The lawyer who shot and posted video online of a racist altercation in an Abbotsford parking lot spoke out Monday about the highly-intense interaction, saying he’s never experienced such aggressive racism before.
Ravi Duhra, however, says this is not the first time he’s been a victim of racism in his life.
“This isn’t my first bout of racism, and it probably won’t be the last either,” Duhra said. “I think the difference this time was the aggression. I’ve never had anybody be that aggressive towards me, who I’ve never seen before in my life and I’ve never spoken to.”
READ MORE: Racist altercation over parking spot recorded in Abbotsford
In the video, which went viral over the weekend and is still generating reaction on social media, a man approaches Duhra and throws a litany of racist slurs at him, calling him a “P*ki” and a “camel-riding motherf*****.” He goes back to his truck and yells, “White power motherf*****” while beating on his chest, before re-approaching Duhra with his phone out to film the incident himself, hurling more insults while assuring he’s “not threatening” anybody.
Throughout the video, Duhra says nothing, only responding to the man once by assuring him he was born in Canada when asked.
“There was nothing good that could have come if I had tried to say something,” said Duhra, who says being a father to two young boys was part of the reason why he kept his cool. “Maybe if I was still in high school it would be a little bit different.”
Abbotsford police are now investigating the incident, which reportedly began when the man in question was being ticketed for parking in a reserved parking spot. Duhra heard and then saw the man getting aggressive towards the bylaw officer issuing the violation when he started filming.
“It’s disturbing, it’s vile, it’s unacceptable,” said Cst. Ian MacDonald of the Abbotsford Police Department, who confirms the man in question is known to police.
“We actually have connected through with the B.C. Hate Crime Unit, so we’re getting some guidance from them.”
MacDonald says Abbotsford police have yet to interview the man in question, and will not yet release his identity.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he “couldn’t believe” such racism still exists in today’s society.
“I was appalled,” said Braun. “The language, his demeanour…it’s deplorable, and has no place not just in Abbotsford, but anywhere across Canada.
“My hope is that, once the police collect all the evidence, that they will pass that on to Crown Council, and that the full force of the law will come down on this individual.”
Duhra says he posted the video because he wanted viewers to see how some people still behave in today’s world, and that racism is far from being vanquished.
“People need to know that there are people like this out there,” said Duhra, “If you don’t get exposed to it, if you don’t see it, you tend to think it doesn’t happen. So I wanted to expose this guy for what he is.”
Duhra says this kind of aggressive racism, while still able to provoke anger and “a bit of sadness” in him as he filmed, is hardly the worst that he or any other minority experiences in their lives, and hopes this incident brings attention to that.
“The natural reaction when you see the video is that clearly this guy has some mental issues, he’s troubled, and that’s easy to dismiss,” he said. “The smaller, tacit racism that you don’t see all the time, that seems to actually be more of a cause of concern, and absolutely that’s changed how I act in the world and the decisions I make.”
All over social media, viewers of the video are sharing their disgust, including some members of government who represent the Abbotsford community:
Even comedians Patton Oswalt and Seth Rogen shared their reactions, with Oswalt being tongue-in-cheek:
Meanwhile, Rogen, a Vancouver native, tried to shed some positive light back onto Abbotsford in response to fellow comedian Tim Heidecker: