5x any good to act?

How can I act in accordance with the greatest and highest good for all beings? I am only one person so does it do any good at all to act? Will my actions speak louder than my words and are they in alignment with my values? Where do we go from here?

There are many things I would not like to read about in the news cycle today. Here are some things have stirred my desire to recommit to the power of creative transformation today. I hope you also find some time to rest and nourish your heart wherever today finds you.

1. This Interview with Allan Yu on The Great Discontent the title of this collection came from one of his Mars Maiers sketches #694 (above)

2. Louisiana is set to overturn their split jury law and the LA Times provides some context for the white supremacist roots and impact of the law via Myrtle May

3. Vulnerability, intimacy, and Spiritual Awakening Part One with Tara Brach

4. Wildlife (INIW) River Lot 11 Indigenous Art Park transforms the valley in Edmonton via David Garneau

5. Molly Burch – Wrong For You via Spotify

Advertisements
Standard

Anti-Racism Reading List 2018/19

As part of my commitments made in the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge I created this reading list to re-educate myself on racism, white supremacy, and my colonial roots. This list is by necessity of time is incomplete, and represents only a stepping stone in a lifelong path of learning. I’ve done my best in the last two weeks to research books on anti-racism work that speak to my personal context of a spiritual white woman living as a settler in Saskatchewan as a self identified “progressive”. There are specific traps of thought, learned cultural beliefs and attitudes, and programmed behaviors that are related to this context that I have only just begun to explore. Therefore starting the reading list from this knowledge was a strategic choice on my part, and mileage may vary for others working from a different starting place. I’ve chosen to release the list as a monthly reading list in order to encourage others to join me on this journey. Because as Layla F. Saad pointed out at the beginning of the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge, it is much easier to do this hard self reflection work in community. I will be doing my own personal reflections related to the book each month here, but I also invite anyone moved to read along with me to join the conversation with their own reflections unpacking their relationship to the material in order to deepen our learning and hold each other accountable.

September 2018
raised somewhere else.jpegOhpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh (Raised somewhere else): A 60s Scoop Adoptee’s Story of Coming Home by Colleen Cardinal (available here)

Synopsis: During the 60s Scoop, over 20,000 Indigenous children in Canada were removed from their biological families, lands and culture and trafficked across provinces, borders and overseas to be raised in non-Indigenous households.

Ohpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh delves into the personal and provocative narrative of Colleen Cardinal’s journey growing up in a non- Indigenous household as a 60s Scoop adoptee. Cardinal speaks frankly and intimately about instances of violence and abuse throughout her life, but this book is not a story of tragedy. It is a story of empowerment, reclamation and, ultimately, personal reconciliation. It is a form of Indigenous resistance through truth-telling, a story that informs the narrative on missing and murdered Indigenous women, colonial violence, racism and the Indigenous child welfare system.

October 2018
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (available here)

between the world and me.jpegSynopsis: In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

November 2018
The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter (available here)

the history of white people.jpgSynopsis: Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.

December 2018
Split Tsplit tooth.jpegooth by Tanya Tagaq (pre-order here)

Synopsis: From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, a fierce, tender, heartbreaking story unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.

January 2019
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (available here)so you want to talk about race.jpg

Synopsis: In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape–from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement–offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.

February 2019
When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by asha bandele, Patrisse Khan-Cullors (available here)

Synopsis: Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in LosAngeles,

when they called you.jpg

 Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and pe

rsecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a

hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.

March 2019
Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis (available here)

women race and class.jpeg

 

Synopsis: A powerful study of the women’s liberation movement in the U.S.,from abolitionist days to the present, that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis.

April 2019
Stolen Sisters by Emmanuelle Walter (available here)

stolen sisters.jpg

 

Synopsis: In 2014, the nation was rocked by the brutal violence against young

Aboriginal women Loretta Saunders, Tina Fontaine and Rinelle Harper. But tragically, they were not the only Aboriginal women to suffer that year. In fact, an official report revealed that since 1980, 1,200 Canadian Aboriginal women have been murdered or have gone missing. This alarming official figure reveals a national tragedy and the systemic failure of law enforcement and of all levels of government to address the issue.

