Mar. 30, 2016

    People In Vancouver Seem To Love This Racist Map Of Their City

    "The idea behind the judgmental map is that everyone is offended."

    People in Vancouver are going wild over this offensive map of their city.

    Laura Zerebeski

    Laura Zerebeski's map was published by the Judgmental Maps blog. It features maps submitted by people of their hometowns, complete with all their local myths, complaints, and stereotypes.

    This is one of three Vancouver maps the blog published, but it's the one getting the most attention.

    Zerebeski's map designates some parts of West Vancouver as the land of vegans and yoga cults. South Vancouver is home to saris, turbans, and "terrorists, probably." Richmond is simply Asia, where "blind Chinese drivers" are found.

    Laura Zerebeski

    Surrey, home to a large Indo-Canadian population, is designated "Browntown" and "Gangland" on the map. The Port Coquitlam area, where notorious serial killer Robert Pickton's pig farm was located, is labelled "bikers & cut-up dead chicks."

    Laura Zerebeski

    Pickton is currently serving a life sentence for the gruesome murders of six women whose remains were found at his pig farm. He is connected to the deaths of dozens more, most of whom were Indigenous women and sex workers.

    And yet, most people seem to love the map.

    Judge mental map of #Vancouver. Funny yet true. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    Leave no one unoffended: Judgmental #Map of #Vancouver & Lower Mainland. Hilarious #DataViz

    Although not everyone is amused.

    @j_mcelroy Asians live in Richmond. White people live in rich areas. Hilarious!

    The judgmental map of Vancouver is shamefully offensive to Pickton victims and families.

    Zerebeski says she loves Vancouver, but that she made the map at a time when she was feeling "very down on the city."

    "There was so much going on with the Canadian election, affordability issues, refugees," Zerebeski told BuzzFeed Canada. "I thought it would be nice to get this all out in a big word cloud."

    She crowdsourced the descriptions from her friends, and for neighbourhoods she was less familiar with she dove into online comments sections to find how people described various parts of the city.

    She submitted her creation to Judgmental Maps and forgot about it. But about six months later, she read an article about Vancouver's ongoing affordable housing crisis and decided to re-submit the map, which is when the blog published it.

    Zerebeski doesn't deny that the map is insulting. "The idea behind the judgmental map is that everyone is offended. And when everyone's offended, it's fair, I suppose."

    Laura Zerebeski

    Zerebeski admitted the level of offensiveness was unequal when asked whether being described as a "soccer mom" is as bad as the racial stereotypes, or the reference to the Pickton murder victims.

    "And yet the people who seem to find it funniest โ€” not the pig farm thing, but the whole map in general, were the Asians. They all laughed at it," she said. "I've had a lot of friend requests from people with Chinese last names."

    Zerebeski said she put her name to the map rather than submit it anonymously so that people could find her and "have a conversation." She also said other submissions to Judgmental Maps are much worse.

    "If you've looked at some of the maps in the U.S., they're way more racist. They actually use the pejorative terms. They say things like 'chinks and niggers'. That to me is very uncomfortable. I would never do that."

    Zerebeski addressed the controversy over her map on her website. She said her aim was to give voice to a silent conversation about race and class in Vancouver. "Having said that, of course I will make a poster," she wrote.

    Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

    Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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