Thursday, January 08, 2009

My Prime Minister is white

A month later, the slogans and chants are still sinking in for me. "Yes We Can", "Yes We Did", "Progress", "The Change We Need", etc. Barack obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America and as a black man in the 21st Century, there is no other moment I can single out that has made me feel prouder to be black. Not simply because a black man is now the leader of the free world but rather, Americans were able to look past race and see that he was clearly the right man for the job. Now I am far too young and far too Canadian to remember the Civil Rights Movement but this is a country that as recently as 43 years ago didn't even allow black people to vote, let alone run for public office. "Progress" has most definitely been made and never again will we be considered 3/5th of a person but will any of that progress affect the way we do things politically north of the 49th parallel? If you're asking me, I'll tell you right now, straight up...Not a chance.

The main reason why the faces of our politicians and the face of our country won't change is because no one ever acknowledges the fact that we have a problem with racism in this country. I'm gonna let you in on a little secret that some of you probably already know and will probably offend the rest of you, racism in Canada is more dangerous than racism in America. I'll repeat that, racism in Canada is more dangerous than racism in American. You might think I've lost it but hear me out. When was the last time you saw a minority take public office or promoted to a position of power such as police chief in this country? Hell, when was the last time a minority was a party leader, strong candidate or under consideration for one of the aforementioned roles? I'll give you a moment to think on that..........................

Need a lil while longer? That's cool, I'll wait........................

Give up?

Don't feel too bad though, it was a trick question because the scenario I described has NEVER happened in Canada. So while Americans are making progress towards racial equality (and don't think for a second that I think they are anywhere close just because there are black people in the WHITE House. That's a long road and they've just decided to stand up and start walking down it after years of crawling on the soft shoulder) any such advancement is illusionary in this country.

The lack of representation isn't why I feel that minorites are in danger, the thing that worries me most is that racism in this country is systemic, meaning that the way things currently are were strategically constructed in that manner so that a) to the naked eye, it appears that everyone has an equal opportunity in Canada and b) the reaction of anyone who does recognize this racism for what it is and its impact is usually nothing more than "Meh". Let's face it, this is not a closely guarded conspiracy orchestrated by a secret society in the tunnels and catacombs benneath Parliament Hill, these are the very policies and customs on which this country was founded on and for the most part, still adhere to. Do you realize that until 26 years ago, our Constitution was unconstitutional? That people were living in this country not knowing what rights they had or, more importantly, what rights they didn't? So it took 115 years for someone to fix that little oversight of the British monarchy, how long do you think it will be until they level the playing field for the darkies? Probably Neverary 32nd right?

We are talking about a "democracy" where the general population can vote for whichever political party they choose, they just are not permitted to choose who leads that party. Wait...what? So I can be a card-carrying Liberal supported through and through but I have no say on who guides the party by their own ideals? The purpose that this serves is to ensure that no matter the social climate of the nation, no matter the fact that demographics have changed drastically over the past 30 years, no matter a person's past mistakes (or in most cases, atrocities), there will always be handpicked leaders in the House of Commons and you won't ever see the Canadian equivalent of Obama vs. Clinton in the primaries. As monumental as a black man taking on a woman for leadership of the democratic party was for America, the very notion probably evokes nightmares in the members of the party caucuses in Canada. Not solely because a black man or a woman were running but because they wouldn't be able to control the outcome. Let's face it, the party members have their conventions and their own constitutions but there really is no process governing how the leaders are chosen, the caucus just gathers and selects a poster boy. What part about this process is democratic? Democracy in Canada is dead, we proved that when over 40% of eligible voters stayed home instead of exercising their franchise in the last election. We proved that when the opposition ganged up and tried to capture control of the government without an election. We proved it when our Prime Minister shut down Parliament in order to save his ass. The line between democracy and oligarchy is not thin at all. The most disheartening thing about the lay of the land here is the fact that things today are not much different than the way things were in 1867. There are no signs of change on the horizon and no desire by anyone in a position of power to disturb this preconceived "natural" order of things. Do you really think David Miller, Dalton McGuinty, Stephen Harper or any of the rest of em are in a rush to level the playing field? Hells no! They want their 150 year head start and to make sure you have to run uphill to try and catch up. So we can wear "PROGRESS" t-shirts with Obama's face plastered all over them, trying to pretend that we accomplished something on November 4, 2008 too but unfortunately, NO WE CAN'T

Monday, January 05, 2009


It's a very dangerous thing when you start letting your emotions interfere with your everyday life. You get distracted easily, you can't focus and you stop thinking rationally. It cause you to act on impulse and do or say things that you do not mean to do or say. Common sense eludes you and whatever path you choose, no matter how convoluted, always seems like the right one. I'm trying to let go of my emotions so that I make sound decisions and avoid hurting myself and those around me. I'm doing what I have to now so I can do what I want to later and I can't let all of the ups and downs that life throws out at me push me off course...I have too many people counting on me.
Can't win for losing

I always have a goal in mind regardless of what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and who I'm doing it with. There is certainly nothing wrong with being goal-oriented but sometimes I stop looking at all the steps between where I am and where I want to be. I always want to get there now, overlooking the consequences of my actions in the meantime. Things get said that really aren't meant and shouldn't have been said in the first place, people get uneasy, feelings get hurt. Worst of all is the fact that I'm always so hard on myself. I can't help but take things personally, no matter what kind of front I put up. If I don't get my way I feel like a failure and as often as I talk to you within these pages, you know how much I hate to fail. Today was one of those days, when I saw my goal and only my goal, and I didn't stop to think about what course of action I was taking. Only thing is now I feel tentative about going forward. I don't just feel like I lost, I feel like I can't win.
Till It Happens To You

It is easy to evaluate, ridicule and criticize a situation when you're on the outside looking in. No matter how much you have invested in the issue, the outcome ultimately does not affect you. You always hear that quarterback is the most difficult position to play in all of sports, well, if that is the case, Monday morning quarterback must be the easiest. But all that goes out the window when it's happening to you, right out the window onto the front lawn along with logic, common sense and discretion. No one likes it when the joke's on them but it cuts just a little deeper when you've watched countless others (or maybe yourself even) make the same mistakes before you and you've even chastised that person for those past follies then grab the table salt and pour that shit in. I don't embarrass easy but I get red in the face (I don't mean that literally, obviously) when I make the same gaffe more than once. I find myself traveling a very familiar road as of late, getting caught up in the excitement of the trip and missing all of the warning signs along the way. Thankfully, I've been blessed with serenity, courage and wisdom. The serenity to accept the things in my life that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Sometimes you have to stop and think about where it is you are headed and whether or not there is a better path to that destination than the one that you are on. Luckily, I didn't have to turn back and start my trip all over again, I just had to slow down a bit. Y'know, put it in 3rd and cruise for a while. I will get there eventually, after all.