Dear Readers - In the growing momentum of a sorely-needed anti-racist movement, for full and equal civil rights vs. police harassment and brutality directed at a person’s skin colour, I cannot ignore the relationships in mixed-race families, like mine.
There are three colours among my closest family members (also two different religions and three different traditions in practicing those religions.)
This is normal in Canada, from the perspective of my relatives.
What’s not normal, and has never been acceptable, is the worry/fear we feel for the African-American children who are our family and who live in the US.
From their earliest age possible, their mother’s been strict in making them understand that when she says, “Stop,” about even mild misbehaviour, they must stop.
As a white woman without the lived experience of overt racism, I didn’t get it, initially. I thought the reaction was unnecessary with little kids.
I was wrong.
They’re bigger now, young boys, athletic, tall and looking older than their ages. It pains me to write this - typical targets for bully cops.
I’ve even had to watch and accept as necessary their father’s instructions on how to react if told, “Stop” by a police officer.
Stop immediately. Don’t move. Don’t speak. Hands visible. Don’t reach for anything. Do NOT run.
I know that this same life-saving mantra has also been taught to Black- and Brown-skinned children in Canada, by equally worried parents.
And, despite being aware of the dangers facing these kids - and countless adults for the same skin-colour reason or because they don’t look “right” to certain police who exercise brute force at will - many of us white people have uncomfortably just accepted the status quo.
Not this time. Not again. We must demand change, from any and every platform available to us.
We cannot turn away from the news, feeling disconnected and helpless, when, on May 27, an Indigenous Black woman in Toronto, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, alone in her apartment with police officers, fell 24-storeys from her apartment balcony, to her death.
We cannot just add Minneapolis’ George Floyd’s name to the shameful list, pinned face-down on the street May 25, handcuffed, with officer Derek Chauvin’s knee ground into his neck. Pleading for air to this man with 18 prior complaints filed against him. Held down by three other officers, even as he stopped moving.
Obstructed breathing for almost nine minutes. It is to howl with fury!
We owe it to all who’ve suffered this way for far more than decades - inhumanely, unjustly - to stay angry, and demand systemic changes, not just feel bad.
Reader’s Commentary “I’m a 79-year-old man frustrated by the myth that all evils are perpetrated by males against females.
“This attitude grew with the #MeToo movement.
“Sixty years ago, I learned that a co-worker was being routinely assaulted by his much bigger wife.
“I worked in a female-dominated profession and experienced/observed that women also make inappropriate comments and do inappropriate touching.
“I’m opposed to all inappropriate behaviour. I wish there was more honesty about what really happens.”
Ellie - Early in the #MeToo movement I invited readers to send their stories anonymously, urging both men and women to contribute.
The women’s stories were heartbreaking - young girls/women disbelieved by their parents, even blamed instead of their abuser.
Few men wrote, though their stories were equally wrenching. They also felt shame for having been abused.
Today, there’s no question that men suffer spousal abuse and inappropriate behaviour from women.
My boyfriend, 30, recently left his parents’ home and moved in with me.
I’ve explained that I don’t need as much time with his family/friends as he does. Sometimes, he’s there for dinner 4-8 hours.
It’s normal for him and his relatives.
He expects me to join them twice monthly for these extended hangouts.
I encourage him to go alone or for me to go for part of it. He refuses to compromise.
I see my parents once or twice monthly for dinner, often by myself, which he thinks is weird.
Is there something wrong with me? I care about my boyfriend and want to be with him, but not always with his parents and friends too.
What’s “wrong” is his refusal to compromise.
You’ve done so, by going for a while. Arriving later with a special dessert, say, is a nice, new pattern to try.
But if he can’t accept such differences, it won’t last.
Tip of the day:
For the anti-racism movement to succeed, we must be part of the change.