By Muskan Sandhu
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
-- Langston Hughes, "Harlem," 1951
The African American dream has exploded. And the smell of its tattered skin is nauseating to the custodians of White privilege.
The cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by the police has proven to be a tipping point. As protests erupt across North America, Canadian ethnic media has come forward in solidarity with the Black community.
Image source: collage of ethnic media stories
Several media outlets shed light on the historically repetitive nature of police brutality and injustice towards Black people. Yvonne Sam of the Caribbean news outlet Pride, published from Ontario, wrote: “Another day in the United States of America; another White cop around; another Black man, face down on the ground; another mournful alert, about failing breath — all translated into yet, another death….For far too long, Black humanity has been denied on American soil.”
Similarly, on the Harjinder Thind Show, a Punjabi radio program aired on Red FM 93.1 from Vancouver, Thind commented that, “if America is burning today”, it is because of the complete denial of justice over the years in the institutional murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the lynching of Rodney King.
The Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha from Toronto pointed out that even though the world is preoccupied with COVID-19, long-standing issues are alive and kicking: “When we thought that there was no room for issues other than the COVID-19 pandemic today, we remember that structural problems may be temporarily hushed up, but they are still there.”
The Canadian prime minister may have had to bite his tongue in commenting on the neighbouring country’s president, but ethnic media outlets have not held back from denouncing, in straightforward terms, US President Donald Trump’s attitude. Vancouver’s Chinese newspaper Van People condemned Trump’s leadership during the pandemic and his prejudice against African Americans.
Eric Sifuentes from Toronto’s CHIN 91.9 FM Spanish program said that the situation is being exacerbated by the inflammatory comments of Donald Trump and some US governors have even asked Trump to please shut up. The Harjinder Thind Show pointed out that the president’s comment, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” is an echo of the statement made by a tyrannical police officer in the 1960s. Indeed, a chilling reminder of the legacy of Black oppression.
The media’s engagement hasn’t been a unilateral one either, and it’s actively participating in the process of introspection necessitated by such events. There is a call to look within their own respective communities and address uncomfortable, unspoken prejudices. Van People noted that “racial discrimination will only be eliminated when all discriminated races come together to fight”, adding that “if Chinese people value their Canadian identity, then they should value peace in the community and say no to racial discrimination.”
On the TV channel OMNI News: Punjabi Edition from Toronto, a Punjabi woman who participated in the protest in Toronto asked, “If we do not support one another, who will support us?” Meanwhile a student noted that: “People should talk with their family members at the dinner table about how we are complicit [in racist attitudes].” The host on the show added that this conversation should start in the school system and “parents should go to the school board meetings and listen to the perspectives of Black parents.”
In a similar vein, Wati Rehmat from Muslim Connect, a pan-Canada news platform for Muslim Canadians, wrote that it is great that the Muslim community comes out in outrage when crimes such as the murder of George Floyd occur. However, the community needs to reflect upon and address its own anti-Blackness and shadeism - “It is a slippery slope from when you regard someone with a darker skin as inferior or less desirable to tragically de-valuing Black lives.” Rehmat’s comments are incisive in the larger context of the deep-rooted desire for a fair complexion prevalent in several postcolonial nations.
The message across diverse media, then, is unadulterated: Black Lives Matter.
Links of web sources quoted:
PRINT - Sept Days - Montreal, 04/06/2020 - ARTICLE, Chinese
Image Source: Sept Days e-issue
Summary Translation: Yan Hong - This article discusses the recent incidents of George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet and the series of ongoing protests in the US and Canada, as well as the issue of racism in general. The article points out that racism has existed in North America for a very long time, and has a very deep rooted cause. The increasing income gap in between the rich and poor in the capitalist society has further marginalized the ethnic minorities in the bottom class. The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the issue of class inequality. Additionally, the ethnic minorities have been largely neglected by politicians because of the current election system, in which the majority rules. The article further points out that the focus of the ongoing protests is still on racism, not on class inequality. The tragedy of George Floyd will not be the last one, and similar protests will happen again.
