A Moderate Perspective of the Black Lives Matter Protest at Pride

There has been a lot written about this protest already, but it seems every article falls neatly into one of two categories – either the author is calling BLM Toronto a bunch of wanton criminals or unquestionable heroes. To be honest, I think most people actually fall somewhere in the middle, and don’t really know what to think.

So I’m here to offer the perspective of a hard core moderate that might help you with your own thoughts on this. Continue reading “A Moderate Perspective of the Black Lives Matter Protest at Pride”

Totally selfish reasons to care about #blacklivesmatter and #oscarssowhite

With the drama around the Oscars controversy and the pretty terrible things some have said about it, I thought it would be a good idea to write a post to help people who do not see the effects of racial inequality understand why it matters, even to you.

So, if you’d like to know why, dear white reader with zero personal stake in racial equality, you should still really really care about it nonetheless, read on!

Continue reading “Totally selfish reasons to care about #blacklivesmatter and #oscarssowhite”

I’m racist, but I’m working on it

When I moved to Canada, some 14 years ago, it was the first time I heard racism as a word. Growing up in Israel, I had plenty of black friends and never thought of them as even remotely different, so I was pleased that I could check racism off as a non-issue for me.

Then I met an Arab student and was stunned that he wasn’t throwing rocks at me and my family. So, you know, probably not a non-issue after all. As a spent more time in Canada, something else started happening. I could feel it, but I couldn’t quite work out what it was. I would feel guarded if a black man walked by, watch my stuff more closely, even cross the street. It wasn’t even conscious. I definitely didn’t think I was being racist. I was being pragmatic.

Fast forward to today, I’ve attended a #blacklivesmatter protest, I’ve spent literally hours trying to undo the racist knot in the minds of even people close to me, and looking out for institutional racism has become almost second nature to me.

As I think about how to move forward though, I think back to that 13 year old girl. That girl who believed that the only solution to the conflict in the middle east was the elimination of all Arabs (I grew into my sense of irony). That girl, who was changed one day, by the realization that she was a work in progress.

So now, as I try to be a better ally, I realize that it starts with taking a page out of 13 year-old-me’s notebook and calling myself out.

I’m a racist, still. It’s probably mostly in the stuff I don’t notice. Crap I see today as pragmatic that in yet another dozen years will seem completely idiotic. I learn every day of things I thought nothing of that are hurtful to people of colour.

We are born into a world that infects us with this condition and lever lets up, but all it takes is for us to be brave enough to seek out the treatment. It might involve invasive surgery into your psyche, daily doses of brain food, and external help, but it can be beaten.

All of that though, has to start with an honest conversation about who we are.

My name is Tali, and I am a racist, but I am trying really hard to be a bit less so every day.

 

If you have some time, this article walks you through the evolution of racism and its place in history through the lens of a diagnosis and it’s a terrific read.

If you’d like to learn about the history of the N word and how it has come to carry the meaning it does, this is an excellent (and heartbreaking) essay to read. It helps to know why words matter.

If you’re interested in becoming active in combating white supremacy, check out some information about what the community is seeking in their allies. This is a decent place to start, but there is lots out there. Then find a local group, and ask them specifically what they’d like from you.

Why everyone should live in a “poor” neighbourhood

They say money is the greatest equalizer. I think that’s barely even half right. Unfortunately, being rich really doesn’t insulate marginalized communities from discrimination. Really, even poverty isn’t a total equalizer, but it’s about as close as you’re going to get.

That’s why I think everyone should, even if you can afford a “nicer” place, spend some time living in a neighbourhood that people cringe about.

Continue reading “Why everyone should live in a “poor” neighbourhood”

More than just victims

There are so many excellent articles out there about the significance of the murder of young Michael Brown and how his case was handled by the authorities.

Here is a very thorough and impartial summary of the court’s findings provided by the CBC. Warning, it’s still pretty infuriating.

The BBC featured some very interesting reactions to the shooting and protests from other nations Here.

The Globe and Mail featured a hopeful article discussing ways in which people have come together to get momentum building to cause meaningful change here.

Even Cracked has done a bit of investigative journalism on the matter, and their results are also pretty infuriating.

There are many many more and now with Tamir Rice things continue to escalate, but that isn’t actually what I’d like to talk about, because black people are much much more than their involvement with police.

What I’d like to talk about is the awesome stuff black people have done when they weren’t being shot dead in the street for the crime of having built in SPF15. Continue reading “More than just victims”

What’s up with negativity, anyway?

I’m going to try something different for the next few days. I’m going to ONLY share articles that address social injustice in a positive light. I don’t mean the kind of “there is no social injustice” or “social injustice, YAY!” (full disclosure – I’m not sure those exist) type of articles. I mean ones that only talk about either positive change or feel good posts. Here’s why. Continue reading “What’s up with negativity, anyway?”