Vicky Mochama is the national columnist for Metro News Canada who writes about race, gender, politics and culture.
According to her bio on Metro Toronto, Before joining Metro, Vicky wrote for Vice, The Globe and Mail and Hazlitt. She is the former co-host of Commons, a political podcast on the Canadaland network as well as writing Not Sorry, a weekly humour newsletter on media and politics.
On March 7, 2017 Vicky Mochama published an article entitled “Hello, police? I need to report a black person. Theatre clash shows white supremacy still law of the land.”
Mochama’s article discusses an incident at Kingsway Theatre involving actress Wendy Olunike Adeliyi and the theatre’s owner Rui Pereira:
- Adeliyi’s version of events – According to Metro Toronto: “She [Adeliyi] says she was denied entry to Kingsway Theatre… Adeliyi… said she was refused a movie ticket unless she surrendered her backpack… Adeliyi says theatre owner Rui Pereira intervened to refuse her entry, and instead called the police… She adds that when he called 911 and described her as “a black woman wearing black and being disruptive.”
- Pereira’s version of events – According to Metro Toronto: “Pereira… says the theatre was simply enforcing its policies… Pereira told Metro that Adeliyi’s claims are false… Pereira said he had to call the police because Adeliyi “came back belligerent, slammed her bag on the counter” and refused to leave the premises.” Pereira told the Star that he described Adeliyi’s appearance only in response to questions asked by the authorities.
In this regard Vicky Mochama wrote the following:
The owner, Rui Pereira, told the Star he mentioned her race to police when prompted by the dispatcher to describe her…
In any event, calling the police and using race to describe a black person is a dangerous exercise in white supremacy.
In a society founded by and for white supremacy, the police are a tool of white supremacy…
When describing skin colour, a caller knows, tacitly or overtly, that in any encounter the police are likely to side with the white person.
To some that will seem like a wild statement. But it is true of our lives and backed by evidence.
White supremacy isn’t just hoods and burning crosses. It also looks like the choices made by people and institutions to keep non-white people afraid in public life…
To describe to the police “a black person” who is questioning the rules is to know that the police are a danger to black people.
While there are efforts to change that, the fact is the police remain an ever-present threat to our lives. In this city [Toronto], you can never quite let your guard down.
In an earlier column Metro Toronto entitled “Oscar-nominated doc highlights ongoing white apathy”, Vicky Mochama voiced a similar position:
This Black History Month, I have been thinking a lot about white people. Because it feels increasingly condescending to congratulate black people for their bravery and rebellion without admonishing the society that made it necessary…
Where white supremacy is the de facto law of the land, race relations describes a two-way mirror. In it, only one side sees the other while one sees only their reflection.
Black people, yes, black people in Canada too, not only know our culture and history, but we know white culture and history — and the pathology that protects and defends white supremacy — with a terrible closeness…
This Black History Month, I have been thinking: When is White Complicity Month?