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'I didn't know how to respond': Racial slurs yelled at Asian woman in Guelph, police investigating


KITCHENER —
Guelph police are investigating an incident that involved racial slurs being yelled at an Asian woman walking her dog.

Aaliyah Subang said she was walking her dog on Sunday afternoon in the area of Goodwin Drive and Beaver Meadow Drive when a man approached her and launched into a racist rant.

“He said ‘You don’t belong here, Asians are the reason for coronavirus in Canada, get out of here, go back home to your country, nobody wants you,'” Subang said.

Subang and police said the man appeared agitated. He reportedly walked away, but kept turning back to yell and make obscene gestures.

Subang is Filipino and said she was in shock after the incident.

“I really didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I didn’t engage. I didn’t know how to respond to him.”

Subang said another woman saw what was going on and came and stood with her until the man eventually left.

“It was just so indescribable,” she said. “You really feel like ‘Should I be ashamed for being Asian?’ And you kind of question that I should feel guilty or ashamed and it’s not OK. It’s not acceptable.”

The man is described as Middle Eastern, light skin, in his mid-20s, thin build, black hair that’s curly on top, and spoke with a thick French accent. He was wearing a beige coat, grey pants, a gold chain, and Airpods.

Police said the man could face charges.

“Hate itself is not a crime, however there are charges in the criminal code for inciting hatred or wilful promotion of hatred,” said Scott Tracey with Guelph police. “That would be more likely, wilful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group.”

The incident happened the same day people gathering in Toronto to rally against anti-Asian racism as more incidents are reported to police.

Tracey said people should call them if they’re a victim.

“It’s important,” he said. “It leads to conversations like this one we’re having now and it makes people aware of what’s happening in the community.”

“There are people who aren’t able to speak out and defend themselves against issues like this, so I think it’s important that they need somebody to raise awareness and to bring this issue to light,” Subang said.





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