May 2019
Contesting White Supremacy: School Segregation, Anti-Racism, and the Making of Chinese Canadians by Timothy J. Stanley (available here)

contesting white supremacy.jpeg

Synopsis: In 1922-23, Chinese students in Victoria, British Columbia, went on strike to protest a school board’s attempt to impose racial segregation. Their resistance was unexpected at the time, and it runs against the grain of mainstream accounts of Asian exclusion in Canada, which tend to ignore the agency of the excluded.

Contesting White Supremacy offers an alternative reading of the history of racism in British Columbia, one based on Chinese sources and perspectives. Employing an innovative theory of racism and anti-racism to explain the strike and document its antecedents, Timothy Stanley demonstrates that by the 1920s migrants from China and their BC-born children actively resisted policy makers’ efforts to organize white supremacy into the very texture of life. The education system in particular served as an arena where white supremacy confronted Chinese nationalist schooling and where parents and students rejected the idea of being either Chinese or Canadian and instead invented a new category – Chinese Canadian – to define their identity.

June 2019
Separate and Dominate: Feminism After the War on Terror by Christine Delphy (available here)

seperate and dominate.jpg

Synopsis: An examination of how mainstream feminism has been mobilized in support of racist measures.

Feminist Christine Delphy co-founded the journal Nouvelles questions féministes with Simone de Beauvoir in the 1970s and became one of the most influential figures in French feminism. Today, Delphy remains a prominent and controversial feminist thinker, a rare public voice denouncing the racist motivations of the government’s 2011 ban of the Muslim veil. Castigating humanitarian liberals for demanding the cultural assimilation of the women they are purporting to “save,” Delphy shows how criminalizing Islam in the name of feminism is fundamentally paradoxical.

July 2019
Colorblind by Tim Wise (available here)

colorblind.jpg

Synopsis: Following the civil rights movement, race relations in the United States entered a new era. Legal gains were interpreted by some as ensuring equal treatment for all and that “colorblind” policies and programs would be the best way forward. Since then, many voices have called for an end to affirmative action and other color-conscious policies and programs, and even for a retreat from public discussion of racism itself.

Bolstered by the election of Barack Obama, proponents of colorblindness argue that the obstacles faced by blacks and people of color in the United States can no longer be attributed to racism but instead result from economic forces. Thus, they contend, programs meant to uplift working-class and poor people are the best means for overcoming any racial inequalities that might still persist. InColorblind, Tim Wise refutes these assertions and advocates that the best way forward is to become more, not less, conscious of race and its impact on equal opportunity.

September 2019
Structures of Indifference: An Indigenous Life and Death in a Canadian City by Adele Perry (available here)

structures of indifference.jpg

Synopsis: Structures of Indifference examines an Indigenous life and death in a Canadian city, and what it reveals about the ongoing history of colonialism. At the heart of this story is a thirty-four-hour period in September 2008. During that day and half, Brian Sinclair, a middle-aged, non-Status Anishinaabeg resident of Manitoba’s capital city, arrived in the emergency room of the Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg’s major downtown hospital, was left untreated and unattended to, and ultimately died from an easily treatable infection. His death reflects a particular structure of indifference born of and maintained by colonialism.

McCallum and Perry present the ways in which Sinclair, once erased and ignored, came to represent diffuse, yet singular and largely dehumanized ideas about Indigenous people, modernity, and decline in cities. This story tells us about ordinary indigeneity in the City of Winnipeg through Sinclair’s experience and restores the complex humanity denied him in his interactions with Canadian health and legal systems, both before and after
his death.

October 2019
The Good Immigrant Edited by Nikesh Shukla, Chimene Suleyman (available here)

the good immigrant.jpg

Synopsis: An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it’s like to be othered in an increasingly divided America.

From Trump’s proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as “lively and vital,” editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be here is under attack.

November 2019
Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel (available here)

uprooting racism.jpg

Synopsis: In 2016, the president-elect of the United States openly called for segregation and deportation based on race and religion. Meanwhile, inequalities in education, housing, health care and the job market continue to prevail, while increased insecurity and fear have led to an epidemic of scapegoating and harassment of people of color. Yet recent polls show that only 31 percent of white people in the US believe racism is a major societal problem; at the same time, resistance is strong, as highlighted by Indigenous struggles for land and sovereignty and the Movement for Black Lives.

