Two recent hateful attacks towards groups in Greater Victoria have sparked condemnation calls and discussions on how to call out attacks of racism.
Last Saturday, David Hill posted a photo on X that showed a “White Lives Matter” poster at the Tillicum Centre parking lot. It also called to “stop white replacement.”
“It’s disheartening,” said Hill.
The poster has ties to a nationalist far-right conspiracy theory with the belief that non-white individuals are replacing white individuals to achieve a political agenda.
The racist poster was eventually taken down from the parking lot light pole, but not before it grew attention online. Hill says he posted it to bring awareness.
“I think when people say things like, ‘Oh, there’s no place for hate in our community,’ I think that’s a platitude,” said Hill. “I think there is hate in our community, and I think it’s important we bring it to people’s attention.”
Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock quickly condemned the poster, adding that the community doesn’t welcome hatred.
“It’s also really important, as leaders, that we’re using our position to amplify a message of welcome, safety, and that hate is not welcomed in our community,” he said.
A few days after the image circulated, Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch also called out attacks against minorities in his community.
“Hearing disturbing reports of online targeting of Jewish-owned businesses in Oak Bay & Greater Victoria. We must stand up to antisemitism and racism in all forms,” said the mayor on X.
Murdoch tells CHEK News he wanted to speak out against the hatred as soon as possible to show support for local minority groups.
“I thought it was worthwhile just to make a comment that it’s not acceptable,” said Murdoch.
“I hear over and over again from people as they’re outraged about that kind of behaviour, but people also feel nervous about saying anything.”
Edwin Hodge, a researcher with the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies, says there’s a fine line between calling out hateful attacks and giving unnecessary attention to hate groups.
“Calling out hate for what it is does run the risk of drawing attention to it, but I think that fear or that worry is mitigated somewhat by the recognition that the majority of folks that you talk to tend to not be very supportive of these views,” said Hodge.
On the other side, Hodge says not calling out acts of hate could send a message to minority groups that their concerns and safety aren’t valid. He adds that the media, public, and politicians have a responsibility to call out attacks for what they are.
“[Giving] a simple sort of description of the event as a racist event isn’t biased, it’s honest,” said Hodge.