Aaron‘s topic for this week’s Sunday scribblings is “revolt”.
I think this is a very timely topic, revolt, especially after what has been happening in the USA lately, and has been mirrored around the world.
I can easily say that I have a lot of privilege in my life. I have never felt that the colour of my skin is anything other than a blessing (joking in the summer I hate it but only because of how easily I burn). So many people I know are feeling the pain of the world right now in their hearts.
I first was introduced to the idea of racial injustices when I started dating men of colour. The Guy is a perfect example. I was wanting to go to a festival downtown last summer and he wouldn’t go with me because his black Jamaican skin colour made him a target for unwanted attention from the police. Even though it was a festival celebrating Jamaican culture. That was not the first time I had my own privilege checked, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
I have been quiet in my opinions since the death of George Floyd in the USA when the protests and riots started. Not because I don’t have them, but because as a white woman, my own opinions are covered in privilege and a bubble of protection.
I have seen the glares, and heard the hushed voices against my own actions both as a nanny to black children, and as a woman who dates a lot of black men, and other men of colour as well. I have seen how the children are scrutinized more than white children, and how a man’s behaviours and clothing change when we leave the comfort of our homes to go out. The intentional planning of how to present oneself in society to draw the least amount of attention and suspicion.
However, it is not my experiences that matter in any of this. I have never been treated differently because of the colour of my skin. I have never felt unsafe or like I couldn’t go some where or do something that I wanted to because of how it might look to others. I have never had to think about what neighbourhood I was going to and decide how my clothes needed to reflect my intentions there. I was never sat down at a young age and told how to act around the police to make myself less of a threat. I can walk by a police officer with my hands in my pockets and have no suspicious glances thrown at me – in fact it happened on Wednesday.
But what I do want to say is this: I fully support the Black Lives Matter campaign. I am disgusted that in 2020 it still needs to be an issue. And if you are going to post a comment here that says that all lives matter, please don’t waste the key strokes just remove yourself from this post. Until Black Lives matter, all lives don’t matter.
This kind of action shouldn’t even be something we need in this century! I support the protests and the riots. I support the charging of the men who murdered George Floyd. I don’t care what Floyd’s past was, he was a victim. Don’t downplay the seriousness of this situation by posting videos of his record or that he was high during his arrest or he had drugs on him. That’s not the point. I support police reform and training. I support the full inquiry into the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet here in Toronto. This shouldn’t be happening. Not anymore.
Now, with that being said, I don’t support the mindless destruction. Rioters going into poor neighbourhoods, ones struggling to pay rent and survive because they are people of colour and immigrants, and destroying just to destroy. I don’t support white activists making things more violet and disruptive in areas where BLM are trying to show peaceful and organized protests.
To paraphrase the Toronto police chief, a high decorated black man, the time for small changes is over. It is time for big change, substantial and lasting change. The time for intolerance has long gone. The time for hatred over the colour of someone’s skin is long gone. Be educated. Be informed. Stand up for the rights of all people – which has to start with those in the black community. This shouldn’t even be a discussion anymore.