Completely revised and updated, this 4th edition of Uprooting Racism offers a framework around neoliberalism and interpersonal, institutional, and cultural racism, along with stories of resistance and white solidarity. It provides practical tools and advice on how white people can work as allies for racial justice, engaging the reader through questions, exercises, and suggestions for action, and includes a wealth of information about specific cultural groups such as Muslims, people with mixed-heritage, Native Americans, Jews, recent immigrants, Asian Americans, and Latino/as.

December 2019
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde (available here)

sister outsider.jpg

Synopsis: Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature.

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde’s philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.

 

Standard

Day 6,7,8: Me and White Supremacy

I am taking part in Wild Mystic Woman’s (Layla Saad) 28 day Instagram challenge You & White Supremacy. I am sharing my reflections on racism here and on Instagram for accountability to myself and my community. If you are interested in learning more about the challenge check Layla’s YouTube channel for the two orientation videos. This will be my last post for the next week as part of this work is not meant to be shared here. Trigger warning: I am owning some deep rooted racist bullshit that I haven’t been aware of, but that if you are a person of colour you are probably all to familiar with and may find triggering.

Day 6: Me and White Exceptionalism

I wrote this one at the end of the day after a few beer with the intention of revisiting. That hasn’t happened. White exceptionalism at work?

I believe that because I’m not racist like the townspeople on Who Is America? That means I am not “really” racist. I have never attempted to run over my elderly Muslim neighbor with my truck so I’m not part of the problem. I have done my time arguing at family Christmas so now I can just avoid talking politics with my family until they die. Because if enough older people die then racism will be cured right? I feel exceptional because I am young, and raised in a socially liberal house, so I must be so much more socially concious than previous generations without taking any concrete steps towards social change. My white exceptionalism says that I am a good person, and that I am doing my best and that will just have to be good enough. My white exceptionalism says that I am working hard at other things so I can’t be expected to make extra time for this anti-racism work. My white exceptionalism says I’m nice to BIPOC what more do I need to do. My white exceptionalism slips in through labels of “self care” and “learning” and “trying”. My white exceptionalism denies the real harm and active role I have in systems of oppression and white supremacy. My understanding of the surface of the problem has only allowed me to feed my white exceptionalism more promises of doing better next time, and learning to be a better ally, and helping in my own way as I’m able. It allows me to acknowledge what a bigoted place Saskatchewan is without looking at how that bigotry lives in me.

Day 7: Me & White Supremacy

I woke up hung over and did a half as attempt at this writing prompt at first. It didn’t feel good and I went back and wrote it again once I took care of my physical wellness. In the spirit of transparency and growth I’m sharing both.

Second attempt:
Since beginning this challenge a week ago I have learnt that I am more deeply entangled in white supremacy than I thought. My white exceptionalism came out to play yesterday as I skipped a day in the challenge which Layla had specifically asked folks not to do. Taking a break from doing the work to celebrate with people close to me is a white privilege that allows me to narrow my viewpoint to exclude racial injustice. Nia Wilson did not have the choice to take a day off and just focus on getting home. I see that I choose to surround myself with friends that will validate my white fragility and assure me it’s ok to miss a day. As if it is not my responsibility to tackle these problems daily. I see that there is a pattern of only committing to the work when it is comfortable for me to do so, and expecting to be able to do it on my own terms as suites my priorities. My priorities are usually protecting my mental/emotional wellbeing and making more money which are directly related to how I uphold white supremacy by prioritizing my individual benefit over the greater good. I feel superior when I’m doing well with these priorities even though it is generally through no action of my own but a result of my willingness to exploit white silence and white privilege. When I see how easy it is to fall back into these patterns of behavior and excuse the harm I know that they cause even while actively working to bring awareness to them I begin to see how deep the roots of white supremacy go. I carry the weight of these beliefs not just in my community but in me personally in my daily actions. Today it feels a lot more dangerous to ignore those silenced warning bells that something I am doing is “not that bad” because I can see how that feeds that toxic pattern of behavior. These “random acts of violence” that occur in my community and across the border begin to feel less random when I look at them in light of how easy it is to negate humane responsibility in favour of personal privilege.

