplante told the CBC that racist, sexist, and homophobic comments are unacceptable, and that if the abusers are identified, they will be banned from LNAH matches.

"This is not hockey," said Diaby. "Nobody should feel threatened to go watch his son play a hockey game."

Racist abuse is unacceptable anywhere, at any time. Even if no one is being physically assaulted, such behavior is harmful. Free speech is one thing, but hate speech and racist taunting is another.

Watch the report from CBC News here:

Let's Do More Together

A Boston couple moved into a new place the week of lockdown. Here’s how they kept their sanity.

The new litmus test for domestic partnerships? A pandemic.

For medical workers in a pandemic, protecting loved ones can be tricky.

To support this effort and other programs like it, all you have to do is keep doing what you're doing — like shopping for laundry detergent. Turn your everyday actions into acts of good every day at P&G Good Everyday.

True

When Jonathan Irons was 16, he was put on trial for burglary and assault with a weapon. According to CBS Sports, Irons was tried as adult, and an all-white jury found him guilty—despite there being no witnesses, no fingerprints, no footprints, and no DNA proving his guilt.

Irons began his 50-year sentence in a Missouri state prison in 1998. Now, 22 years later, he's a free man, largely thanks to the tireless efforts of a WNBA superstar.

Maya Moore is arguably the most decorated professional women's basketball player in the U.S. A first-round draft pick in 2011, she's played for the Minnesota Lynx, where she became a six-time WNBA All-Star, a five-time All-WNBA First Team player, a four-time WNBA champion, and the WNBA Most Valuable Player in 2014.

But before the 2019 season, in the peak of her career, Moore decided to take the year off for a different kind of court battle—one that had wrongfully convicted a young man and doomed him to spend most of his life behind bars. Her decision rocked her sport, and there was no guarantee that sacrificing an entire season to fight for criminal justice reform would bear any fruit.

Keep Reading Show less