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As we reflect on current events, sociopolitical uncertainty throughout the world seems to have only risen from where it sat at the beginning of the year. Nearly every day brings news of yet another racist, bigotry, or sexist comment from south of the border. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are under serious threat.
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I was only 9 years old when I came face to face with a 'racist'. The sad thing about this encounter was not only what was happening to me, but the other person, who had no idea that they were actually inciting racial hatred. That person was another 9 year old girl.
The Haitian and Dominican republics share a porous border and a long, complicated and bloody history. The island's fissure divides it along colonial, linguistic, socioeconomic and cultural lines. In the era of globalization and international collaboration it's time to reexamine the Haitian-Dominican relationship.
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Adapted for the small screen, The Book of Negroes' Canadian debut occurs one month ahead of the U.S.A. premiere, appositely scheduled for Black History Month. As with any historical film depicting the bowels of inhumanity towards people of colour, it is an uneasy subject matter for the mostly lily-white CBC personalities.
By steadfastly refusing to square the circle of African-American expectations, Mia Love follows in the footsteps of Caribbean-Americans who came before her. With each successive generation of Caribbean immigrants bestowed upon the American people, voices are raised, improbable plateaus are reached.
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These three, blonde, 20-somethings were dressed as cotton pickers and had painted their faces in the most offensive, unrealistic mud black I've ever seen. They said absolutely nothing, only smiled, mouth closed. Here before me, like never in my life, were three white people targeting us, the non-white people in the bar.
Even if we can suspend the notion that body parts can be fashion accessories, this Vogue piece wreaks of 'columbusing': The art Of discovering something that is not new. Like J.Lo and Beyoncé's original (wider) noses, the curvy booty is a hereditary endowment of Africa. African features are as old as time.
The Toronto Star and other publications have touted the success of Ontario's Africentric school system. The problem is, one would expect higher test scores and improved behaviour from students who attend such a school, as the program will self-select parents who care more about their children and are engaged in their education. The fact is, as confirmed in countless studies, that the collapse of the black family within a segment of the black community is the primary reason so many of our children fall through the cracks of society, to be broken against the hard, unbending steel of racism, prejudice, failure and depression. No amount of "specialty schools" can change that.
Recently, the Guardian published an article titled "Why I hate being a black man" by a Canadian writer. No similarly prominent Canadian media outlets have provided a much-needed black male Canadian's reaction to the piece. The deafening silence is curious, telling and typically Canadian.
One day we will all be in stitches, laughing together at the symbols which have lost their racist tone of yesteryear. Today, we are not there yet. Mario Jean's minstrel portrayal of a black person hurt members of the larger Franco-Canadian family. No one, not even the privileged members of the dominant culture, can deny it.
My biggest concern with Miley's performance and behavior has only been that like the white feminists, she doesn't actually understand anything about black culture. You wanna twerk? Go ahead. You wanna sport grills and grab your crotch like your something special? Be my guest. You want your new single to "sound black"? Not a problem, but understand the culture in which you're taking from and the history behind it.
It's not that I think the achievements of historical Black Canadians are unimportant. It's just that, at this moment, I'd rather focus my energies on current struggles for liberation. That I am able to make this choice precisely because of those historical struggles is not lost on me. Indeed, it's kind of the point.
My brother was a remarkable person -- a gifted preacher, a champion of education, and a powerful advocate for the rights of Blacks. If there was one event that angered my brother more than any other, it was the tragic demise of "Africville." No attempt was made to save that Halifax Black community.
I don't know how history was taught when you were in school, but in my school our teachers skipped over the chapter (yes, only a single chapter) on blacks in Canada and North America more generally. These omissions skew our view of the world and lead to erroneous assumptions.
"Canadian Judge Frees North Carolina Negro." This is the title of a New York Times article published on March 3, 1922. The "North Carolina Negro" being referred to is Matthew Bullock. This is his story.
This story is written in honour and recognition of a Canadian hero: Canada's first black university graduate and our country's first black lawyer, Robert Sutherland (1830-1878). Today, Mr. Robert Sutherland's legacy lives on through a memorial room at Queen's University and scholarships established in his name.
The most influential man in the history of the province of British Columbia is James Douglas. Curiously overlooked by Ottawa, no statue of Sir James Douglas adorns the capital. Fact is, the capital region bestows no parks, no bridges, no street or stretch of highway to Douglas -- an honour reserved for the monarchy and Canadian heroes of European heritage.
Our country now mourns the passing of a great Canadian hero, Lincoln Macauley Alexander. He died on Friday October 19th, 2012 at the age of 90. Reading the many tributes to this outstanding Canadian makes it clear that Alexander's exemplary life was lived as an emphatic declaration that blackness and Canadianness can seamlessly exist in synergetic harmony, and that there is a black experience that is inextricably and simultaneously a Canadian experience.
Indeed the passing of this legendary black Canadian should encourage us all to live lives that would leave us similarly criticized for our expressed concerns for the lot of the average Canadian, black and otherwise.
Everything about how we live today encourages the breakdown of all barriers. Sticking the colour of their skin to successful people is simply foolish. And that's exactly what Black History Month does. I look forward to the day when all great achievements will be celebrated all year long.