Black Canadians Are Afraid To Be Black
I was talking to Aulelia, via e-mail the other day, and noticed she is so in tune with her blackness. Aulelia has a wonderful blog go check it out Charcoal Ink it is on my blog roll. Aulelia is a strong black woman she was born in Tanzania and raised in the UK.
Maybe ,that’s the reason Aulelia is so passionate about black politics is because she’s not a black Canadian LOL!
Aulelia was born in a country that has a large black population that wasn’t polluted with the white supremacy that permeates Canadian society. I am serious, in Canada ,black Canadian people we try too hard to fit in. We are never going to “fit” in here. The white Canadian majority always makes sure of that.
Black Canadians we are only discussed in the Canadian media when something negative occurs. Black Canadians we are the classic scapegoats in Toronto. There is a social hierarchy in Canada the whites are at the apex, Asian Canadians, black Canadians, and at the bottom with the Aboriginals.
When I utilize the term “social hierarchy” I am not suggesting that blacks, Asians, or Aboriginals should think we are inferior to white people because we are not. Since race is a social construction, I am illustrating that the “system” meaning the “media” attempts to dehumanize people of colour through language and images. For instance, the language in newspapers, television reports, radio broadcasts that are negative against people of colour sometimes reinforces white cultural domination.
Black activists such as Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, and black lesbian Canadian feminist Dionne Brand’s work are so important because they are utilizing language as a weapon a tool to empower the black race. Fanon, Brand, and hooks are attempting to find solutions for blacks to help ourselves.
Black Canadian lesbian feminist, Dionne Brand’s books, “A Map To The Door Of No Return” and “BRead Out Of Stone” are also very important books. I urge you all to read Brand’s books at the local public library or buy them. You will learn so much about the issues black Canadians encounter in Canada. It is important for people of colour to be “enlighten witnesses’ to ” White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy” this is a term black American feminist bell hooks created. hooks book “Outlaw Culture” reminds people of colour the media have their own agenda and that’s a white agenda. We have to be cognizant of this.
I am not stating that this social hierarchy is “static”. I am illustrating my view, different races are treated differently by the mainstream Canadian media. Asian Canadians are not attacked the same way as black Canadians are that’s a fact. Of course, Asian Canadians encounter racial discrimination I am not suggesting that they don’t. Also some Asian Canadians have racist prejudices and racist views against black Canadians as well.
Anyway, Aulelia is so proud to be black I love that about her! I also notice that I need to reconnect with blackness. In America, the African Americans are incredible people they are so organized and they don’t let “anybody” mess with them. Remember the Don Imus controversy? The African Americans quickly organized and gave Don Imus the boot! I love that about the African Americans they are righteous black people and they don’t take crap from anybody. You cannot mess with the African Americans.
For some reason, my perspective is, black Canadians we are afraid to be black. We are afraid, to stand up for ourselves and speak our minds. Aulelia is correct black people we need to be our own leaders and stop worrying about what other people think.
Now let me explain. Some black Canadians believe if we “don’t” talk about race we can pretend racism doesn’t exist. It seems to me in Canada some black Canadians believe if we follow the mythical norm and pretend “race issues” don’t matter things will be all gravy. However, it isn’t true. Black Canadians we definitely need to let our voices be heard about the black focus schools issue.
Aulelia is very passionate about the black race and African politics. Aulelia introduced me to the great French Caribbean liberation writer Frantz Fanon. How many black Canadian teens know about Dionne Brand, Evelyn Lau, Makeda Silvera? I have to confess in Canada the attitude is all about assimilation and integration. But is that the right solution though to try to be like “everyone else” wouldn’t blackness be displaced? It is important for black Canadians to make sure blackness is at the center. Black Canadian kids need to be proud of the black culture and build their self esteem.
The Canadian media promote this racist mythology of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism doesn’t exist in Canada that’s a complete lie. Canada is all about conforming to whiteness. According to the 2006 census black Canadians we are the third largest minority group in Canada with an estimated population of 783,800. However, if you pick up a Canadian newspaper, turn on the news, or listen to CBC radio it is all whiteness it has nothing to with people of African descent.
If I want to listen to black political issues I have to search the internet for foreign stations. I listen to a black British woman Jumoke Fashola’s radio show on BBC Radio London. I also listen to Michel Martin’s wonderful black radio program “Tell Me More” on NPR on American radio.
Thank goodness for the internet! In Toronto we have one black radio station in Toronto 93.5 yet 93.5 is afraid to be black. 93.5 is so white these days I can’t believe it is called “Urban Radio”. 93.5 sounds like any of the other white Canadian radio stations it has nothing to do with the black Canadian race. Race issues and black politics are off limits on 93.5 radio.
Whenever black people attempt to organize something the mythical norm attempts to try to tear us down. Last year, an African American speaker wanted to speak to black students at Ryerson University about black community uplift. Well surprise, surprise, the white Jews and the mythical norm shut the event down. Once again the mythical norm is up to no good. Once again, when black Canadians try to help our children the system tries to “put blacks in our place”. One step forward two steps back.
For instance, the Toronto District School Board has approved the the Black Focus Schools. However, the black focus school is only for Kindergarten to grade five. Isn’t this a complete cop out? Give me a break! The issue here is the secondary school level 40% of black teens are dropping out of school that’s a scary statistic. It also means almost half of black teens aren’t graduating high school I think this a crisis. The Toronto District School Board now wants a “study” conducted. It is just a stalling tactic it is racist and total bullshit. Next, you have some people claiming the black focus school is segregation. The TDSB hopes black Canadians we will “forget” about the fact the system is failing our children!
Black children are already marginalized by racist teachers, a racist curriculum, and a racist anti black Canadian society. Black children have to read racist books such as Mark Twain’s work or Harper Lee’s racist novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Shakespeare in grade twelve. Why is white culture pushed down the throats of black children? Why can’t black kids read more books by black authors? And why is this such a struggle? The black kids already are treated rather unfairly yet Premier Dalton McGunity is dragging his heels as usual to find a solution. Black activists and black educators are being proactive taking a stand stating this is a “crisis”. I am glad an Afrocentric school is going to open in September 2009 for the young black children. However, I also believe this is all smokes and mirrors. The Toronto District School Board wants to appear as though they are “taking” action. The truth is the TDSB is doing nothing because the crisis is at the high school level. Some black teens are depressed, they feel alienated, they feel unworthy and hopeless.
Next, you know the racist teachers and principals are saying privately “well the whites and Asian kinds are doing well why can’t the blacks do well?” Why haven’t more black teachers been hired by the TDSB? Only 5.2% of the teachers in Toronto are black. Also only 9.6% of the principals and vice principals are black. Black children need to see educators that look like them that will invest their time and energy and believe in them. Why can’t black teens read Frantz Fanon, Dionne Brand, Makeda Silvera, or George Elliott Clarke? Well anyone that has bothered to read Audre Lorde, or Dionne Brand’s work knows the answer. The system treats black people differently then Asians. For some reason blacks we are thought of as more of a “threat” because we are very outspoken about race relation issues.