A Black man posted a selfie that went viral with red and blue lights from the police patrol pulling him over in Janeville, Canada, as the former high school English teacher read in his car at a local wharf—apparently an activity that made him look suspicious to locals and Canadian police alike.
“Before any more Canadians get too comfortable on their high horses, let me share with you what happened to me about an hour ago,” Luizandre Dauphin of Bathurst said on Instagram with the hashtag #DangerousNegro. “This week has not been easy for me. Amidst a number of personal and professional struggles, my mind has been occupied with the latest string of Black males killed by the police over the last few days.
"So, instead of stewing in my apartment, I decided to take a drive to the Stonehaven Wharf and sit by the water on this cold, rainy July day and try to pacify my mind by reading the works of Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis,” said the former teacher, who is now employed as the city’s director of parks, recreation and tourism
The police officer justified his actions by saying he received calls from various residents who described a “suspicious person” on the wharf. The police pulled him over, asked him for his license, verified the information and sent him on his way home to Bathurst, New Brunswick.
“So, a Black male, sitting in his car, reading a book is suspicious activity. Good to know,” Dauphin concluded. “At this rate, I may never leave my home again.”
“The narratives and stereotypes put out there by the media and elsewhere create an irrational fear of young black males,” Dauphin continued. He hopes people understand that these issues aren’t just U.S. ones, but that they are what Black people face in many countries. “We can’t be so quick to point fingers or feel we’re more exceptional than our American counterparts,” he said.
The experience “is just a reminder that no matter where we go in this country, there can be profiling or suspicion. We can’t be so quick to think of ourselves as any better than any other place in the world,” he concluded.