Being black in Canada can sometimes be suffocating.
This feeling does not only come from being subject to anti-black racism in multiple domains of social, economic, cultural and civic life in Canada. It is overwhelmingly the result of carrying the exhausting burden of having to convince others of the truth of your lived experience.
â€œMaybe the police stopped you because you were driving a little faster than you should have been.â€ â€œMaybe the store clerk is not following you but is only doing their job.â€ â€œMaybe you didnâ€™t get hired because youâ€™re just not as qualified as the other applicantsâ€
Maybe â€¦ But maybe not â€¦
Whereas anti-black racism is most often subtly buried and embedded in Canadaâ€™s social structures and collective subconscious, last week saw a sudden resurfacing of whips and scorn that too often sully being black in Canada.
In Toronto, a Black Lives Matter protest against the police killings of two black men temporarily shut down one of the cityâ€™s busiest expressways. In Halifax, a coalition of black organizations and their allies called for a country-wide ban on displaying the Confederate flag. In Ottawa, a mural memorializing Sandra Bland, a black woman who recently died in ominously suspicious circumstances while in the custody of a Texan police force, was defaced with graffiti. And in Hamilton, the local police service is denying that racism plays any role in the fact that its own stats evidence that officers disproportionately target, stop, question and collect the personal information of young black people in that city.
â€œBut this is Canada!â€, our sense of Canadian racial exceptionalism pushes some of us proclaim. â€œItâ€™s Americans that have a race problem, not us! These attention-seeking black radical activists complaining about â€˜anti-black racism,â€™ or whatever, are being aided by the left-leaning media to complain about American problems that we simply donâ€™t have here.â€
Blacks in Canada are so often met with this kind of response when we speak about our lived experience that just being black in Canada can feel deflating, paralyzing and oppressive. So, often many of us just sigh heavily while silently bearing our unrecognized truths and expressing ourselves in an exasperated version of the popularized protest chant, â€œI canâ€™t breathe.â€
But thereâ€™s a new generation of younger black Canadians that is choosing to resist suffocation by eschewing silence and pursuing outright public resistance.
While the general public might only know this resistance to take the form of protest marches or press conferences, this is only because the mainstream did not recognize this resistance when it took earlier forms.
What do you think black youth were trying to say in all those school and community-based programs where we created rap songs, spoken word poems, stories, paintings, etc.? We were using the arts to bare our youthful souls and lament a supposedly free and democratic society that seemed to be unable to see us unless we were or were potentially carrying a gun, a basketball, a baby or a welfare application.
For the current generation of black Canadian youth entering adulthood, these arts and education programs gave us life. But weâ€™re not kids anymore.
As we enter early adulthood we are collectively realizing that, despite what many think, blacks in Canada cannot speak about their lived experience and the ongoing injustices they face without being met with silencing indifference, dismissal and sometimes hostility.
While tolerating degrees of anti-black racism may have been a successful survival strategy for a previous generation of blacks in Canada, our generation has never known a Canada without a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or provincial human rights codes that enshrine our universal entitlement to equality as Canadians.
As such, we find it impossible to accept todayâ€™s black Canadian experience: extreme marginalization and disadvantage; restricted access to housing; racial profiling in policing, security, education and child welfare; criminalization; over-representation in the criminal justice system; high levels of unemployment; and disproportionate and extreme poverty.
This is part of the reason why when you tell the upcoming generation of social justice-oriented black Canadians to â€œGo back to your home country if you donâ€™t like it here,â€ we stare at you with blank confusion, if not in angry defiance. Canada is the only home country weâ€™ve ever known.
Our righteous resistance is not an expression of hatred for Canada, cops, or Confederate flags. Itâ€™s a thrashing attempt to break the stranglehold of Canadian-brand anti-black racism and wake our society up to an irrefutable fact:
We have the right to be treated equally as human beings, but also as Canadians. And as such, we resist suffocating racism because we are true black strong and free.
Anthony Morgan is a twenty-something Toronto-based human rights lawyer.
Always tell someone how you feel because opportunities are lost in the blink of an eye but regret can last a lifetime. cricketwindies.com/forum/
I have lived in Hamilton for about 6-t years now. they pulled me over once..checked me out and never stopped me again.
I am out all the time..I run into them all the time. they do not trouble me.
but I know they trouble lots of black people in the city. that is what they are there for..to keep the social structure in place. that's their job.
keeping the social structure in place means keeping black people down generally. if black people move out from the bottom it all collapses. they will have to get a new bogeyman down at the bottom to hang the structure on
who wud that be...Chinese, Indos...Paks...Pilipino..Pottoghee ::confused:: ::confused:: ::confused::
there is no suffocation of black people in Canada. you can be suffocated if you are aware that you are being stifled. but if you think the shortage of air to breathe is natural there you go
its like that Underground Railroad woman averred..that I saved a thousand slaves but cud have save thousands more if they knew they were slaves.
the Canadian black population is at least 75% west indian. west indians to a man..Indo and Afro both... are socialized by west indian broughtopcy right into Canadian suffocation so it is natural to them. and they rise right up the ladder socially easy easy.
the Canadian black population is very small..barely cracking 2%. yet look around and see how many black people are at the top levels of this supposedly racist system. just look! one might even claim that we are over represented given our small number of the population
regardless of what Canadian society does to black people we are right at home in it. to me case closed.
but Ketchim doh know...he does not see the situation this way..prolly because he is racist...and right wing. all he looks for are welfare mothers poaching off the system,not realising that they represent just a very small minority of the black population..and that his jackass claim that they monopolize welfare housing and so on is pure nonsense.
what..are Canadian governments building welfare housing for a small part only, of 2% of the Canadian population?
things like that do not happen. there are hundreds of thousands of units of such housing all over Canada, in areas that do not ever see black people at all. and if there are 10 thousand black single welfare mothers in total then that is plenty. and they would all be in Toronto,Hamilton, and regions like Pickering,Whitby and so on.Montreal may have some as well..Vancouver. but where else