There are multiple ways to identify as a minority in Canada with language, ethnic, religious and/or racial/racialized status amongst the principal basis. Even if in certain situations you identify as a minority, that may not be how you're seen by others and/or how you feel in day-to-day interaction.
The fact that Ms. Jones loves herself -- the fact of her obvious confidence and the ease with which she speaks her mind -- well, that's an awful affront to the misogynists who expect a "woman like her," i.e. "not pretty enough" or light-skinned enough (in their tiny minds) to stay in the background with her mouth firmly shut.
Donald Trump's apocalyptic acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was easily the scariest political event I've ever witnessed outside of 1930s newsreels. As CNN's Anderson Cooper summed up: "He painted a dark and frightening picture of America, he talked about people being attacked by criminals, attacked by terrorists, betrayed by their leaders, the game is fixed. And he said he can be their voice." The thing about this tactic -- a far cry from conservative saint Ronald Reagan's inspirational "shining city on a hill" much less Obama's hope and change optimism -- is that it captures (and, yes, fuels) the zeitgeist of white America.
These days you don't hear a great deal of praise for the American melting pot. Perhaps it's because there is a growing realization amongst Americans that historically the melting pot was more virtual than real. A frank look at the evolution of the race relations across America's history throws the melting pot idea into question.
Even if I don't have the minutest idea of what it means to navigate life as a black person, I pledge that I will always stand in solidarity with those who do. Not only will I open myself to listen to the voices of the community without moderating them, but I will also make my words my protest, my sit-in. And if I cannot help in the fight for justice and equality, I will never impede those who can, or those who fight for it, humanely.
Embracing my queerness on its own, devoid of intersections, was never really a huge struggle for me. That was never the thing that got me incessantly questioning myself and the world around me. Acknowledging the lightbulb that went off once I thought back to all the older girls and female teachers I'd trailed behind in countless school hallways like a gay little puppy -- that wasn't the difficult part. The difficult part was in navigating my queerness, specifically in romantic/sexual relationships, through and around and under and over a huge, gigantic lump in my mind that reads, "RACE."
Critics of the international movement have called it discriminatory and racist, citing it as an attempt to prioritize black lives over all others ("It's not just black lives -- all lives matter!"). And perhaps most significantly, many have accused the organization of inciting hatred and violence against police. Though these assumptions are completely false, the discovery of a co-founder's tweet talking about killing white people does nothing to quell these criticisms. Rather, it simply adds fuel to an already raging fire.
If being Black represents strength and a great history of kings and queens (and therefore feeds my personal identity), why then does everything I tell myself about being Black seem more like a story that I tell myself so that I can deal with the actuality of being Black? I grew up around Black people who told other Black people, and who learned from non-Black people, that being Black was ugly.
Race medicine promotes the false belief not only that human beings are naturally divided into races but also that racial inequality is caused by innate racial differences we must accept rather than social inequities we must change. Race is not a biological category that produces health disparities because of genetic differences, but racism has negative biological effects on people's bodies.
Like most people that call this city home, I am deeply troubled by Sunday's shooting deaths in Toronto's Chinatown and the eight other gun-related deaths the city saw in January. This is obviously unacceptable, and police must be supported in their efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these horrific crimes. That being said, most people would be hesitant to draw any clear conclusions about why we have seen a high number of gun crimes over the past month. Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, the union that represents police officers, feels differently.
Canada continues to make important strides toward more equality. But there are storm clouds on the horizon that endanger the continuing pursuit of true equality. What started as a legitimate change to bring about equality and transformation of how we viewed, treated and spoke about each other has now ossified into a rarely breached wall of silence, a silence reinforced by the onset of the West's indifference to its own good, bad or ugly -- but distinct -- societies, their values and norms. Call it white man's burden or guilt, a guilt for the sins of the past now manifesting itself in the white man's fear.
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.
There are a range of reasons people have asked me about my background and reasons I'm curious about yours. Maybe I've traveled to your country of heritage and would like to share my experience; I'd like to visit one day and would welcome your insights. We shouldn't have to pretend not to see skin colour, hear accents, or recognize features. No, we're not all the same -- but why is that the goal?
Yes, our basic human right to live matters. The fact that our pigmentation is a target of death and destruction is a crime against humanity. We are in the midst of one of the world's longest -- and visible -- genocides. But what happens when we are no longer just treated like raccoons? The omnipresent pest of city streets, devoid of human dignity, one to be exterminated and only recognized upon our untimely deaths?
Well, I recently attended the American Black Film Festival in New York City. This time, I was lucky to have a riveting conversation with four black actresses: Terri J. Vaughn, Garcelle Beauvais, Essence Atkins, and Malinda Williams. They're all starring in a T.V. movie coming out later this summer called "Girlfriends' Getaway 2."
A ceremony designed to showcase our national values of freedom of religion, expression, accommodation and speech? Well, let's just say that this election year, the Prime Minister should focus on reaching elsewhere for points rather than conjuring fear from diversity at a time where cultural understanding and unity are desperately needed.