Jason Thompson and his 4-year-old son Xavier were stopped by police when a woman called in saying she thought Thompson was kidnapping the young boy because they are a different skin color. Thompson says he is frustrated by the event and does not like the fact that he was "profiled like that," though he knows that the police were just doing their job.
The father and son were returning home on a Toronto city bus on Tuesday, but their bus ride ended just a few blocks after they got on. The bus stopped and when Thompson asked the driver if he and his son could get off and walk, the driver said no one was allowed to exit.
Moments later, two police officers arrived, one guarding the rear doors and the other approaching Thompson and his son. Thompson told BuzzFeed Canada, "He walks right up to me and says, 'Is this your son?'"
Thompson was surprised and humiliated: “Everyone on the bus is staring at us, thinking ‘Oh, this guy who was so anxious to get off the bus, now the cops are talking to him.'”
Thompson said yes, and then the officer asked to speak with him outside. When they got off the bus, the officer told him that they "got a call that something was 'off' and 'the father doesn't look like the son.' " It was at that moment that Thompson realized what was going on. He explained to the officers that he is part Jamaican, and his wife is Indian, but they both have albinism. Their son was not born with the recessive trait and has darker skin than that of his parents.
The officers were both apologetic and opted to drive Thompson and Xavier home, even turning on their siren for the young boy's enjoyment. They also talked with Thompson about how absurd the complaint had been, and how they were surprised that in 2016 people in Toronto, a diverse and liberal metropolis, would hold biases like that. “I said to the officers, we live in Toronto, and they just looked at me, like, yeah, we know. I would never a question a kid with a different race parent."
A couple days later, Thompson tried to explain the event to his son: "I just said to him last night when I was pouring him a bowl of popcorn, 'Well, somebody called and thought I wasn't your daddy.' He looked at me and said, 'But you are my daddy.' And I said, 'Exactly.' "
Thompson has posted to social media about the experience and other parents of different race children have joined in on the conversation, saying they have been victims of similar scenarios. Seems in 2016, many people still have a lot of room to grow.
(Photo: City News Canada)