Amherst — When a whirlwind of controversy erupted earlier this week regarding George Baker — a town councillor, police board member and mayoral candidate — Nova Scotians were shocked to learn that a representative of a municipal government in their province would use an insensitive and racially charged phrase at his place of employment.
“I couldn’t believe a mayoral candidate in a close-knit small town would be foolish enough to say the N-word,” said Janet Cooley, a Halifax-based African-Nova Scotian historian/researcher, “but then I heard he was from Amherst, and I had to go ‘oh, well, then that fits.’”
Baker, who is white and also works as a part-time pizza delivery-person, was working at Bambino’s Pizzeria when he told kitchen staff “I’m not your [N-word],” which has led to the widespread opinion that Baker may be some kind of human personification of the town of Amherst.
“So, wait, stop: you’re telling me that the guy who shows up at 1 a.m. with my deep-dish pepperoni pizza is also part of town council, and is helping to run the police force, and might be my mayor soon, and also in addition to that, is a vocal racist?” said Amherst resident and systems analyst Kyle Waraich.
Waraich then sighed and placed an open palm against his forehead as he spoke to The Manatee. “Jesus. I’ve got to get out of this hick town.”
When the rest of Amherst town council refused to censure Baker, with current Mayor Rob Small claiming that the town would “review our policies to make them more robust,” reaction from fellow Nova Scotians was a swift lack of surprise.
“That’s Amherst for you,” said Tad Vicerand, a housepainter from Lower Sackville. “It’s like school in the summertime — no class. They should throw out whatever they’ve got on their official town coat of arms and just replace it with a photo of that guy [Baker] grumbling about not getting enough of a tip for delivering your garlic buffalo wings. If they don’t elect him mayor, then they should at least make him town mascot.”
After council and the mayor made their ruling, Baker issued a statement to the public saying that he “[has] always believed there is only one race, the human race.”
“Easy for him to say, as someone who has never in his life had someone be racist to him,” said Tricia Mayuzumi, a mother of four from Antigonish whose husband is of Japanese descent. “I was thinking about taking my husband and kids to the [Amherst] Blueberry Harvest Festival later this month, but I’m worried if we go there and order a pizza to our hotel room that it’ll have a racial slur spelled out in the sardines or something. Pass.”
Note: The Manatee attempted to research statistics on the Town of Amherst’s website in order to gain insight into the racial makeup of the town, but the link was broken and just took our reporter to a page full of vacant whiteness. Figures.