Forum for Discussion and Debate on the Lawsuit, University of Ottawa

Racism in Canada finds fertile ground online: Joanne St. Lewis case is just one that shows how internet easily spreads racist message

In All on 2014/11/20 at 21:00

By Terry Reith, Briar Stewart, CBC News

“When Joanne St. Lewis wrote a critical evaluation of a student racism project, she could not have known the grief it would cause. And certainly not the years it would take to finally erase the racial slur that accompanied her name in every online search.

It began six years ago, and continues today in spite of an Ontario Superior Court decision in June. The decision found an Ottawa blogger had defamed St. Lewis by attaching a racial epithet meaning to “sell out,” stemming from the black slave experience, to her name.

St. Lewis, a University of Ottawa law professor, has taken steps most would find daunting. Going to court, winning a decision and now fighting an appeal.

“It’s extremely expensive. It’s difficult. It’s imperfect. It’s painful. And it may not always even remotely be an opportunity or a remedy for someone,” she said.

But for St. Lewis, standing up against the slur, written in a blog and repeated by others, it was a sense of duty and dignity.

“If it is my fate to be the first black Canadian so publicly defiled, then it is my hope to be the last. It was essential that no other suffer as I have,” she wrote after a jury found the words used against her were defamatory.”

(…)

Read the full article by CBC News

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