I’ve heard it argued numerous times that I have Donald K. Trump’s victory to thank for Tales from the 2.9’s popularity, with Canada and the US’ visible minority populations alike knowing fear and apprehension like never before.
But that’s not exactly right.
Our Black brothers and sisters were still meeting untimely ends by a police force who put no value in their lives in 2016. We still made up entirely too much of our urban centres’ fringes, representing a disenfranchised people withheld from the hope or power needed to break away from the negative cycle they’ve been thrust into. We still had to constantly prove our worth, knowing there’re all too many people waiting for us to slip so they can paint us with the brush of negativity that popular culture seems to favour all too often.
Sure, when Trump won the election, America’s ugly side surfaced with a brazenness we hadn’t seen in ages, but how different were things really?
These thoughts in mind, in the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I thought why not look back at an unpublished post from last year’s Tales and see how the world’s shifted in the year since?
Jem Jackson’s piece touches on an element of Canadian race relations we rarely bring to light—while racism’s often not as overt as we see it down south, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s far subtler, to the point we might not even consciously know we’re doing it. It could be an unsolicited touching of hair. Addressing your Black friends differently because you’re “homies”. Choosing a seat on the bus anywhere other than next to the Black person, because you never know what might happen. We come with our biases and assumptions galore, and it’s far too seldom that anyone calls people on it.
So I’m happy to see Jem’s not about to just let that slide.
But I’ll let Jem tell her own story. I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll catch you tomorrow with another Tale from the 2.9!
Many Black Canadians come from families who sacrificed plenty to give them the lives they have today. What do you know of your family history and how has it shaped your current self?
My family history has definitely shaped who am I today. We didn’t have much in terms of material things but I wouldn’t trade anything for the life lessons that I had the privilege of learning. I grew up in a very political family involved in the Civil Rights movement – so I had the experience of witnessing my father sacrifice a lot for the Black community and be a change-maker. I also had the experience of living with and learning from my mother, who was a single mom – she taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to and that faith and hard work is necessary for success.