First attempt:
Since beginning this challenge a week ago what I have learnt about me and white supremacy is that it is closer than it may feel most days. I have baggage that is weighing heavy on me, and the harm I cause may feel minimal to me in the moment but have wider implications beyond my scope of awareness. These “random acts of violence” in my community and across the border feel less random looking at how deeply ingrained these white supremacist ideas and beliefs are. “White privilege is hard to see when you’re white” is the bathroom graffiti that introduced the term to me when I was 19 and it’s still true today. Everytime I think that I have gotten a handle on what white privilege means I run into another blind spot. Thank you @wildmysticwoman for the crash course through my blind spots.

Day 8: Me & Seeing Colour

Growing up I learnt that you were not suppose to see colour. That if my generation could learn to see everyone the same as me, as each a part of the human race, that would end racism. I truly believed that, and because of that I didn’t notice things like all of my friends at university were white or that there was only one student of a visible minority in my entire department. Because I wasn’t paying attention to these things I couldn’t ask why. I don’t remember specifically when I became aware that just “not seeing colour” was not a good approach to ending racism. I am sure that that awareness came from the internet and being exposed to intersectional feminist writers, and writers of colour. As I began to do my own research into the subject and sharing what I found on social media I began to be seen as an intersectional feminist and activist although I was not active in my community like these writers were. I don’t think I consciously thought of using them to cultivate a brand, but that is definitely how it played out. Many of my white peers started to commend me on speaking up, so I started to believe that was the next best thing. If I could just speak on behalf of the voiceless then people in power would listen denying how I was speaking over them to retain my own power. I started following more and more feminist writers of colour “to learn from” but it ended up being to steal from as I was gaining social capital for sharing their ideas without doing the work. Now when I reflect on what I have learnt about seeing colour I don’t feel like I have really done the work to unlearn my habit of hemoginization. I still mainly relate to my friends and aquaitances on ways that they are like me rather than ways they experience oppression that I won’t. In the midst of the Stanley trial I was regularly speaking to people that couldn’t see that the crime was racially motivated, and although I felt in my bones that this was wrong I still consistently lacked the words to explain it to them. I now can see that lacking the words is from failing to do my own work to be an informed advocate and unlearn my own racial bias. Bias towards white innocence. Bias towards trouble making Indians. Bias towards not seeing colour.

Standard

Day 5: Me and White Superiority

I am completing a 28 day writing challenge by Wild Mystic Women’s Layla Saad called You & White Supremacy. Follow the hashtag #meandwhitesupremacy on Instagram, and check out Layla’s videos on YouTube outlining how to participate in the challenge.

Day 5: Me & White Superiority

I feel superior when I apply for jobs because I know that I interview very well with white interviewers. I present as a Pollyanna white girl, and they see me as articulate and non-threatening. It’s not that I think others who apply for the job aren’t capable, but I know that they will have to work harder to make a good impression. When I was younger I tried to actively maintain this image of white feminine purity for fear of not finding work. Now that I am beginning to reject some trappings of that identity instead of feeling more secure in myself I am feeling that I am unprepared to not be rewarded for my mediocre whiteness. So instead I lower my standards and continue to work in places where only being seen as agreeable and white is still valued like serving at hipster coffee shops.

I feel superior when I’m serving on a board of directors because I am pushing for better representation, and community outreach with marginalized groups while actively tokenizing their work and contributions. I feel superior because I am a “woke” white person pushing for community consultation, and hiring diversity, and other nice white buzzwords, but I still not so deep down want to be in charge of how these conversations happen and who is at the table. I feel like I need to be part of those conversations because I will be able to translate the needs of these groups into the mandates of the funders, as if the experts we are consulting are not already more aware of how these relationships work because they live with them everyday.

