An Edmonton woman is speaking out after a racist note was left on her car, possibly over a parking dispute.
On Jan. 21, Lisa La was heading to the Sobeys on 50 Street and 23 Avenue in south Edmonton. She backed her small car into an empty parking space as another vehicle pulled into the empty space behind her.
As she got out of her car, she noticed the man was still sitting in his vehicle. She went into the store to do her shopping. When she came back out about 15 minutes later, she found a note under her windshield. It read, “Back to your f***ing country Asian.”
“I must have pissed him off by parking in that spot because he was intending to drive through and use it,” she said. But who’s to know?”
La has been in Canada since before her first birthday. She said she’s experienced racism before, but was disappointed to have it written out in front of her.
“People say we’re so multicultural, everyone’s so accepting and happy and nice in Canada and for the most part we are, but this happens. I’ve been on the receiving end of racist remarks before. It’s not the first time. I’ve just never had it in my hands.
“It’s different when you can see it.”
She says she did speak to the manager at Sobeys who didn’t tell her whether there was any surveillance video. La was told if she wanted to pursue it further, she’d have to file a police report.
But she’s not sure whether she wants to do that.
“I don’t want a witch-hunt,” she said. “I would like someone to be accountable, but it’s more about awareness of it, that this isn’t okay. I’d rather somebody hear this interview or see the post and realize ‘I’ve messed up,’ rather than somebody having a bad day and having to pay for it for a misstep.”
If she could speak to the person who left the note, La said she would like to say that it’s not okay to react like this, and to be aware that there are kids watching and learning from the action of adults.
La doesn’t have kids of her own, but said she has kids in her family. She said it would be very upsetting if she found out they had been on the receiving end of a racist comment.
“No kids, not just the ones that are in my life, should have to feel this way. It’s hard. I’ve grown up always being the different one and you’re always put in a certain kind of category stereotype.”
As of publishing, La’s Facebook post about the note had received over 120 comments — all of them positive — and over 35 shares. She said some of the commenters are from as far away as Texas, expressing that something like the note is not okay.
“I just would like all of this to be done,” she said of racist note. “And if my part helps in any kind of way, great. And if it doesn’t, at least I tried.”
A statement sent to 630 CHED from Sobeys Inc. didn’t mention whether there were surveillance cameras in the parking lot, but it did condemn the incident.
“Sobeys Inc. is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for our customers and employees,” it reads. “This type of behaviour is not acceptable. We do not tolerate discrimination.”