We live in a society that privileges white people and whiteness. As a result, racist ideas are considered normal throughout our media, culture, social systems and institutions. Racist views have been used (and still continue to be used) to justify the oppression of people of colour through mechanisms such as enslavement, segregation, internment, policing and surveillance. While racism can exist through individual mindsets and actions, it can also manifest itself in policies and institutions. To create an equal society, we must commit to making unbiased choices and being antiracist in all aspects of our lives.
Being antiracist is fighting against racism. It results from the conscious decision to make frequent, consistent and equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions in society. Being racist or antiracist is not about who you are; it is about what you do.
"Having been enslaved for 250 years, black people were not left to their own devices. They were terrorized. In the Deep South, a second slavery ruled. In the North, legislatures, mayors, civic associations, banks, and citizens all colluded to pin black people into ghettos, where they were overcrowded, overcharged, and undereducated. Businesses discriminated against them, awarding them the worst jobs and the worst wages. Police brutalized them in the streets. And the notion that black lives, black bodies, and black wealth were rightful targets remained deeply rooted in the broader society. Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, “Never again.” But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us.
Broach the topic of reparations today and a barrage of questions inevitably follows: Who will be paid? How much will they be paid? Who will pay? But if the practicalities, not the justice, of reparations are the true sticking point, there has for some time been the beginnings of a solution. For the past 25 years, Congressman John Conyers Jr., who represents the Detroit area, has marked every session of Congress by introducing a bill calling for a congressional study of slavery and its lingering effects as well as recommendations for “appropriate remedies.”"
Canadians routinely criticize social welfare policies, police brutality, race-related tensions and racism in the Unites States and simultaneously compare those issues with those in Canada. Not surprisingly, the comparison places Canada, Canadians and its policies at the centre of a growing narcissistic outlook about what Canada stands for with respect to human rights in a global context and especially in relation to countries in the Global North. This paper addresses institutional racial violence against African Canadians using a Critical Race Theory counter story orientation. The discussion focuses on police encounters with African Canadians by way of two examples which led to emotional harm and death of members of the African Canadian community in Toronto. The argument herein challenges Canada’s reputation of having comprehensive human rights policies that address systemic racism and further exposes not only the insidiousness of Canadian anti-Black racism but the racialized rhetoric of community blaming that policy makers often adopt and endorse when African Canadians’ rights are obliterated resulting in their re-victimization and death.