Poster for B.C. ‘whites only’ parent-child group sparks outrage

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Poster for B.C. ‘whites only’ parent-child group sparks outrage
A poster in the Tri-Cities area advertising a "whites only" group for parents and children is generating strong reactions and police interest. Travis Prasad reports – Sep 25, 2023

RCMP in Coquitlam, B.C., confirm they are investigating reports of racist signs being posted in the community.

Police said they received reports on Sunday, Sept. 24, that “suspicious signs” had been seen in both Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

“The file is under investigation to determine if there is any criminality involved,” police said in a statement.

Images shared on social media show the signs, which read, “Join us for Whites-only Moms & Tots.”

“Are you looking for somewhere your children can play with others that look like them?” the sign stated.

“Are they tired of being a minority in their schools or daycares? Escape forced ‘diversity’ and join other proud parents of European children as we create an atmosphere in which our kids can feel like they belong.”

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Parker Johnson, a board member for Hogan’s Alley Trust and a member of the African Descent Advisory Committee to the Vancouver Police Department, told Global News that he is concerned about the rising tide of hate that these posters could bring, in particular to racialized and Indigenous people.

“So while they may seem benign to some — you know, people are just ‘organizing’ — there’s false equivalency between white nationalist organizing and say other, you know, say a Muslim community or a Japanese Canadian community or what have you — gathering to have a conversation, that sort of thing,” he said.

Johnson said, in his mind, whether these posters are real or a prank, it doesn’t really matter.

“It’s a warning to communities of colour and it also is a way of trying to foment fear and division amongst communities as well,” he said.

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“Raise the fear and anxiety of white people, but also increase the fear and anxiety of people who are not white. And unfortunately, if we don’t recognize this as a concern versus oh, ‘that’s not who we are’, which is oftentimes the refrain, that is part of who we are.”

The organizer of the group has not been identified, nor has any of the members who have contacted the group.

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Screenshots shared online show some conversation about whether there would be a similar uproar if a group of non-white people put up posters encouraging a similar gathering.

“That’s the issue around false equivalencies,” Johnson said.

“Why people don’t need to say, we’re having a white gathering in order to gather. They just say we’re we’re having a gathering,” he added.

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“And the majority of people who will show up, particularly if the white people are organizing, will be white people… So the other thing is to really recognize the history behind this, behind white nationalism and how that shows up and how people engage in these sort of protectionist responses without really exploring ‘what does this mean and why is it happening now, and why do we need to be concerned in the same way that people would say when anti-trans folks are gathering’?”

The poster, seen at a SkyTrain station in Coquitlam, had been partially ripped. Global News

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart told Global News he finds the whole situation “disgusting.

“I know they have appeared in several communities and they seem to be written by someone who is not actually advancing a cause, but rather trying to inflame,” Stewart said.

“And that kind of attitude has no place in our community, in any other community.”

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He said he has lived in Coquitlam his whole life and has never seen or heard about anything like this before.

“This is just stupidity and disgusting stupidity. Coquitlam is an amazingly diverse place. We have always celebrated that diversity. We have always sought to have inclusive spaces for persons of every race, every colour, every religion, gender, diversity, all of that,” Stewart said.

“And I get that someone wants to make a name for themselves on social media or something. But this is definitely the anomaly.”

Stewart added that the posters need a response but he suspects everyone will be able to hide behind anonymity.

If anyone has information regarding the signs, Coquitlam RCMP is asking them to call 604-945-1550.

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Vancouver police sergeant under investigation for creating inappropriate poster

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