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Chattel, noose, hang, murder, hate, bombing, confederate, plantation, slave, blood, whiplash, bondage, race, anguish, frustration, Jim crow, flogged, bigot, and privilege.
How do these words make you feel?
I attended Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in South Phoenix, Arizona. During this time in the 1990’s I was taught at an incredibly young age, to protest for what is right and fair in America. Rosa Parks (one of my heroes) made a decision to sit at the front of a bus in 1955 and refuse to sit in the coloured section. Dr. King marched for civil rights for African Americans to be treated equally.
Many of our ancestors fought police brutality and responded with non-violent protests. This aided in raising our spirits and thoughts above the unjust treatment that we, African Americans, experienced. I was taught in my family and community that the police were not to be trusted because of past or current physical brutality my neighborhood. I still remember watching Rodney King getting beat on television and searching deep within my soul for a justified reason for what this man did and what he must have been feeling in that moment.
As a teenager I endured being called N***** during and after football games when playing against schools from white communities.
A number of CFL players, coaches and executives have penned their own thoughts on the racial tensions and the issues that accompany it on both sides of the border. Read what they have to say, in their own words … READ MORE.
Later on, I thought that society was changing for the better due to the times we were living in and achieving a scholarship to ASU (Arizona State University). However, that thought was not true — Myself and many of my peers we were racially profiled by the police numerous times. This only reinforced what I was taught not to trust law enforcement or rely on them for any reason.
Football has been my vehicle; it has taken my life on a beautiful journey from America to Germany and now Canada. The excitement of learning and seeing new places has always been tainted with experiences of blatant racism because of the color of my skin.
The George Floyd video, (8 minutes and 46 second) we all viewed has opened the wound of how Black people in America and around the world are sick and tired of experiencing the wrongs of hate. We are tired of the ‘bad apples’. We are tired of a system of colour classification that continues to suppress our ability as a culture to be included at all levels of the decision-making processes.
White privilege must stop and being culturally uneducated should no longer be an excuse. Inclusion must replace it at all levels.
So, how do we fix this problem?
First, we need the education system to acknowledge and teach the wrongs of white privilege against people of color. This education can no longer be confined to Black History Month. Children are not born racist, racism is taught. We need white people of the world to stand with the disenfranchise not only in the streets but in their social circles and to stamp out the hatred of the bad apples.
We need inclusion through workplace policies and within corporate leadership. What we are fighting is a system of propaganda, psychology, and an old generational fear that I believe must be eradicated.
Are we asking too much for equality and representation? So many stories of racism get swept under the rug. Now is the time for change and diversity is the way forward for a harmonious evolution of humanity.