Turn on your radio or television any given day since that shocking May 25, 2020 event in America, which was seen around the world and continues to reverberate ever since and there’s invariably some reference to racism.
At times, when I’m listening to/watching certain discourses I can’t help thinking I’m so tired of it all; what with all the platitudes and what-nots. But nothing deeply socially meaningful seems to change. Which evokes the old cliché: “The more things change…”
So I can imagine practitioners of the bad social practice and behaviour blocking their ears with over-sized Q-Tips out of disgust, and or covering their eyes with anything that will mute the sound of voices talking race, racism ad nauseam, or anything related to the subject.
As if not talking about the topic will muffle the sounds of the words being spoken, bring some semblance of relief to those who are tired, fed up… with the mention of the word, racism, the original sin of many, or magically bring about its extinction.
Whomever you are, I know how you feel; I get tired of hearing certain topics echoing in my mind sometimes; but this one — historically imposed on people like me — is difficult to play down, or neglect. It’s one that has been imposed on people like me by virtue of that so-called “social construct” race and birth; it’s akin to a historical birthright.
In listening to the recurrent conversations on discourse on the subject — redundant as it sometimes might be, I listen whenever I can to whom is saying what. Some might be sincere; others are not, just spitting in the wind.
Having inhabited the planet for more than a few years, I believe I’ve earned the right to be wary, skeptical, to formulate opinions on the world and personal life experiences so far.
True the “race” issue and resulting conversations and discussions have generally be-come so cumbersome, laborious, and tiresome at times… so it makes me wander if the perennial talk fest is just another way of distracting us, another way of giving us a sense of hope on what some might think and believe are all that interests us, our pri-mary raison d’être, as we try and push forward, ensuring that things that matter to us are not simply lost in specious talk and words… promising hope.
In the process injecting newfangled terms in the daily racism talk to describe Black peo-ple and other so-called “visible minorities,” “people of colour,” “Black and brown” peo-ples…
The new fangled racial descriptives just keep coming, gradually making their way into common daily parlance.
Another way to distract, create cultural schisms or “one-upmanship?”
Well, no! Always something to do. In fact it’s always unfinished necessary work in pro-gress to do.
And as I’m stringing these words for this rant on the seemingly perennial matter of ra-cism on Sunday, May 29, there’s an apropos and pertinent historic discussion vis-a-vis the history of Black Canada (Black Canadians and their ongoing service to the nation) on CBC television. So I naturally took a break to take listen: BREAKING NEWS: GOV’T PLANS APOLOGY FOR ALL-BLACK CANADIAN BATTALION screamed the CBC television headline.
It’s the story of The No. 2 Construction ALL Black Battalion, about the systemic discrimination faced/endured by Black Canadian men who went to Europe to do their patriotic chore for the nation. They were Black, so naturally they were given the grunt work; no guns though. Guess the generals had doubts about their patriotism, or didn’t think they could be trusted with that killing tool.
Check the Internet and, if you do not already know, learn more about Black peo-ples’ little known, or unknown, war time contributions to Canada’ history, includ-ing its military history.
I met and knew a few men over the years (including a grand-uncle and some of his friends) all of whom did their part for Canada. Some of these men, now deceased, were regulars at historic Union United Church, and also became veritable Black community icons in their own right. They’ve also made their contributions to the Canadian fabric in different ways…
As someone, in responding to the announcement “…too bad it wasn’t done during this year’s Black History season.”
So in watching that CBC announcement I too was thinking too bad announcement didn’t happen a month earlier.
Call it another bit of Black History unearthed. The person making the an-nouncement was Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minis-ter.
Apparently there will be a formal ceremony to acknowledge that battalion in the coming months. Stay tuned.
“To the winner goes the spoils” the old adage goes. And given our history in this country, Black Canadians of African descent know that all too well.
Racism fatigue? No! No time to be tired. Come too far to turn back now, goes that spiritual song.
As a gentleman said to me many years many years ago during a conversa-tion:
“Until lions learn how to write stories/tales will be told by the hunter…” That was his version.
There are different versions, but this one sounds right me.
So a bit of GOOGLING provided another, what might be the true version:
“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will glorify the hunter.”
Chinua Achebe, the great Nigerian Author, Novelist, Professor and Poet.
Anyway it’s stated it makes sense, is true! Make a mental note!