Justine Abigail Yu, who is Filipino Canadian, had been reading in the park when a White woman reportedly came to tell her that she was on private property.
Identifying herself as a teacher, the woman allegedly threatened to call the police on Yu if she did not leave the area.
To Yu’s shock, the encounter quickly turned into racist vitriol that sent her furious.
“There are signs that say ‘No Trespassing.’ Maybe you don’t speak English? Go back to China,” the woman said, according to Yu.
When Yu called her out for her racist remark, the woman allegedly replied, “F*** off, you b***h,” and “a bunch of other things” that she can no longer recall exactly.
“I sat there not knowing what to do with myself,” Yu said. “Should I leave? What if she does call the police? But I’m not doing anything wrong! And I don’t want her to know that she scared me!”
While Yu failed to film their initial encounter, she recorded her reaction in its aftermath, which also caught the woman still pacing and watching her.
At one point, the woman can be heard saying, “All Chinese people should go to jail.”
“At that point, I just popped off. I couldn’t believe how hateful that comment was! If she is a teacher then can you imagine that a woman like this is teaching children? People like this should NOT be teaching. PEOPLE LIKE THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE POWER,” Yu said, describing the woman as “your everyday ‘Karen.'”
Yu is the founder and editor of Living Hyphen, a magazine that “uncovers what it means to live in between cultures as individuals who call Canada home but with roots elsewhere.”
“The shock and fury I feel in my body right now is so palpable. I have never experienced anything like this in my life and I can’t imagine what it’s like to live with this every single day,” she added.
“I cannot imagine the kind of violence this does to one’s body. No physical weapons were drawn but believe me, this was violence.”
Yu has since contacted the Ontario College of Teachers, the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic School in hopes of identifying the woman.
Shari Schwartz-Maltz, a spokesperson of the Toronto District School Board, said that they are now trying to find out whether the woman is actually a member teacher.
“School property is indeed private property, but the Board allows the public to come onto the property during non-school hours for responsible community enjoyment,” Schwartz-Maltz told CityNews Toronto, adding that Yu was within her right to use the park on a summer weekend.
“I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. I frequented this park and it’s one where children, teenagers, children, seniors — everyone! — often frequent to sit, play, have picnics, and just hang out,” Yu told blogTO.
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