Ajinkya “Jinkx” Chodankar (second from right) and his cricket friends take a break from play at Lewis Park. Photo by Mike Chouinard

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Ajinkya Chodankar, or “Jinkx” as he calls himself, was out a few weeks back and ran into some students, mostly from India, on the evening of Aug. 4 at Lewis Park in the Comox Valley.

Also from India, he was happy to be invited to partake in a game of cricket with the students, who were from the international student program at North Island College.

They were having a good time playing when a silver truck drove by and someone inside yelled at them, ‘Go back to your country, you P***s.’

He yelled back at the driver as the truck drove off. One of the students thanked him for standing up for them, though he replied it wasn’t something for which they should have to thank anybody.

“This isn’t acceptable. This shouldn’t be something you have to ever deal with,” he says. “It was just because we were brown. It’s so silly. And he didn’t even get the country right. We were from India.”

Moving here in late 2012, Chodankar is a permanent resident of Canada and is married to a Canadian. He has a bachelor of science degree and is a Red Seal chef, having trained at NIC. He’s also a recruit in the Courtenay Fire Department, training to be a firefighter.

“I made a conscientious decision to move to Canada,” he says. “Through my research, Canada came up on top.”

He says he knows that whoever shouted the racial slur at him and the international students does not reflect the Comox Valley as a whole, but he contacted the newspaper in order to make it clear how much Canada means to him and how much he wants to be part of the community in the Valley.

“I surrounded myself with amazing, amazing individuals,” he says. “Then you get one rotten apple…. I’m sure they’re just being silly. I would like to believe that. They’re not bad people. It was just a lapse in judgment.”

In the meantime, Chodankar would like to encourage whoever yelled at him to meet him in person, so he can show the compassion he has for anyone, even the person responsible.

While the hope is that this isn’t a common sentiment in the community, many communities, like this one, do have protocols set up to respond to acts of discrimination and racism.

“There’s no question that these things do happen,” says Jim Brennan, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre, which serves the Comox Valley, Campbell River and the North Island. “They tend to be isolated events.”

However, he points out there is an agreement with a long list of signatories to set out how the community should respond.

“If we do nothing about this… we condone the behaviour,” he adds. “When things happen, you report it.”

RELATED STORY: World Without Hate contest victim of its own success

Province-wide, communities have signed on to the Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OAHR) program to deal with these kinds of incidents. Locally, this was developed from 2007 to 2009, says Bruce Curtis, chief administrator of Community Justice Centre, which oversees the program in the Comox Valley. It was updated to take into account online acts, and it was renewed in 2016 with 125 signatories, including local governments, First Nations, businesses, community groups, schools and others.

“We have been contacted by a number of individuals over the years to assist and support them,” he says. “We provide a variety of supports.”

In extreme cases, where a criminal act has taken place, this gets transferred to the RCMP. For lesser acts or civil matters, Curtis says they work with the newcomer to provide advice on how to handle the situation. If the person responsible is known, they try to set up a process similar to restorative justice mediation and sit that person down with the person they have affected. Through the program, they also do public education around these issues and produce an annual report, which makes it all the more important people report these incidents.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Most Read