After experiencing racial discrimination at a Toronto based restaurant, Emile Wickham and his friends are now receiving the justice they deserve.
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ordered Shing Chinese Restaurant to repay Wickham and three of his friends 10,000 for violating their civil rights, according to The Globe And Mail.
In 2014, Wickham and his peers went to the Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant near downtown Toronto for a birthday celebration. Once seated the server informed them that they would have to prepay for their meals stating that it was the restaurant's policy.
After prepaying for their meal Wickham noticed they were the only black customers at the establishment. Feeling unsettled Wickham asked the other customers if they had pre-paid for their meals. Once he realized that no other customers were asked to follow the policy they asked for a refund and left.
In defense, the restaurant submitted a letter saying that they created the policy because dining and dashing was common among their "transient crowd.”
Judge Esi Codjoe said that the restaurant treated the men as “a potential thief in waiting.” Codjoe said: “His mere presence as a Black man in a restaurant was presumed to be sufficient evidence of his presumed propensity to engage in criminal behavior."
Wickham said he hopes people realize that racism still exists in big metropolitan cities like Toronto.
“I feel a lot of Canadians feel like because they don’t say the N-word or they have that black colleague or they like to eat Jamaican food and know about roti and doubles they think they’re not racist," Wickham said.
Ontario Human Rights Commission reported that 47 percent of Black people experienced racial profiling in a business or retail setting.
Wickham's lawyer, Roger Love, said that racial discrimination can occur at any level.
“Unfortunately, there’s the notion that some races are more valued than others and often the idea is that blacks are the least worthy,” he said. “So whoever else feels like they’re above a black person on that hierarchy can subject black people to anti-black racism.”