I feel superior when I apply for artist grants or otherwise playing the business game of a creative entrepreneur. It’s not that I think money and resources shouldn’t go to artists of colour, but I know how to work the system to my advantage and believe that will give me a superior edge. Even if I politically believe this edge is undeserved, I personally feel like it is my right to get all that I can. Because of this when I see artists of colour being more successful than me I feel like I am worthless as an artist. Because I have had more opportunities than them and have still been unable to create anything half as successful or meaningful.

When I was a teenager I sat on a panel of unschooled students at an home schooling conference, one of the people in the audience asked us if we thought that we were better than other students and I unequivocally answered yes, of course. I had read the studies on how unschooled students out performed their public school peers in almost every way. Within the literature on public school students there was further evidence that white students out performed other students except asian students. There was substantial evidence that the barriers marginalized students faced were usually institutionalized and not a reflection of their actual aptitude, but the bottom line for me was still yes, or course I am superior. The silence in the room afterwards told me I had said something wrong, but my views were not challenged, and so I learnt to be more modest in my answers.

Standard

Day Three & Four: Me & White Supremacy

I am working through Wild Mystic Woman’s (Layla Saad) White Supremacy and Me 28 day writing challenge. She has shared writing prompts and guidelines for how to use them on her Instagram and YouTube channel. I am late to join, the challenge has already been going on for 22 days. Go back and read some of the other comments under the hashtag #meandwhitesupremacy if you are interested in seeing the scope of this work. I am sharing my reflections here for personal accountability, and on Instagram for accountability from friends and family. Today I am sharing my reflections from days 3 & 4. I am late posting because I was out and about for 15 hours yesterday which didn’t leave a lot of time for self reflection at home. Let me be the first to say that it did not feel good beginning to write for the challenge before bed. I could feel my mind resisting that sort of deep reflection called for, and I felt defeated before I began. That kind of tired defeatism is the space where white fragility and white privilege creep in. It wasn’t a good look, and I think the writing I shared on Instagram reflected that. I want to start by sharing a video that Layla made for Day 3 that is a call for action, to go deeper into the work. She addresses some common shortcomings that I faced and gave some tools to get past them.

https://youtu.be/z71L9gpob4M

Day 3: Me & Tone Policing

What I have learnt about me & tone policing… when I was young I learnt that there was a magic code of nice words that could make people listen that I just didn’t yet have mastery of. These words mainly seemed to be possessed by white men, but perhaps if I studied hard to be like them I too could posses that power for people to hear me. The worst thing I could be labeled as was an angry feminist or an irrationally emotional woman. I would enforce this idea against myself and others who I deemed “too angry” or “too emotional”. Today I might think that I have a more nuanced understanding of tone policing, but I will still catch myself sliding into tone policing thoughts. Thoughts like “she just has an aggressive way of communicating” or “this is too heavy I just don’t have the emotional space to deal with this right now” or “I just got a bad vibe from her” or “I know she means well I just wish she could be more nice”. I recognize that when these thoughts come it is almost alway when a WOC is talking about the oppression she faces, but seldom when other white women make similar complaints. When I catch onto myself that doesn’t necessarily dissolve the knot in my stomach. The knot of uncomfortableness looking at a truth I want to stay hidden. I have noticed that I sometimes deflect that uncomfortableness into avoiding that person or reframing what they said into “better” words. I see that I am more likely to share the article, post, or tweet that uses my white approved buzzwords than expresses their genuine outrage or concern. I see that the social media algorithm supports this by showing me more of the same. It is easy to tone police when I don’t feel like I am the one enforcing the tone. Some other more fragile white person is already doing that for me, so I can retreat from where those thoughts are coming from. Why do I have these thoughts? I feel afraid of losing something I think is mine. That if I identify with the pain this person is experiencing, who has lost so much through no fault of their own, that I will lose what little peace of mind, prosperity, and happiness I have found for myself. I think that I deserve this, regardless of if I know that it has been taken through ill gotten gains. The pain is treated like a contagious disease rather than a direct result of my actions. Therefore I can treat it like it is something that can be isolated and prescribed a “positive” fix without having to give up any of my comfort to allow in that “negative” truth. In this case comfort is power. Power to tune out, intellectualize, and check out. I am working on actively listening to and sitting with things that make me feel this discomfort. But I am afraid that “sitting with” becomes an escapism from real tangible action. Change is hard, and resisting change is so much more palatable when it is guised as “being nice”.

