A Woman Hurled Racist Remarks At 2 Men On An STM Bus In Montreal (VIDEO)
"She told [us] to 'go back to our country,'" one man said.
This article contains content that may be upsetting to some of our readers.
In a video circulating on Twitter since January 10, 2023, a white woman can be seen harassing two men of colour, who told MTL Blog they were minding their own business and listening to music when the racist vitriol began.
Omar Bensouda, 21, and his friend Ryan Neza, 22, said they were riding the 69 bus West toward Henri-Bourrassa station on December 23, 2022, when the incident took place.
The two were sitting near the back of the bus when the woman began harassing passengers indiscriminately, Bensouda told MTL Blog over the phone.
"The lady, she started to insult everyone on the bus," Bensouda continued. "There was a lady, I think of Haitian origin, who was on my right in the bus, who was just listening to her music with her headphones. [...] She was insulting the lady, she was insulting a child who was with his little brother."
The harassment only escalated, Bensouda and Neza said, explaining they didn't know what to do besides laugh it off.
"She started to tell me 'Hey, Arab, go back to your country, we don't care about you,'" Bensouda said. "Me, the whole time, I was laughing, because I didn't want to provoke her. There were mothers next to me, like I couldn't start disrespecting her, you know?"
Although the woman continued to hurl racist remarks at Bensouda and Neza, the two decided not to report the incident to the STM or to the SPVM.
"We didn't report it because [...] I didn't see the point," Bensouda said, explaining that racism is so omnipresent that he thought reporting the incident "wasn't going to do anything."
"It wouldn't change our current situation."
The interaction left Bensouda feeling disappointed in the world, and he hopes others who experience similar racist harassment are able to stay calm and safe.
When alerted to the situation, the STM "denounce[d] this type of behaviour."
"All our customers have the right to travel in our network in a safe, pleasant and harmonious atmosphere, without being confronted with such comments," STM spokesperson Philippe Déry told MTL Blog over email.
"Anyone who encounters such a situation can notify the driver on the spot or contact the SPVM to file a complaint. Our teams collaborate with those of the SPVM in the context of investigations to help ensure the safety of our clients. We also invite witnesses of such a situation to intervene if they feel comfortable doing so," Déry advised.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of racism, or if you are interested in supporting organizations that are fighting racism in your community, refer to these resources available in Montreal.