Racial tension has never really been eliminated from the US, and I think it would be difficult to say it’s been eliminated from Canada either. In fact I know it hasn’t. Some of the people I’ve known and encountered in my life were the most racist, elitist people I’ve ever seen, for no real reason other than that these people were ‘different’ than them.
So how is this relevant to those of us removed from these communities? Because whether we like to admit it or not, this could happen anywhere. We are a society that operates on a proclaimed tolerance that doesn’t exist. We preface statements with ‘I’m not racist, but’ and follow it with racial stereotypes. Because even in the middle of small town, rural Ontario, we still see situations play out where people are treated differently because of their race.
It’s a far cry, and an unjust one to blame it all on one side. It’s also unjust to look at it and not recognize that there are a number of factors involved in these situations; race, social status, politics – they all come into play here. But recognizing that doesn’t solve the situation. Recognizing that is only the first step to reconciliation, to addressing the bigger issue, and that’s what the protests, which have occurred across the United States, Canada and even Europe are about. People are not just recognizing that there is a bigger situation at hand, but that something needs to be done. That divided walls need to be rejoined.