The mysterious appeal of racist Rob

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Rob Ford’s habit of hurling N-bombs—and every other racist invective—hasn’t cost him the minority vote. It might even explain his lingering popularity

It’s hard to find an ethnic group Mayor Rob Ford hasn’t denigrated. Let’s recap. So far, the slurs have included, but are not limited to, “f**king kike,” ­“n*****r,” “f**king wop,” “dago,” “Paki,” “Gino-boy,” and, my personal favourite, “Oriental people.” He apes the accents of “f**king minorities” (his term), most famously Jamaican patois. His wife, Renata, is a “Polack.” Oh, wait—that was the word Rob’s brother, councillor (and now fill-in mayoral candidate) Doug Ford, used to describe his sister-in-law.

Why do minorities in Toronto support our racist mayor? In the last election, 80 per cent of Ford support came from the inner suburbs, areas that have the highest concentration in the city of visible minorities. Ford’s staunchest support comes from Ward 2, Etobicoke North—the Ford family stronghold—where he’s now running to resume his pre-2010 role as councillor. The area includes ­Rexdale, a Somali neighbourhood.

Can Toronto’s vaunted multicultural harmony be only skin deep? We are known around the world for mixing and matching our ethnic cuisines, our music and our marriages. Perhaps Rob Ford’s racism is some kind of backlash against blending. Is he popular because he is regarded as a refreshing, politically incorrect tell-it-like-it-is voice?…

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