11/19/2013 12:07 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Rob Ford Needs to Stop Using Black People as a Prop

Up until now I made a conscious decision not to publicly comment on what has become the international traveling circus formerly known as Rob Ford.

Not because I like or dislike Ford. Or because I too have enough to eat at home (by way of pancakes, bread, beef, and ice cream).


Because I'm not from Toronto. And the only thing my mayor is high on is life.

Since I didn't have a vote, nor do I have any plans on moving east to have such a vote, I told myself: "Christopher, this is not your (public) battle. Where there's (crack) smoke there's fire, and you're not an arsonist."

That was until Ford's CNN interview.

In wasn't the interview itself -- or Ford's cursing with kids in the vicinity -- but it was his go-to political backdrop of his unwavering Ford Nation "working class" taxpayer support: Black people.

That was the crack that broke my back.

When the whole Gawker/Toronto Star story broke last May, it was a picture of Ford with a group of young black men that became the face of the whole crack scandal.

With that story it came out that he was somehow involved with black Somali-Canadian drug dealers.

Then when the pressure got hot, his new designated driver became the most recognizable and strangely ambiguous black face in Canada, Jerry Agyemang. (Sorry to this former Black lead on the Ford security circus bus, who used to be the most famous black guy in Toronto not named Drake.)

This was all after back in 2008 when Ford, as coach of Don Bosco's high school football team and self-proclaimed Black Saviour, commented that his Black athletes would either be "dead or in jail" if it wasn't for him and his football program.

Way back in May, I had commented about my unease with Ford's relationship with young black males. I said that his proximity to these kids as a football coach smelled of the Penn State scandal. Was Ford a teacher? No. Was Ford in anyway involved in the education system? No. Was Ford a crack user? Yes. Was Ford an alcoholic? A pathological liar? Yes and yes.

I'm sorry, but there is no way I would have wanted my child, who as Ford said would either be "dead or in jail," groomed and mentored on how to become a man by a drunk crack addict who could pretty well end up dead or in jail when this fiasco comes to an end.

Ford needs to stop using black people as a prop. A prop that he says he speaks for and is "helping," but in reality, he continues to perpetuate a denigrating stereotype.

Not only is he perpetuating it, he is creating a fictitious lie of black Canadians. Especially to an American audience where crack cocaine is synonymous with black characters like Tyrone Biggums. (If anyone needed proof that Ford's behaviour screamed "crack addict," the last line of that sketch is the crack-rock that obliterated his glass house.)

I can't help but think about Orville Lloyd Douglas' article on how he hates being a black Canadian man in Toronto. Douglas holds many (personal) issues of black self-hatred, some brought on by the misrepresentation of black Canadians in Canadian society and media.

If I were a Black Torontonian riding the subway, I would be more concerned that people did not want to sit next to me not because I was black, but because I (supposedly) supported Rob Ford.


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