In a stunning about-face enlightened evolution, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the end of carding in his city this week. As the congratulatory backslapping spread across Hogtown, the rest of the province and the rest of the country is left eating dust. For us, carding carries on. To eradicate carding in Canada, this case must be heard in the highest courts. Judges must remind all citizens, including mayors, premiers and prime-ministerial hopefuls, that equality and fairness are more than filatures for flowery speeches
Toronto's police board has gone from refusal, to resistance, to resignation, to recognition of the problem, to partial resolution (the PACER report) and now, to retraction, recalcitrance and regression. What happened to the commitment to a fair and equitable society, to bias-free policing? The TPSB is set to vote this Thursday on a policy that is offensive and insidious. This new policy not only eliminates the requirement to issue receipts, but it takes us back even further than we were a few months ago. Is this the direction of an oversight body and a civilian boss that was once committed to diversity and fair treatment?
I won't go into the details of black groups being marginalized at the hands of white people who dominate the "center," because if you're smart enough to think that you fooled us into feeling remorse for "leaving you out" during the protest in Toronto, then you're smart enough to do a Google search to figure out historical black oppression and its endless contemporary reproductions.
In the social context of Canada before the Quiet Revolution (1950s), before Viola Desmond's act of defiance (1946), before Rosa Parks triggered the United States' Civil Rights Movement (1955), Fred Christie stood up to institutional discrimination. A decade before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1947), Fred Christie exhibited unimaginable courage and perseverance in asserting his civil rights. Though the judicial process did not deliver the desired result, Fred Christie remains a key instigator in Canada's journey towards the establishment of universal rights.
This past fall I was carded by a Toronto police officer near my own neighbourhood. It wasn't my first time. After returning home that day I did some research on the topic of police surveillance and came across Body Worn Cameras (BWC). They would prove that Toronto police disproportionately target minorities and community outrage in the city is justified. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all measure that restores public trust in police. But in Toronto, where there is a clear crisis of distrust between minority communities and police, it becomes clear that police officers might have to wear these Body Worn Cameras to regain some of that trust.
How long does it take a new immigrant to be profiled in Montreal? Before you hazard a guess, place "black male" in front of immigrant and "racially" in front of profiled. The answer in my husband's case? One week. Bob crossed an intersection beside two white pedestrians. Singled out by a white, French-speaking police officer, Bob was asked to produce his identification without an explanation of his "offense." By the way, the two white pedestrians with whom Bob crossed the intersection were not stopped and interrogated.
Rolihlahla "Nelson" Mandela is a global icon. His legendary ascension from prisoner to President is the stuff of fairytales. In this time of international mourning, our leaders should wipe their crocodile tears and reflect upon their actions, or lack thereof, in fulfilling the promise of racial equality which Nelson Mandela stood for. Mandela may no longer be with us, but his legacy, his message and his estimable struggle live on. They reside inside all of us who acknowledge that the pursuit of integration and equity belongs not in the apartheid past in a foreign land but in the bosom of our beloved nation.
At the AMAs, rapper Macklemore spent much of his precious acceptance speech time discussing the injustice behind the Trayvon Martin verdict. Here's a radical idea: if Macklemore is so disgusted by the Trayvon Martin ruling, he should be the one to lead Stevie Wonder's list of artists boycotting Florida until the Stand Your Ground Law is repealed.
With the recent event at Barney's, New York, it would appear that blacks should add S.W.B. or "Shopping While Black" to the list of supposed crimes for which we are racially profiled. Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old college student purchased a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barney's, Christian alleges that he was stopped by undercover officers, questioned, hand-cuffed and taken to a local precinct.
Christy Clark has weighed into Quebec's not-yet-debated, not-yet-modified, not-yet-voted, not-yet-implemented or enforced charter. B.C. has come a long way from the 1907 race riots. Many are proud of B.C.'s rich diversity, but there is still work to do. There have been sporadic deplorable acts of intolerance in B.C. during the Premier's tenure. Curiously, she wasn't compelled to comment on issues occurring in her own province: Indigenous slurs, neo-Nazi enclaves, racial profiling...
Racialized working-class communities, individuals and Indigenous peoples in North America know the daily reality of police violence and containment. We do not need the intervention of civil liberties organizations, critical criminology courses or the exposure of police violence at a G20 Summit to know that police are not protecting us.
When President Obama commented for the second time on the George Zimmerman verdict, he crossed the line. By politicizing the legal procedures, in an apparent effort to potentially obtain a different result, the President runs the risk of perverting America's objective and impartial legal and judicial system.
When a leading newspaper feels the need to actively denounce worldwide tributes to Trayvon Martin, including President Obama's moving comments on the matter, there is a serious problem. When a the death of a teenager is rationalized by painting him as a pot-smoking thug who happened to get himself killed, things take a turn for the cartoonish. How long will readers of the Ottawa Sun accept this audacious double standard?
It was revealed by confused Liberal party members that Ontario's premier-designate Kathleen Wynne's campaign sent letters in foreign languages to would-be supporters. In a gauche effort to connect with the ethnic vote, the Wynne campaign combed through membership lists and divvied them up based on perceived cultural origin. The Ontario Liberal Party's federal cousins have progressively lost their grip on traditional liberal-leaning communities by ignoring them or taking them for granted. History could repeat itself if the Wynne team fails to take corrective measures.