Black people and racism in Nova Scotia

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Black people and racism in Nova Scotia



Excellent article.

Racism's long history in quiet East Coast towns

Covers a lot of topics too.

I just came across this and have used up my time I can play on Babble. May be a while before I can fully digest the article and comment.

Where is it in the hard copy of the Globe?

Maysie Maysie's picture

The history of Africville, Nova Scotia, and the generations of Black folks who've lived there is part of Canada's history. Racism is entrenched, as it is elsewhere in Canada of course, but the difference is the large population of Black Canadians, relative to other parts of Canada.

The gains outlined in the article, such as not being called names or being denied housing in certain areas, are huge, despite seeming like very small victories indeed.

And I always hate the faux-naive presentation of the headline such as "Could this really have happened here, and now?". Pulease.




A second Nova Scotia man has been found guilty of inciting racial hatred and criminal harassment after a cross was burned on an interracial couple's lawn near Windsor nine months ago.

Read more:


Yes, there is indeed a long history of racism in Nova Scotia although I have found individual Nova Scotians to be anything but racist.

Because it is so regionalized and localized many Canadians don't know that it existed and still exists in Atlantic Canada. Hence the usual, "I can't believe it's happening here..." response from Canadians.

The problem is also with MSM - look at this column by "award winning" Paula Simons, a columnist at the Edmonton Journal.

So just because a local organization funded by the City of Edmonton spoke out about "white priviledge", she not only gets offended but goes on the offensive. I don't agree with blanket generalizations about any one race, but the original piece on the website she refers to had some valid points, which she has now obviously censored indirectly.

Racism free Edmonton was and is a move forward, or so I thought, but if you corral Simon's opinions and those of the people who obviously brought this matter to her attention, you would think we were in a Soviet style state where censorship of opinons is the norm. Sad.


laine lowe laine lowe's picture

It doesn't take much to scratch the surface and see racism throughout Canada. I think the political climate of recent years has just encouraged whatever dormant racist tendencies there were to rise to the forefront. Some kinds of racism were never even put to temporary rest as in the all to public racism against Aboriginal people. But now it seems like it's OK to attack all minorities.


Indeed the recent trends I've watched in Canadian MSM all seem to point to some sort of Rush Limbaugh style of talk radio and god help us all when the usual "shouters" and talking heads show up on Sun TV. Basically it's a smackdown of anybody different irregardless of whether they are centrist, capitalist or socialist. Not good Canada. Not good. Race to the bottom.



One of two Nova Scotia brothers convicted of a hate crime in a cross-burning incident was due to be sentenced Tuesday, but the case was adjourned until January.

Justin Rehberg, 20, was convicted last month of criminal harassment and inciting racial hatred after burning a cross outside of the home of an interracial couple in February.

It was not immediately clear why the sentencing was delayed.

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One of two brothers convicted of burning a cross on the lawn of an interracial couple in Windsor, N.S., will stay in jail two more months for his involvement in the hate crime.

On a conviction of inciting racial hatred, Nathan Rehburg, 21, was sentenced in a Kentville courtroom Monday to four months plus one day - time he's already served.

Read more:

Maysie Maysie's picture

Because it's all about him.


Nathan Rehberg stood, his hands shaking and voice unsteady, as he said he was sorry for setting a 2.5-metre wooden cross on fire last year outside the home of Shayne Howe and Michelle Lyon.

“I’ll never forgive myself for the rest of my life,” Rehberg said.  


Outside court, Rehberg said he is not a racist.

“There’s no black, there’s no white, there’s no Chinese. We’re all one.”

He said while awaiting trial he’d been beaten in provincial jail by prisoners who claimed he was a racist. He said he was frightened of returning behind bars.



Actually, the two brothers are both in jail now. They received sentences of 6 months and 2 months- the lesser one for remorse shown from the beginning. The older brother with the longer sentence ends up with the same amount of time to be served, because of time served already. [I think his bail was revoked at one point].

So the cases are all over, and there is a series of articles in the Herald.

An interesting aspect of this as that the brothers come from an extended family with a significant scattering of black people. Not unusual in rural Nova Scotia, but not the norm either. And that family background shows in their choice of friends and girlfriends.

So there is a little more than usual behind their typical reaction of "I'm not a racist." To his credit, the younger one did not just apologize, he acknowledged that burning a cross in front of the house of a black man was a racist thing to do. [Duh.]

White people virtually always react to being called on what they have said or done, by saying "I'm not a racist." What they really mean is "I'm not a seretype Ku Klux Clan white supremecist." And the case of the Rebherg brothers, that is abundantly obvious.

What this case powerfully shows is that its not about hating or resenting people of colour. Racism is institutionalized racism.

The Rehberg brothers had a personal grudge against the victims. "We didnt have anything against him and him being a black person. We just wanted to scare him."

We just wanted to scare him. Leaving aside the clear problems with anger issues that are not the concern here:

They wanted to scare the victim. And of all the images available to pick for scaring him, which one did they pick?

That is institutinalized racism- manifested as it does even in people who have a lot of black friends and family members.


Former lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis says she faces racial profiling

The first African-Nova Scotian to serve as lieutenant-governor of the province is calling for an end to racial profiling and says she's mistreated by retail staff in Nova Scotia stores at least once a month because of the colour of her skin. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I figure this thread is a good fit with this good news story. Its great that the police board is forward thinking but note that they have no authority to actually tell the police to stop profiling their citizens. But we call our government system a democracy.

Isaac Saney, a Dalhousie University professor and founder of the group Racism-Free Transit in Halifax, told reporters after the meeting that a ban was a symbolic gesture.

“What we are really underscoring are fundamental issues in which the Black community is being oppressed, has been criminalized, has had their human rights violated in a systematic way by the Halifax Regional Police.”

Now that the board has made that gesture, it’s up to police to follow through.

Halifax Regional Police Supt. Don MacLean, who was at the meeting in place of Acting Chief Robin McNeil, who’s in charge after former chief Jean Michel-Blais’ retirement from the force, wouldn’t say how long it would take management to decide whether to abide by the board’s recommendation.

“I can’t speak to that right now,” MacLean said in an interview.

“While I understand the impetus for quick decision making sometimes, we need to ensure that we fully engage that process going forward … It’s a complex issue that I think is going to require some complexity of thought.”

RCMP Insp. Robert Doyle, the ranking officer in the Halifax district, gave a similar response.

“Ultimately we’ll have to take a look at the recommendations as they come out and specifically stipulated as to what they’re looking for, and then in consultation with our division management, we’ll be making a decision going forward,” Doyle said in an interview.