Deeds Not Words

London police car

London is undergoing a bit of a mourning process after a weekend of making the national press for all the wrong reasons.

From the questionable use of force by a police officer on a teenager (without warning) to two face-burning examples of intolerance (tossed fruit and employment discrimination), it was tough to fly the London flag this weekend. Many took to the Internet to share their outrage. Some were appalled. Others were apologetic. More than that though, people were quick to claim “This isn’t us!” and deflect the blame for these examples of hate on a small minority who may or may not be residents of London. The mayor even flogged the “we’re a diverse community” line to death on the radio and in Sports Illustrated.

London Police Crest
In London, we let our tasers do the talkin’

I’ve always found it weird that the London Police Service’s motto was “Deeds Not Words,” which is printed on the side of their cruisers in various languages. I guess that teenager learned this motto the hard way, eh? Snide remarks aside, I think there is value in exploring what this statement really means. Of course, I’m sure the motto doesn’t mean that the London Police shoot first and ask questions later, but rather, that they aim to serve the community through action and not just paying lip service to things like justice and dignity.

What does London look like if you consider our deeds and not our words?

In our collective rush to wash our hands of these events and assure ourselves London is a great place, we’re overlooking and, in some ways condoning or at LEAST excusing, the brutal reality that London has a serious problem with bigotry and hate. In fact, did you know London has one of the largest active white supremacist communities in Ontario?

Overhead shot of Weiche's property
Seriously guys, it’s just a buddhist peace symbol, I swear. Why would a neo-Nazi put a Nazi swastika on his lawn? (photo by Derek Rutten, QMI Agency)

Example: A Nazi pilot named Martin Weiche moved to London shortly after the war and became a wealthy developer. Although he has since died, he did have kids, whom he indoctrinated with his neo-Nazi ideology and who have since spread that hatred to their own families. Weiche is perhaps best known for holding KKK cross burning ceremonies on his lawn. Also, if you Google Maps his house, you can see the nice Swastika he carved into his back yard.

Another: Tomasz Winnicki, a known white supremacist, ran for mayor of London in the last election. He garnered 234 votes. That’s right–there are over 200 Londoners who wanted a white supremacist as their mayor. Perhaps they were family and friends of the Northern Alliance, London’s very own white supremacist group?

Finally, these delightful Neo Nazis are also active in protesting the London Pride Parade, stating that homosexuals are “enemies” of the “white race.”

The banana throwing is not an isolated incident of racism and the ejection of transgendered workers is not the only example of transphobia. In a world of deeds, not words, London might just be the most intolerant community in Canada.

It’s time Londoners opened their eyes to the real city that surrounds them. Maybe then we wouldn’t be so shocked when things like this occur.

By Jeffrey Preston

Born with a rare neuromuscular myopathy, Jeff has spent his life dedicated to advocating for himself and others with disabilities. With a PhD in Media Studies from Western University, Jeff's research focuses on the representation of disability in popular and digital culture. Jeff is currently an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at King's University College @ Western University in London, ON.

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