I’ve BLOG’s on this before, but it’s even more applicable in current times.
I’ve always known that there was something different about my upbringing. My mother raised me and my two brothers and sister to reflect her values and one of those values was how to treat people. The key word in that last sentence is People. She was very clear that there is no such thing as black people, yellow people, brown people, there are just people. She was also clear that there should be no special treatment for women over men or vice versa.
On that last point she may have missed the mark just a bit. I listened to what I was taught and when I played co-ed hockey in public school, I hit the girls just as hard as the guys. That didn’t end well and was actually not the right thing to do. I was a very literal child.
Earlier in 2019, I found myself uncomfortable with posts and emails from the LGBTQ community at work. I was concerned that perhaps I was becoming racist in some way and spent several weeks analyzing my feelings. I was on the way back from the studio in Perth listening to CBC radio and I heard an interview with Ibram Kendi. He had recently published a book called “How to be an antiracist” and the interviewer was asking him questions about the book. He explained that growing up as a Jamaican in the USA, he was told at an early age that he was different. He looked back on his childhood and realized that the way he was living his life was racist. He explained that he was on a course that would have stunted his education and handicapped him from reaching his full potential. He wrote the book to explain that being an antiracist requires people to realize the subtle things that we do that cause us to be racist.
I realized at that moment that I already was an antiracist. Things like “Black Lives Matter” make me uncomfortable because I don’t recognize that the colour of a person’s skin makes them any different than me. The sexual preferences of an individual does not make them different either. In order to beat racism we have to treat each other as people and stand up as people against things that define us any other way. The black lives matter movement is long overdue and I support them and their cause, I just don’t agree with the name.
We need to irradiate racism, white privilege and anything else that treats people different because we are not different. We need to make sure that everything we do is inclusive not divisive. We need to discourage groups from selecting names and slogans that promote differences.
Only then will racism cease to exist.
“The person I am” is track number 13 on the album “Wind & Fire”.