END OPPRESSION WITH ONE THOUGHT
I believe we could end oppression with ONE THOUGHT! But will we? Will white privilege stop this from happening?
As the trial for George Floyd opens this week, this has been on my mind. I have difficulty understanding oppressive thought and I simply do not understand supremacy of any kind!
In my social circles I often hear “ALL LIVES MATTER.” Such statements are dismissive of the BLM movement. We have all felt dismissed at some time in our lives. Remember how that feels?
ALL LIVES HAVE NOT MATTERED. This IS NOT the truth of the world we live in. Slavery and segregation make my point. The death of George Floyd, makes my point. The slaughter of Indigenous people, even in recent times, makes my point. People of colour are underemployed, earn less money, experience more malnutrition and indeed more starvation, as compared to their white counterparts. Unfair treatment in the healthcare system is another issue. Oppressed communities have suffered significantly during the pandemic and YES, all of this is true in Canada.
The end of oppression with one thought, begins with the lesson of one voice. I often wonder about the power of ONE VOICE. CAN ONE VOICE MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Here is what I know. When every individual voice makes itself heard, a MOVEMENT is born and the BLM movement needs all voices urgently. At stake is the health and safety of society as a whole.
The Freedom Foundation states on their website “Often the power of just one voice is enough to alter the course of events.” Having a voice gives a person a way to express their beliefs. Social movements begin “when individuals with grievances are able to mobilize sufficient resources to take action”(Lumen Learning Boundless Sociology).” Resources include financial backing and human voices and in this instance, human voices are the most significant!
Jury selection in the Derek Chauvin trial finished last week and NBCnews.com reported the result of that selection. The link provided gives you the details, the sex, the age and the colour of the jury who will decide this case. The jury selection was a time consuming process, with 95 potential jurors not making the cut.
When I read that article I asked myself, can George Floyd get justice? Can justice be served for the Floyd family? The Floyd family is not the only family to have sought justice in the death of a loved one. Jimmy Cloutier was shot and killed by police in Montreal on Jan. 6, 2017. The police officer was not charged. Rodney Levi was shot and killed by police in Miramichi, N.B. on June 12, 2020. Again, the RCMP officer was not charged. In Canada, the issue of extreme force used by the police, is prevalent for Indigenous peoples. We could end oppression with one thought.
AN INCLUSIVE MOVEMENT
BLM Canada states on their website that their movement cannot exist separate from indigenous peoples. “There is no Black Liberation without Indigenous Liberation on Turtle Island.” Indigenous people occupied North America for 1000’s of years before the Europeans arrived and settled their lands in the 11th Century. The arrival of the Europeans marked the beginning of slavery. As a country, Canada has segregated and suppressed the indigenous population. Members of Upper Canadian parliament owned slaves. THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT RACISM IN CANADA IS NOT AN URGENT ISSUE, need to read the facts and study our revealing history. I suggest that Canada needs to end oppression with this one thought, just as urgently as does the USA!
What is white privilege? “The reality that a White person’s whiteness has come—and continues to come—with an array of benefits and advantages not shared by many people of color. It doesn’t mean that I, as a White person, don’t work hard (I do) or that I haven’t struggled (well, I have known struggle), but simply that I receive help, often unacknowledged assistance, because I am White.” This description hit hard and true for me and is quoted from an article in Yes! Magazine.
Many people take issue with the idea of white privilege. There is no debate. My privilege is obvious!
- I did not grow up afraid of the local police! I have confidently approached officers in the past, without hesitancy.
- People of MY colour were in the majority when I went to school.
- I was educated, in detail, about the history of my people.
- My grandchildren read picture books when the were young, where everyone in the book looked like them.
- Media in 2021 is improving, but still, grab a magazine and look at the ads! Turn on the TV! White-focused media everywhere!
- History has miraculously whipped out all the bad things my people have done!
- I do not deal with the stress of racism, DAILY!
- Employment brings me many benefits. People of colour who are underemployed, do not receive such benefits.
- I have not had to have THE TALK with my children or grandchildren and you all know exactly what TALK I mean!
LARGEST SOCIAL MOVEMENT OF OUR TIME!
The BLM movement is perhaps the largest social movement in North America. Why? Because the injustice brought upon people of colour is the biggest problem facing modern society! Here we are in the 21st century and not all children are safe. Not all elderly get the same care. Not all applicants for jobs are considered equally. For the last four years, the USA was lead by a man with ties to white supremacy movements, emboldening them and setting back gains previously made.
Some believe that people of colour are in search of privilege. EQUALITY IS NOT PRIVILEGE. IT IS A RIGHT! Professor Finnie Colemen (University of New Mexico) states this, “Black Lives Matter doesn’t want to be given anything. Instead, he said, what Black people want is to be able to leave their homes, to peacefully assemble and address government without fearing for their lives.” Also, “In every institution, whether it’s religious, academic, governmental, economic, all aspects of American life, the WANT is to be treated equally.”
Every human heart beats the same way, yet every human being cannot wake up each day and feel safe in our world, knowing society supports them in every way possible.
THE ONE THOUGHT
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant, the thoughts of having a child and being a parent. Teasingly, I tell my daughter (almost 36), that the only thing better than having your own kids, is having grand kids. I was nearby to hear both of my grandson’s first cries! It was a feeling that is truly hard to describe! That is the thought I refer to.
I am not naive enough to believe that every parent has the same joy. There are instances when that is not the case. However, I know enough of us do. It does not matter where you live, what country you are in, how old you are or WHAT COLOUR your skin is, that PURE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, that thought and that feeling, is the same.
We are suppressing someone’s baby with prejudice! We hurt someone’s parent with injustice. Does human kind believe that the love one parent has for their child, is more important than someone else’s? APPARENTLY WE DO!
The BLM movement is NECESSARY, URGENT and SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED. It will remain so, until this ONE THOUGHT is held predominantly in the minds of society as a whole. As allies, we must use our voices, in any way we can!