Although the black community have flourished in large numbers and has made a considerable mark on the GTA's cultural landscape and have contributed largely to the city's development, they continue to struggle with many social problems such as high unemployment rates, alarming high school dropout rates, racial profiling and a disturbing trend of youth incarceration.
I recently wrote an essay calling on the people of Toronto to end carding by refusing to share their personal information with the cops. They should meet any question from the cops with "Am I free to go?" The following elements should be used in any neighbourhood-based, grassroots led and organized anti-carding campaign. We must strive to win the active support of neighbourhood residents and people of good conscience across the city to not co-operate with the carding regime.
In the absence of community support, members of our communities could end up in the prison industrial complex for asserting their right to remain silent and walk away from these non-criminal encounters. The cops are aware of the fact that the people can refuse to speak with them and are free to walk away, if they are not being detained or arrested.
It benefits us all to be honest with ourselves and recognize that adopted in 1971, enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 and further enacted in law in 1988, Canadian multiculturalism is a socio-economic failure that now stains our national mosaic. There is nothing new in pointing out the failure(s) of multiculturalism. However, what has yet to be engaged as a public conversation is the consideration that, as our society's seeping open secret, the socio-economic failure of multiculturalism is what explains the festering phenomenon of black support for Rob Ford.
There is a small but vocal fringe in the Idle No More movement which advocates for the deportation of said "settlers". This unfortunate sentiment has turned potential friends into foes -- especially in the black community where it's a chilling reminder of the first time Africans were forced to traverse the Middle Passage. The similarities between aboriginals and black Canadians abound: both were oppressed people, both were driven/captured from their homelands by mostly Europeans. Both were dehumanized and denigrated as wild, suspicious and uncivilized.
The Republican convention's most telling moments happened every time the camera scanned the delegates in Tampa, Florida. Yes, it was a 2012 political convention but it still looked predominantly white from my vantage point. Republicans could take a paint-by-number lesson from Canada's political play book -- primarily from one Preston Manning.
My second "wow" moment came as I made friends with my black neighbours and they asked me about my racial background. I would tell them I wasn't sure and they would invariably tell me I looked like a family member or a good friend who was considered "high yellow." High yellow blacks often pass for white. So at the age of 29 my identity as a white person ended..