Black Lives Matter

Pride Toronto

Fellow Gay White Men: Our Experience With Police Isn't The Norm

Since Black Lives Matter Toronto's sit-in during Pride 2016, many of you have shown woeful levels of misunderstanding of where our community as a whole sits with the police. I've heard several of you say that the police don't pose a threat to LGBT people, because we've made "progress." "The bathhouse raids were 35 years ago. Everything is fine now between LGBT people and the police!" is how the argument goes, as if conflict between police and LGBT people is a thing of the past. What you mean to say is that your battle for your rights (which did not include an agenda for LGBT people of colour) was already hard fought decades ago.
Handout . / Reuters

How Will It Look When It's Time For Me To Die On Camera?

I watch him go down from the one-two punch of a Taser and several gunshots to the body. I don't know why they followed up a successful non-lethal takedown with lethal force, but I'm not a police officer. If you were to take every single piece of shaky cam and mobile phone footage showing police officers killing unarmed or complying Black people and splice them together, you'd have a horror movie. Or a snuff film. When it's time for me to die on camera, how will it look? Who will film me? What small physical imperfection, what inadvertent stumble will be the reason I'm murdered on a jittery impulse?
Pacific Press via Getty Images

Viral Images Of Police Violence Have Numbed Us Into Silence

Another depiction of police brutality against a black man caught on tape, sparks outrage among black Canadians and the cycle of violence begins anew: a black person murdered by police is captured on video, the video goes viral and no changes are made to policing strategies or tactics. More importantly, no one is held accountable. Rather, the cycle of violence continues on an administrative level: SIU documents are concealed, police officers go unnamed; are seldom reprimanded and the victim's family and the black community never get justice.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Trump Is Fuelling The Rise Of White Fright

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.
shutterstock

Police Reform Starts With Tracking Use Of Deadly Force

One the most important concerns of police violence, and one that several fail to even recognize, is how much we do not know about the police use of lethal force. There is no national or centralized database for use of force statistics in Canada. A further problem is the fact that agencies do not normally release official statistics on use of force, and the way in which use of force data are collected varies greatly between jurisdictions. Although lethal force by police is much less common in Canada as compared to the U.S., we are not immune to police violence.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images

What Is Feeding Gun Violence, Racism And Anger

Seeing an innocent member of your 'team' die tragically feeds this sense of 'us and them.' Micah Johnson, the Dallas shooter, did not see fathers, sons or brothers. He only saw white people and cops. This is the same mentality that fuels the atrocities of ISIS. When we see a group instead of an individual we feel justified in killing an innocent member of that group. Trained as a soldier, Johnson only saw 'the enemy.'
ASSOCIATED PRESS

This Is What You Mean When You Say, Tweet Or Sing 'All Lives Matter'

I would like to think that the police, of all people, are following this controversy closely and that their social media managers know what they're tweeting out into the world and how it will be perceived. But maybe they don't. Maybe you don't. Maybe your uncle doesn't. (Though, c'mon, you've heard him rant after a few glasses of red at Thanksgiving.) Maybe you refuse to believe that when you say, tweet or even sing "All Lives Matter" what people hear is that you're racist. But if you don't think that it devalues the lives of black people consider this.
Mark Wallheiser via Getty Images

Dear Alton Sterling: A Pledge In Your Passing

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.
Alexa Miller via Getty Images

I Am Grateful Social Media Has Burst My White Bubble

So what do I do now? I'm still learning. I'm still seeing. It's my job to spread the word -- not my own experience of this, either -- the voices of black men and women. It's my job to stop racist talk, behaviour and ideas from perpetuating within white culture. It's my job to get off my defensive high-horse and listen and learn. It's my job to be an ally, to join wherever I'm needed and to not be offended if I'm not wanted.