And I quote, Mary Church Terrell, clubwoman, businesswoman, activist, 1906 “The chasm between the principles upon which this Government was founded … and those which are daily practiced under the protection of the flag, yawns so wide and deep.” — end quote,
A friend recently told me, in reference to the numbers of unmarked graves being uncovered at residential schools, that this has gone on for decades and it’s never going to change so let’s just move on. Although I understand, as someone who has activism in my DNA I can’t sit back while social justice is ripped apart by complacency. This is one of those times and it is being fuelled by the twisted ideology of elected officials. While the venom that has been allowed to co-opt an actual protest by a number of, let’s not fool ourselves, a bunch of self-entitled racists. Democratic protestors do not go around waving signs of hate (Swastika’s, Confederate flags, etc) while also openly promoting the Trump 2024 signs. What country are we living in?
I have to wonder what would have helped propel the “civil rights” if Rosa Parks had adopted that attitude and “gave” up her bus seat on that fateful day, December 1, 1955. Rosa and her husband had been members of the of the League of Women Voter since 1943 so the wheels of social justice do move slowly but forward movement does take place. The following article one I first published on June 22, 2015 and what has really changed?
I was as saddened this past week, as millions were, when Dylann Roof, on June 17, 2015, boldly and viciously walked into a historical church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine people. Unfortunately I wasn’t shocked which is even more saddening. Apparently Sandy Hook taught us nothing. Whether we want to admit it or not racism is alive and well not only in the States but in Canada as well.
Today President Barrack Obama used the “n….” word in a public interview causing an outrage. To me there is not a more disgusting word than the “n” one (I can’t even write it) but it is all to real. Just because we have made it politically incorrect to use this word publicly doesn’t mean racist attitudes are not still out there. The erosion of that word has been based more on political correctness than changes in societal beliefs.
Yes there have been positive steps in the past but it seems for every two steps forward we have politicians who like to take some steps backwards as well. The most recent, I have noticed in Canada, is the whole approach to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Canada there have been over 1100 murdered or missing aboriginal women over the past thirty years but we have a government that doesn’t see that as a “societal issue”. Convince me that’s not racism…(buzzer sounds) too late!
I can understand the frustration President Obama must be feeling. He decided to make a very strong point by using very strong language. It seems you can’t open a news site these days without seeing a story about another attack on some marginalized group, particularly African Americans. Sometimes you need to shock people to get your point across and I’m assuming Obama felt the need for shock!
Racism is not necessarily overt, it is often disguised as good will. There was a time when people believed they were helping the blacks of America by applying what today are considered racist acts. That same philosophy permeates around persons with disabilities. The treatment and attitudes towards the disabled are just a polite form of racism. It’s disguised as a way to help but it is nothing short of a gentle form of racism.
Why is it not considered “racist” when bumper stickers get sold on line accusing the disabled of being “lazy” for using disabled parking stickers? How can the death of 27 year old Lee Irving, a disabled member of the community being called a “hate crime” not be seen as racist? The forcible sterilization of persons with disabilities cannot be seen as anything but racist. Worse, that practice is growing again while being hidden behind the “good intentions” of “we are protecting them from themselves” generally used by Child Protection agencies. Whether people like to admit it or not this is another form of racism albeit dressed up to look like someone is helping.
Forty years after amending the Canadian Building Code to ensure physical access the Ontario government will now look into accessibility issues. Why has it taken this long to recognize the need for a strong will to ensure access is there? Why do companies like Uber get a pass on not having to provide accessible service? Quebec recently finished a study on the income inequalities faced by members of the community living with a disability.
Four years ago I did a YouTube video about Mitchell Wilson. He was an 11 year old disabled child who felt it was better to tie a plastic bag around his head and never wake up rather than face anymore bullying at school. Rather than face the bullies’ in the court case he went to bed the night before the court case was to be heard, tied a plastic bag around his head and his parents found him in the morning. The school administrators had been aware of the ongoing bullying for almost six months while “they looked into it”. That one had a very strong affect on me. When an 11 year old disabled child can be bullied by other students and THEN “victimized” by the very body responsible for his school safety just, in my mind, gives a strong indication of the systemic denial within so many of our legislated system. I’m sorry you can’t convince me that isn’t a form of racism.
Until we all stand together and say enough is enough this will never change. We now live in a country where democracy has been so eroded people are afraid to speak up. And those that do speak up, thanks to Bill C-51, can be arrested, unchallenged, for doing so.
I have recently been told by one of my own family members that I have no idea what I’m talking about. That I should be proud and give up this sense of “entitlement” I apparently exhibit. That’s the covert bullying I deal with almost everyday to the point where I hate leaving my apartment so I don’t have to face that ignorance.
Bullying is alive and growing in Canada. Bullying feeds racism and threatens anyone who challenges it. If you really want to see how bullying works watch the Harper government in Question Period some day. Bullying is alive and well there. If people don’t start taking a chance and demand change we won’t have a choice anymore.
If I have sufficiently shocked you then I have accomplished something. I am anything but “politically correct” and if I let politically correct attitudes erode the successes seen in social justice these days, then my life has been totally meaningless. This is the part of those who know me don’t understand. My activism over the years has really been about improving the quality for others (and I am not trying to say I’m any kind of saint, believe me I AM NO SAINT) however out of the ashes of some of my biggest screw ups comes an awareness that needs to be constantly monitored. In the world of social justice and disability, one has to be their own advocate. Too many people will tell me what they think I want to hear but once they leave, it becomes a forgotten idea. Have a good day 🙂
Just one man’s opinion!
P.S. it drives me nuts that I have to republish this kind of stuff however I do believe things can change, I’ve seen it and experienced so I can’t stop now. Up until 1976 I couldn’t even sign a “lease” for an apartment without a co-signer because I was disabled. Although that may not seem like a big change, you build a cobble stone pathway one brick at a time.