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I was wrong. Dead wrong.
In my October blog, I said that I was sick to death of talking about black woes.
The universe not only heard me, but immediately sent me several things to educate me, and prove that deep prejudice and systemic injustice was still going on; perhaps it was even worse than ever. No more hangings, separate water fountains or segregated schools, but there it was just the same, under the guise of beatings, unjust imprisonments, and racial profiling by law enforcement.
The first thing that came my way, almost immediately after posting the blog, was a Super Soul Sunday episode that I will never forget. It was about an Alabama born and bred lawyer, discussing his book, “Just Mercy.” His name is Bryan Stevenson, and he broke open my heart. Watch it! Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcL9ebsqYNc.
I began to see how systemic hatred of blacks is still blatantly prevalent in society, and if you think it doesn’t exist in Canada, think again. One need only look at last week’s headlines about a black minister of a United Church in Ottawa to see we still have a problem.
The paragraph below was taken from an Ontario Human Rights commission report.
“The Commission has consistently stated that the purpose of its racial profiling inquiry is not to prove or disprove the existence of racial profiling. It is the Commission’s view that previous inquiries have considered this and have found that it does occur.
Moreover, as discussed above, racial profiling is a form of racial stereotyping. As racial stereotyping and discrimination exists in society, it also exists in institutions such as law enforcement agencies, the education system, the criminal justice system etc., which are a microcosm of broader society.
Racial profiling has long been acknowledged to exist in other western nations, most notably the United States and Great Britain. In the absence of proactive measures to ensure that profiling does not take place in Ontario, there is no reasonable basis to assume that we are immune to the problem.” To read more: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/paying-price-human-cost-racial-profiling/existence-racial-profiling.
The parade of stories continued; black woman dies in prison, black man beaten to death, black teen shot and killed and most recently, an Oscar boycott by several actors who cited reasons of inequality of colour and gender in Hollywood.
I am being awakened in a way that I’d never been before, and I’m listening . . . intently!
How can this still be going on, and why is it still going on? If my daughter, Taylor was writing this, she would provide a plethora of how’s and why’s, but for the purpose of this blog, it is simply a rhetorical question.
As I have personally never witnessed discrimination, and generally speaking, for most of us, if it’s not in our purview we don’t think much about it. We’re involved in our own cultural issues, and there’s plenty of them; Savchenko still in prison, murdered Aboriginal women and school shootings, Syrians fleeing their country.
It’s difficult to be aware of every injustice in the world. The sheer scope and overwhelming enormity of it all is simply staggeringly difficult to comprehend. Being on social media can also be overwhelming, as it brings to light many issues we would normally not have been aware of, back in the day. Simply put . . . too much news!
While I take full responsibility for my words, and without attempting to make excuses, I think I became so overwhelmed that I simply wanted to escape it all. I don’t often throw my hands up in the air, and bury my head, but apparently in October, I did!
The next time I slip up, (and I will!) I know the universe will cuff me in the back of the head and remind me to keep an open mind, and even more importantly, an open heart. I know it will remind me that we all share this planet, and therefore, HAVE to find a way to get along. The only way this can happen, is to bring to light any and all injustices that still plague us all, and then find a way to do something about them.
I’m not a politician, or a law maker, but I know this; we need a drastic overhaul of our justice and education systems.
You might not be a lawyer or politician either, but you can make a difference! If a cause is near and dear to your heart, do something about it! Write to your M.P., volunteer at a community center, donate to help a refugee, build wells and schools, take a turn at a soup kitchen, read to a child, distribute blankets downtown, buy a homeless person some lunch, and if you witness an injustice, do something about that too! Every little bit helps.
As for me, I will take responsibility for my ignorance and try and do better.