Vancouver Zeitgeist
Reflections on Vancouver, British Columbia and other topics, related or not


Hate to say it, but…

Drive-through journalism disregards
hate crimes on the Drive

April 21, 2018

Tobys pub and grill Commercial Drive east Vancouver

Toby’s Commercial Drive deck on a placidly punk-free evening.


Flakes, phonies, fashion victims and other fuck-ups including but not limited to mouthy and/or aggressive panhandlers and of course (this being Vancouver) lots of thoroughly whacked-out junkies—they all characterize Commercial Drive. So it might seem unfair to single out native punks for attention. But in this case, it’s the attention they didn’t get that’s interesting. Recent media coverage of a teenage “gang” harassing and assaulting Drive denizens didn’t mention ethnicity. Or racism.

Chances are good that these punks are native punks and at least some of them are outspokenly racist native punks whose harassment and violence are racially motivated.

In other words, they’re committing hate crimes.

Racist shit and abuse from native teens and 20-somethings has been a common neighbourhood feature for many years. Racist violence has been fairly common too. Anecdotal accounts circulate of swarming attacks, including groups of native girls ganging up on young Asian women. Of course this is the type of thing that the district’s urban guerrillas and social justice warriors have to ignore. It contradicts their ideology and interferes with their frequent professions of sanctimonious convictions.

Media have to ignore it too, if only out of conventionality. And few people are as conventional as journalists.

Mind you, most of the reporters who covered this might not have known about the ethnic aspect, let alone the racism. For all their fleeting superficiality, you might call their coverage drive-through journalism about the Drive. Much of the info seems to have come from social media comments by Toby’s manager. Had he expressed any candour he’d likely piss off his mostly white and PC clientele, who might be every bit as tolerant of obnoxious non-white racists as they are of agonizingly slow beer-slingers. He’d also piss off media and maybe even liquor board regulators.

Tobys Facebook post about harassment and violence


But another strong hint that the punks were non-white punks came from the Vancouver Province, which attributed the harassment and violence to “bored youth” with imperfect living conditions. These kinds of sob stories don’t apply to white punks, unless the white punks are homo, junkie or disabled white punks. So far observation, anecdotal evidence and media accounts haven’t revealed gangs of such nature.

But speaking of white punks, that’s a pretty good description of the really belligerent crowds that sometimes congregate in front of the Rio, blocking the sidewalk, expressing gratuitous hostility to pedestrians trying to thread through them and forcing families with children to walk a narrow and dangerous roadway path right beside heavy traffic. Cops won’t so much as enforce Vancouver’s normally sacrosanct non-smoking rules here (which even the staff routinely violate), possibly because nightclub owner Corinne Lea is such a darling of Vancouver’s media and political establishment.

Should native punks transfer their harassment from Toby’s customers to those of the Rio, they might do the neighbourhood some good.

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