Here in the Great White North, residents north of the 49th parallel sat in their living rooms, wearing our toques and Team Canada jerseys sipping on our Molson or Timmies, with our bowl of popcorn, feeling pretty smug as we watched a deranged Donald Trump do his best imitation of a spoiled four year old who didn’t get his favourite toy in the store in the U.S. elections.
It I sad that we as humans are fascinated by dumpster fires. It is like driving by a horrific accident. It is sad, ugly, and sometimes grotesque but we can’t look away.
So there we sat there in bemusement or in some sort of faux, self-righteous indignation watching the potential start of what is being predicted as a race war in the States. There were some business owners were actually boarding up their store fronts for fear of rioting in the streets before the election results known.
No matter who won the election, there is that feeling the United States was heading towards a whole bunch of hurt. As we have witnessed in 2020, with the Black Lives Matter movement, the fighting back against recorded police brutality, subsequent illegal looting, peaceful and violent protests.
And here we sat thinking that sort of racism was just abhorrent, glad we live in Canada eh?
Well, I don’t think we should get that full of ourselves.. We have enough problems here.
Anyone who says they haven’t heard a racist joke, have never thought/experienced/witnessed/ racism is probably mistaken or delusional. There is systematic racism right here in Canada.
It happens because it allows those with low self esteem or anger-at-the-world issues feel better to take out their frustration out on someone else who is marginalized.
Ask yourself and be honest, have you ever thought something negative about someone of a different race without knowing a particular person’s situation i.e. culture or personal circumstance?
Is it a coincidence that most of the videos we see of police brutality involve a minority victim. There was an ugly situation in Calgary which was recently released where a law enforcement agent slammed an indigenous female head/facefirst into the floor while being detained at a holding cell.
If not sheer violence, then what has been created here is part of national legislation, law and political will.
Take for example the issues with just having safe drinking water on some Canadian reserves.
Seems normal to have drinking water right? Go over to the sink, turn your tap on and there it is. Yes, if you live in a rural area, chances are you have experienced boil water advisories. They last days, maybe weeks or rarely months.
Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario has had a boil water advisory for 25 years.
A media report came out recently that the federal government and Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller were working on it getting it rectified by December and the remaining 60 boil water advisory situations by March 2021. Those on the reserve say they have begged for the oily slime-filled water which cannot be drank or bathed in (just for toilets).
In talking with Farica Prince, inspector for the Blood Tribe Police Service, she says systemic racism is out there both on the front line and in the board rooms when she is fighting for more help for indigenous police forces.
Follow the gifted CBC Saskatchewan journalist Omayra Issa and her observations of what she experiences on the prairies. They are quite eye-opening.
Watch some news stories on the APTN network about systemic racism with situations in our own regions here on the prairies.
Yes, there seems to be a push back which is good. You can argue if you want about the criticism of #cancelculture and the renaming of institutions, buildings, roadways, and sports teams on school or professional level, but at least there’s acknowledgment.
We need to do better, but at least there’s a start.
And maybe that is why there is a small, arguably insignificant difference: there seems to be movement for improving things. Hopefully? Have to start somewhere, but we have a long way to go.
The first thing we have to do though is quit looking at the United States and think “at least we aren’t as bad as them.”
What we need to only concern ourselves about learning from our own mistakes here and eliminating racism in Canada/Alberta/Saskatchewan. Period.