If you have been watching the news this week there were two stories that broke through the constant Corona virus content. The first story was about a white women in central park who was asked by a black man to leash her dog, as they were in a leashed dog area. This white women preceded to lose her mind on the black man who asked her to leash her dog. He started to record the incident as it escalated and she called the police on him. She was hysterical and saying she was being threatened by an African American. When I saw this video I was furious. First of all, she was in the wrong. SHE WAS IN THE WRONG! What is the matter with people when they can’t just own up to their wrong doing. If that wasn’t bad enough, she decided to call the police knowing full well the police brutality on black men. She sounded like she was going to be attacked and the police needed to hurry to get there. She specifically says in her phone call to 911, that the person who is threatening her is a black man. She knew exactly what she was doing when she made that call to the police. Now before you say this is an American issue and it doesn’t impact us here in Canada. She was a Canadian. A graduate from the University of Waterloo. It’s time to get off your high horse Canadians and realize this issue impacts our great nation too.
If that story wasn’t enough to get your blood boiling, the next story is so much worse. A white Minneapolis police officer arrested a black man for what was thought to be a counterfeit $20 bill. The officer than proceeded to kneel on his neck in broad daylight while being filmed. He knelt on his neck while the man begged for his life saying that he couldn’t breathe. He knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes until he killed him.
What is going on in this world?
I am the first to admit that I am not expert on the topic of race issues and white privilege. I do not have a deep understating of the racial history and continued race issues in the United States or globally. I used to get offended by the words “white privilege”. It sounds like I’m at fault for a system I didn’t create. The reality is I may not have created it, but I definitely have benefited from this system, and that my friends is what white privilege is. As a child if you were told to seek out a police officer if you were lost instead of learning how to deal with the police to ensure you didn’t get killed because of the colour of your skin, that’s privilege. If you have never had to worry about being accused of a crime simply because of the colour of your skin, that’s privilege. If you have never worried about being arrested by the police or shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer simply for going for a walk in your neighborhood during the day, that’s privilege.
I am no expert, but I can’t stay silent and I can’t stay ignorant and I definitely can’t stay complacent. I may not have the right words or even be saying the right things, but I'm going to try. Even if it's uncomfortable and I don't know my way, I'm going to try. I have decided I need to do some more internal work. Work on myself and my world view and figure out what I could do to help. I have been ignorant on this issue for too long. I hope that by writing this blog I can provide some resources that I have found that might help you become more aware and knowledgeable about this topic. I encourage you to do your own research and find resources to educate yourself. I love reading and books are the key resource I share below. If you enjoy podcasts, seek those out. If you are more interested in movies, check out Netflix.
I also think it is a great idea to do an audit of your social media. Are you only following the content of people who look like you and share a similar worldview or life experience as you? I audited my Instagram and truthfully I would say over 90% of the people I follow and engage with are white. I am actively seeking out other accounts or "influencers" that are not white. I feel that it's important that I start to consume content from BIPOC. If you are new to this topic, BIPOC is "Black, Indigenous, People of Colour". If you don't educate yourself and lean into the fact that you are uncomfortable with a topic and still try to navigate it, nothing will ever change.
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” Angela Davis.