Queen’s student called racial slur downtown

Racism should be discussed “more often,” student says of McDonald’s incident

Journal file photo

Two weeks ago, an incident of hate speech occurring on Princess Street and towards a Queen’s student was reported to Kingston Police.

On Saturday Nov. 12, first-year Kinesiology student, Ampai Thammachack, was called the N-word by a stranger while sitting in the McDonald’s downtown.

As Thammachack sat down to grab a bite while studying, she could see a woman sitting two tables away from her staring in her direction. 

“It never really registered as to why she would be paying attention to me, because I’ve never experienced anything like this in my entire life,” Thammachack said. 

“I sat down and she goes ‘stupid N-word’ and I didn’t really register what she’d said because it was such a shocking thing and I never thought I’d hear it.”

Thammachack said that the woman kept staring and then told her to “go seek services elsewhere.” The woman also told her “to get off the chip,” and immediately after, left the McDonald’s. 

Thammachack said that she remained where she was, reported the incident to the manager at the time, and called 911 to create an official report. 

“I’ve always been one of the very few people of colour in any community I’ve been in, and it’s never felt odd and I’ve never felt for one second that I would experience racism especially in 2016,” Thammachack said. 

Thammachack also recalled that after the woman had left people around her responded by saying “she must just be crazy.” But to Thammachack this wasn’t an excuse. 

“You should be sensitive to other people. Especially when you are out in a public setting you have to intervene and you have to be active. You can’t just let it happen and let the perpetrator get away,” Thammachack said. 

“This issue is something that has to be talked about. Racism isn’t something that was just dealt with in the sixties, it’s still very prevalent today.”

Thammachack urged people to continue their discussions on racism, as an issue that still affects so many people — even within the Queen’s community. 

“Racialized minorities and anyone who is a minority regardless of what group you are, you just always have to make sure you are getting the support you need and that you are proud of the things that make you different.”

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