It would be a lot easier to think that Canada is a lot better than its neighbours to the south when it comes to race. Unfortunately, the truth is that we have our fair share of issues right here at home.
Case in point: the social media campaign that has been launched against a Toronto west-end bar after the owner was accused of racist behaviour.
The hashtag #ShutEmDown began after a young woman posted the following video on Instagram saying that she and her friends were refused service at Monica’s Bar and Grill because they are black.
Nadine Stillman told CityNews that she and her friends got a drink at the bar earlier that night but were told by the owner that they couldn’t stay because the venue was closing. However, when they walked past the bar about two hours later, they noticed the sign still said open and there were customers inside.
“The other patrons that were in the bar were allowed to stay. Three white males that were sitting at the bar, they were allowed to stay, but we were asked to leave, and it was clearly based on the colour of our skin,” Stillman told CityNews.
“It was easily the most blatant racist experience that I’ve ever had in my life.”
The bar’s owner maintains that the girls were not allowed back in because they were intoxicated and rowdy and that they closed the establishment to avoid a confrontation – a stance that Stillman firmly denies.
Additionally, while the bar has been receiving a lot of negative attention for its practices just in the past few days, it seems it has a history of problematic behaviour.
There are numerous negative reviews on Google and Yelp describing discriminatory experiences at the bar, dating back months and years.
Stillman has filed a human rights complaint against the bar and has also contacted her local city councillor. The Human Rights Tribunal says there are no previous complaints against the venue in its system.
If Stillman’s complaints are validated, let’s hope that Monica’s Bar is rightfully shut down. However, this is no isolated incident. If you want to lose what little faith you had in humanity, check out the hashtag #diningwhileblack and you’ll see that stuff like this happens all the time.