Show Me You're 'Woke' in a Month, Not Now.
My title may seem a little harsh, but it comes from a place of love. I would like to make clear that this post refers to platforms that are not personal accounts like social enterprises, businesses, bloggers, influencers, creatives, etc. who are speaking up for the first time.
Referring to the poem I published last week, it has been a shock to the system to see the dramatic pivot of platforms' focal points.
There has been so much good that has come with the information and awareness wave, but there has been a lot of growing pains, and I respect that.
What has been hard to witness on some SM platforms are:
The "we are now inclusive friendly"
The "here is everything I'm/we are going to change, NOW"
The “look, I am educating myself”
The "I heard a BIPOC express themselves emotionally, now I will rephrase it in a powerful way to show the world I got the point".
(this does not include those previously doing the work of diversity inclusion and allyship)
I like to call the last one "case study syndrome" - When allies use the emotional stories of others to get their point across without credit or context.
I know for many it comes with good intentions, but sometimes it feels objectifying and non-genuine.
These moments make me think, pass the mic and let BIPOC tell their own stories.
This might sound like a "I'm damned if I do, I'm damned if I don't" kind of thing, but it's not.
What I am saying is share the words of people who experience these issues, don't summarize their existences.
What I am saying is don't tell the world how you've changed or what changes you're making on your platform, show us through your actions.
What would be best is to show respect by sharing resources, educating others about what you're learning - not so much what you're doing to change at this moment (stick with me, I'll get to that point).
As a POC myself, when I scroll on social media I am hyper-aware of which actors respect inclusivity, and which do not. For example, before I follow a platform on Instagram (unless it is someone I know) I check their branding for inclusivity- which is easy to tell by a quick scroll to see who and what is visible within the first 12 photos. Again, this goes for photographers, bloggers, influencers, etc. and also extends to businesses.
When I've scrolled recently, I've cringed with the well-intended "I woke up posts". I don't think now is the time to burst into dramatic change, even though it may feel like now is the time for allies with SM platforms.
With all that has happened in the last two weeks, it will take some time to truly learn and grow from these situations. It is hard to truly grasp the severity of these issues beyond surface value. Like a good tea, it needs some time to steep before it has flavor.
It is hard for me to believe the intentions of some until the dust lands. It is hard for me to trust that this isn’t a "woke train trend". The world is still processing, we are all still making mistakes, so I say with love- wait before you speak to know what your words really mean.
So to those who wish to continue growing, I challenge you to do the work, but do it for yourself in the sense that you do not need to share to the world every realization you have made. Take the time to truly reflect. Tell me how you've grown in a month from now. Start conversations, share resources, share businesses, share histories- teach me something new because I already know my experiences and so do other BIPOC who have spoken out time after time.
For those who don't know where to start, I have compiled a list of search topics that I think are important for the world to know. These are mainly aimed at debunking the myth that racism does not exist in Canada. Of course, some resources are US-specific because US culture has had so much influence in mainstream media and politics over time.
I hope you find these useful. I hope you take the time to talk to people around you, not social media about what you’ve learned and when the time is right, bring it to your platform. But until you know you’ve put in the hours and can differentiate between taking up space versus adding to the space, refrain from using your platform to document your woke journey. This is a hard journey, one with growing pains, but if you’re on the train this is just the start.
Read critically and read between the lines. Many sources you find on Google will sugarcoat the situation that occurred, especially government sites. For example, recent Bill 21 that was passed in Quebec. On the surface it appears to simply be a law banning religious symbols for those working in the public sector. The reality is the bill has xenophobic and islamophobic undertones targeting religious groups who wear headdresses like hijabs, turbans, niqabs, etc.
Again, I hope these starting points serve you well.
The myth associated with the Underground Railroad: Canadian Slavery
Oka Crisis, 1990
Clayoquot Protests, 1993
The Ipperwash Crisis, 1995
Jeffery Amherst, advocate for biological warfare against First Nations
Blockades of Red Squirrel logging Road- Temagami First Nation,1988-1989
Wet'suwet'en Protest, 2020
Residential Schools: what is was and when was the last school closed in Canada
Potlatch bans in Canada
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report
Highway of Tears
History of "black face" and minstrel shows
The 'Book of Negros'
Jim Crow Laws
How the concept of race was created
Black Oklahoman Farmers, 1911
Department of Immigration and Colonization, 1917: "preferred" vs "non-preferred countries"
Immigration Act of 1910
Canada's history with the KKK
Jamaican Maroons + Citadel Hill, Halifax
Why saying the following statements are problematic:
"I dont see color" - (color-blindness)
"All lives matter"
Racial profiling in CA
'Carding' in Toronto
Halifax police + street checks report by Wortley
Anti-Oriental riots- Vancouver, 1907
Jason Colins, Winnipeg, 2020
Nicholson Gibbs- Montreal, 2018
Ota Benga- Human Zoo
Classifications of racism and inequalities E.G environmental racism
The meaning of Performative Allyship
Preacher David George- Nova Scotia, 1784
Orlando Brown- Barrie, 2018
"None is Too Many"
Japanese Canadian Internment
D'Andre Campbell- Brampton, 2020
Chinese Head Tax
Eisha Hudson- Winnipeg, 2020
Incarceration rates by ethnicity in Canada
More names of those who lost their lives to police brutality in Canada- CLICK HERE
Portrait by a loving, brave and outspoken ally: Ashley Linden