Friday, January 30, 2009

OBAMANIA Gets Ontario Worker Sent Home

Albert Salmon, an LCBO worker employed at the company's Whitby warehouse, was sent home recently for wearing a vest with a newspaper headline taped to to it which read in big bold type "Obamania". Apparently a co-worker found the shirt offensive and filed a complaint, when Mr. Salmon refused to take it off he was sent home.

An LCBO spokesperson said it wasn't clear whether the complaint was racially or politically motivated. I have a guess. I worked for a time at that very same warehouse as a contract employee, and there's little doubt in my mind...its a question of race. I encountered many workers there who could watch a season's worth of Archie Bunker's 'All In the Family' and not laugh. We might like to think we live in a colour blind country, that instances of racism are rare, but we would be wrong to make that assumption.

I have a suggestion to all the employees of that warehouse, well to those that are not racist anyway...and they are more numerous, just not as vocal. If I was still working there I'd be telling everyone to come in wearing clothing with the word Obama on it. The warehouse in question is situated smack dab on the Oshawa/Whitby border, on the west side of Boundary Rd which divides Oshawa and Whitby (hence the name). And Oshawa has something of a red neck reputation, recently two lesbians were assaulted in that city...for being lesbians.
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This brings to mind a golf game I had with an American friend. Dave had moved up to Canada from Indianapolis and our sons were attending the same school. His wife worked for GM (Dave is a lawyer) and Dave and his family had settled into an absolutely gorgeous home in a beautiful Pickering neighbourhood. While waiting to tee off on the 3rd hole I mentioned how much I liked his house, to which Dave replied:

"I wasn't sure we could live there when the agent showed it to us".

I was confused by this so Dave explained:

"In Indy I can move into any house I want, but in some neighbourhoods...I could expect to see a pick-up truck with 4 angry white boys in the flat bed. But y'all don't have that in Canada do you"?

"No", I said...."except maybe in South Oshawa".

Later Dave was telling me about a very exclusive Toronto area golf course he'd played at, one where he was charged $10 just to use the putting green. When he told me he'd never heard of that before I responded..."Dave, that was because you're black". He just about fell off the bench laughing his ass off. Thankfully he knew me well enough by this time to know that I'm an irreverent smart ass.

Back to South Oshawa...I know that the racist redneck element is present, and loud. But I do not think it is anywhere close to being the majority. Residents of Oshawa upset with the way their city is being depicted should do something about it.

Here's a link to the Toronto Sun Story.

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