Monday, June 1, 2020

A response to George Floyd's murder


On top of living with the anxiety and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic, these last few days have seen much righteous anger over the terrible murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This, on top of so many other incidents, even right here in Canada: Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto, D’Andre Campbell in Brampton, 3 Indigenous police victims in Winnipeg: Eishia Hudson, a 16-year-old girl, Stewart Kevin Andrews, and Jason Collins.

These are just in the past few weeks. There’s a history of this. It is not new. It is always terrible. And these are not ‘unconscious’ biases…we all know it’s straight up racism. That Canadian woman in New York who called the police on a bird watcher, who happened to be a black male? She knew exactly what she was doing when threatening that man, it was not unconscious bias.

Racism is such an ugly thing, at the very root of all that is wrong in this world, a classification system, putting people into boxes. We human beings keep putting things into boxes. Dandelions are weeds, kill. Don’t consider their various traits beyond that you don’t want them in your monoculture lawn. Monoculture. I so hate these 2 sides of the same coin. Why do human beings seem to despise complexity so much? The world is not binary.

Why is a farmer posting about this? Because this farmer is a Chinese woman, born in Canada, living and working in a predominantly white part of Ontario (which is really anywhere rural) in a white dominated profession, despite the fact that every single culture/race farms. And it’s lonely, and sometimes scary, to be out here. And when so many lives are taken because of racism, when ‘Black Lives Matter’ even needs to be said, I just want to cry, and rage, and scream at the world.

I have experienced some overt racism in my life, been spit at, ‘complimented’ on how well I speak English, and belittled for eating ‘strange’ foods or ‘weird’ parts of animals. Very minor incidents, but all these things trigger the ‘flight or fight’ response…heart starts beating harder, hyperventilation, sudden flush of heat, and each incident is never forgotten. Is this familiar to you? Because I’m pretty sure every person of colour in North America, has experienced this at least once in their lives. But at least I’m alive. Unlike so many black men, indigenous women…

Let’s embrace complexity. Go back to school by reading things off those anti-racist reading lists going around. (Here's one to try: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/preview?pru=AAABcpT4d0I*Gu4gfUM0ypzZ3snqFZ82-g) If we all choose to think, and stop picking the easy answers, maybe our society can change. Speak up when people say things which are questionable…you don’t have to be mean about it, just ask for clarification, ‘What do you mean by that?’, and the person speaking will have to start thinking. If not, we won’t have a society worth living in.

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