Day 4: Me & White Silence

I utilize white silence at holidays and family gatherings because “I don’t want to fight” but instead of adopting a non-violent communication strategy to de-escalate the situation I act complicity to my families history of violence against BIPOC. By acting complicity I expand my own circle of comfort to include this violence, and further dehumanize those that experience direct and indirect violence because of me and my family. I regularly stay silent when asked to write my elected officials “because I don’t know what to say”. I am claiming ignorance as if that excuses my actions, but in my heart I know that is not the reason for my silence. I keep silent because I am afraid of doing the work to find the words that express my own relationship to this system of oppression and violence. I am afraid that by speaking up I will be giving up my safety even though the stakes for me are much, much lower. The kind of safety and care that comes from staying quiet is not real safety. When I am at work I use that as the catch all excuse to stay silent because my time is not my time. I am on company time, and I am “just following orders”. I ignore that it is also in my interest to stay quiet as long as I am making money in the system. I have been silent when asked to follow people of colour through the store, I have been silent when asked not to serve someone because they are native and wearing a hoodie so therefore “couldn’t afford” a cup of coffee here, I have been silent when I witness police harassing native people in the park during Stampede, I have been silent when a city bus driver refused to let on a native father and his son every Thursday every week for an entire semester of school, I have been silent when a friend threatened to call the cops because she locked herself out of her own house and wanted to break her own window to get in and blame it on “some native guy”, I have been silent when a man wearing a turban directly asked me to buy him baby formula and something to eat. I stay silent because I think it is safer, because I think it is a risk to speak up or reach out. I call my silence self care or minding my business, but it is violent. I remember learning about the holocaust as a child, and how many German’s said “they were just following orders” and I felt scared. Scared because I too like following orders, being on good terms with authority, and protecting my own skin first. I did not think I would have the strength to be a rebel in Nazi Germany, to stand up for and protect my neighbors at great personal cost. I thought I would likely be “one of the bad ones” just following orders. I didn’t talk about these fears, and as an adult I have seen them mostly play out exactly in that way.

Standard

5x rest in power

The events in Charlottesville are still reverberating around the world, and the legacy of white supremacist violence lives on unchallenged by the state. At home I am thinking about the anti racism billboard campaign that managed to enrage local white supremacists and "law abiding" racists alike. At the time of the release every public forum seemed to be flooded with a rage fuelled by fear of self reflection. Neighbours openly argued for racism (and against the campaign) unmasked and unashamed. Often with inconspicuous statements like "the city has better things to spend tax payer money on" moving the financial burden of education, let alone reparations, from the white public benefiting from the system to the individuals affected and their allies. As far as I know no direct violence erupted because of the ideological clash of the billboards, however I may be one of the last to know if there were as a white woman living and working in white neighbourhoods. Without obvious flair ups of violence such as the one in Charlottesville it's easy to fail to adequately comprehend the daily violence of white supremacy and everyday "casual" racism. I know that I have failed when I feel my "shock" in spite of reading daily about the worsening conditions in the U.S. and at home. I know that I have failed when I feel "afraid" for my future because of violence and prejudices that have effected other folks for generations. I know that I have failed when I feel "hopeless" in the face of dismantling 500 odd years of systematic violence from my relative position of power. I know that I have failed when I let my empathy for my fellow human's pain immobilize my body in "sadness" rather than extend a hand in loving service. I know that I have failed many times over, and yet I am here dedicated to the perseverance of love over hate, of knowledge over ignorance, of action over reaction, of peace over suffering. Today I share a few things that I am reading and considering as I face the shadows of myself betwixt the eclipses darkened sight. Rest in power to those fallen in service of compassion, peace, love, and justice.

  1. The Case for Reparations via The Atlantic
  2. Dear White People: I Want You to Understand Yourselves Better via The Establishment
  3. The Similarities Between Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Slavery via Huffington Post
  4. Indigenous Perspectives of Canada's 150 via APTN
  5. A Seat At The Table by Solange
  6. Donate to Support Charlottesville
Standard