B.C. woman caught on video delivering racist rant suffers from mental illness, family says
A video of a racist rant has gone viral after being posted to social media.
Burnaby, B.C. resident Anika Vassell says she had just gotten into her car on Broadway and Ontario streets when a woman tapped on her window.
When the 24-year-old rolled down her window, Vassell says the woman asked where she was from. When Vassell answered “Vancouver,” having been born and raised in the city, she says the woman asked again.
Vassell then told her she was of Jamaican and South African descent to which the woman allegedly said: “And you’re that black?”
“At first I was angry, and I was about to drive away and she kept talking, like she wasn’t done,” said Vassell.
That’s when she decided to record the encounter.
“Because when I see you, I see that you are black and I see that you are not white, so you are not like the rest of us,” the woman is seen saying in the video. “God help us, maybe we will hold a majority.”
The video then shows the woman saying that if others “like her” are let free, people will be in “great danger.”
Vassell is heard telling the woman she was minding her own business and lets her know she is leaving and wishes her a nice day.
WATCH: Racist outburst on SkyTrain goes viral
“If this is happening to me just based on the colour of my skin, then it can happen to anybody,” said Vassell.
“I didn’t do anything to this woman but she just saw my appearance and needed to tell me that I don’t belong.”
Family calls for better understanding for mentally ill
The son of the woman who confronted Vassell said his mother suffers from schizophrenia and her mother’s actions in the video were out of character.
Christian Chiribelea said he never thought his mother “could say something like that because I’ve never heard her say something like that before.”
Chiribelea said his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia two-and-a-half years ago and was prescribed medication.
“It’s hard to get people to take their medication especially when they are really paranoid, so she doesn’t take it anymore,” he said.
He said he was caught off-guard by the video, which has racked up more than one million views on Facebook.
“I felt bad for Anika, the driver,” he said. “Someone coming up to you and knocking at your door and saying some pretty racist stuff must have been hard for her.”
Chiribelea said his mother has been the subject of online abuse and is calling for a greater understanding of people who live with mental illness.
“She’s already paranoid as is… It’s really unfortunate.”
— With files from Tanya Beja
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.