A racist incident in downtown Edmonton has spread on social media after being caught on camera.
Jesse Lipscombe posted video of the altercation on his Facebook page Wednesday and asked for others to share it.
In a Facebook post, Lipscombe wrote that he was being filmed in a PSA about the great attributes of downtown when a car pulled up at an intersection in front of him.
In the video, a person can be heard saying “The n*****s are coming! The n*****s are coming!”
“Somewhat shocking, for sure,” Lipscombe told Global News Thursday. “Unfortunately this happens to people of colour, to women, on a far-too-frequent basis. And the idea that someone can just make someone else feel uncomfortable and just go about their day bothers me deeply.”
Lipscombe approached the vehicle and opened the front passenger door.
Words were exchanged between Lipscombe and those inside the car before a passenger shuts the door and the vehicle pulls away.
As the vehicle leaves, a voice can be heard yelling “n****r!”
“I went over there and he denied saying what he said for a split second then brought the profanities back,” Lipscombe said.
In his post, Lipscombe wrote, “What is better than a random knockout? A public shaming. Let’s keep our downtown growing in the right direction.”
By Thursday afternoon, the video was shared 1,142 times and had received 316 comments.
Lipscombe said while it was shocking and disappointing, he hopes the incident will spur a larger conversation about racism in hopes of turning the negative altercation into something positive.
“We see so much evidence of growth and people understanding and living with each other and then every once in a while you get one of these to remind you of the work that needs to be done,” he said.
“The bad or the squeaky wheel or the rotten apple seems to get all the attention. Edmonton, from what I know, is 99.9 per cent amazing. It’s a great city. This happened and it really became an opportunity to show how great our city is again. In was within hours that we had thousands of shares and 30,000 views and comments of support.
“This was gross. Edmonton’s not. Edmonton’s great, the people are great.”
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Mayor Don Iveson watched the video and said he condemns “the use of racist language by the occupants of the car.”
“No one in our city should ever be exposed to hateful comments like this,” Iveson said in a statement Thursday. “I happen to know Jesse personally, and he’s a talented entrepreneur, a giving member of the community, and a proud Edmontonian. I have spoken to him this afternoon and I was able to express how atrocious I felt those comments were.
“Sadly, these incidents and others like them demonstrate the continuing need for Edmontonians and Canadians to come together through initiatives like Racism Free Edmonton and other community-based initiatives to challenge these unacceptable attitudes and behaviours.”
This is the second time in less than a month an incident of racism in downtown Edmonton has been brought into the limelight.
On Aug. 5, an Edmonton man was cycling home from work in the area of 104 Street and 104 Avenue when he became involved in a heated encounter.
“People in a truck honk at me, guy gets out says, ‘get off the f-ing road you N-word,'” Bashir Mohamed told Global News in August.
Two weeks after the incident, Mohamed met with Iveson to discuss what can be done in the city to tackle racism and the tension between motorists and cyclists in Edmonton.
Lipscombe said he is not looking for an apology from the man. He hopes the man sees the video and sees himself in a different light.
“His purpose is done as far as I’m concerned. He’s made us aware of what does exist – the underbelly. You pick up the carpet and there’s still some things there. But he’s helping us clean house as far as I’m concerned,” Lipscombe said.
“What do I need from him? Nothing. Thank you for what you did. Thank you for letting this conversation happen. Thank you for bringing it to light that it takes everybody. It’s not a black issue. It’s not a Muslim issue. It’s not a female issue. It is a community issue.”