There are things everyone can do to address racism in Canada, only they are not quite so easy as carrying a sign or chanting “Black Lives Matter.”
Without disparaging those who have organized or participated in rallies and marches to bring awareness to the issue, or to show support for their neighbours of colour, these events are fleeting.
Like all things that can be described thusly, they gain high profile and they subside.
Marching and protesting, those experiences can be empowering and rewarding.
The real work on this is a lot less enjoyable. It’s got to start with the individual.
Every Caucasian person living in Canada must own the truth that our nation is founded on systemic racism and white supremacy, acknowledge how they benefit enormously from this reality. If you don’t get that much, then skip the next candlelight vigil.
This is a time to examine ourselves, and unroot our own prejudices. Everyone has them, bleak and angry, or thoughtless and presumptive notions.
Bring them to the surface and deal with them. Be honest. That can be quite uncomfortable, but it gets easier.
There are small opportunities every day to make the world a fairer place.
You can challenging a racist remark or slur when you hear it, even if that means potentially alienating — however, hopefully educating — a friend or colleague.
You can be very careful with your children.Read them Danny the Dinosaur if you must, but also share books that tell a variety of ethnic stories.
(Mom and Dad, if you are looking for a specific recommendation to get started Google Mama Do You Love Me.)
In the same way, introduce your kids to food and music from different cultures.
Demonstrate kindness, courage, and curiosity about the planet, and you will raise a generation better able to eradicate injustice than our own.
Every single time you are rewarded with something, like a promotion, every time you are treated graciously in a fine restaurant, every time you feel safe, ask yourself: “Is this because I’m white?”
The answer could be yes.
And imagine what it would feel like to have to daily ask the question: “Is this because I’m of colour?”
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