Link to original article: https://e.issuu.com/anonymous-embed.html?u=7daysclub&d=p699-2020
TV - OMNI News: Punjabi Edition - Toronto, 02/06/2020 - FEATURE, Punjabi
Summary Translation: Gautam Arora - Tuesday was Blackout Tuesday after the death of a Black man in the US. It was a world-wide initiative on social media started by two Black women in the US music industry who decided #theshowmustbepaused. Instead of posting photos and other images, people posted black posts. This was meant to intentionally disrupt the workweek. Simon Fraser University social media expert Sun-Ha Hong said black squares were all one could see on Instagram. This can bring attention to what's going on to people who are not aware because they are not in the same networks. The initiative spread very quickly. Hong said this shows that a lot of people are concerned and a lot of people want to say something in support, but they don't always know how to do it. The black squares are very easy to do, so people feel they can join in. Sp!ce Radio started the 'Raise Your Hands Against Racism' logo. CEO Shushma Datt said they support Blackout Tuesday and Black Lives Matter, but not violence. Amy Go of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice said we have to call out racism. Calling for these changes will end up benefiting all Canadians. Fareed Khan of Canadians United Against Hate said he doesn't know what it's like for Black parents to be afraid when their children go out the door and to have to instruct their sons on how to behave if they are stopped by police so they don't get harmed. However, all the different communities understand racism because they have all experienced it. Thousands of Canadians protested last weekend. Amy Go said the systemic change would benefit all of us and is urgent. Anti-Asian racism in COVID-19 calls for urgent action. Anti-Black racism due to police actions calls for urgent action. All these calls for action will only lead to better systems.
WEB - Van People - Vancouver, 03/06/2020 - ARTICLE, Chinese
Image Source Van People website
Summary Translation: Career Engine - African American George Floyd’s death has led to a series of protests in the United States. Recently, this movement has made its way to Canada. In the video footage, the viewers can clearly hear Floyd crying: “I can’t breathe, please.” Unfortunately, the cop was not moved by his plea and Floyd passed away as a result. The image of a black man being knelt to death by a white cop was too symbolic, it has angered the black community. What should Chinese people do? There are currently two types of trending calls to action. One calls for Chinese people to step up and support the Black community and say no to racial discrimination. Racial discrimination will only be eliminated when all discriminated races come together to fight. Another voice suggests that the Chinese are in a lower class than the Blacks in North America. If the Chinese stands up for the blacks, then who would stand up for the Chinese? This year is the American election, who knows if these protests are organized as a trap? When there is news about the Chinese being discriminated against, the community is always very fragmented. There are two reactions, the Chinese people either speak up immediately or pretend they don’t know anything. The author says if Chinese people value their Canadian identity, then they should value peace in the community and say no to racial discrimination.
Link to original story: https://info.vanpeople.com/?action-viewnews-catid-51-itemid-1081773
Challenging Shadism and Anti-Black Racism in Muslim Communities: Responding to the Killing of George Floyd - Muslim
WEB - Muslim Link - Ottawa, 29/05/2020 - Analysis, English
Image Source: Muslim Link website
Summary: Wati Rahmat - “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”- Ijeomo Oluo, African American anti-racism activist I want to be brutally honest. When a heinous crime like the death of George Floyd happens, we see Muslim community members come up readily in outrage and you see posts crying for justice. This is great and it is what should happen. As I too grieve this senseless loss of life and as George's pleas of "I can't breathe" repeat painfully in my head, I grieve a bigger blight in our Muslim community - the prevalent, deeply entrenched anti-Blackness. No, it's not a leap to link a public lynching to the whitening Instafilters. No, it’s not a stretch to compare all the “Karens” who call on Black bodies for simply existing to you comparing which of your siblings was fairer as a baby. Stop! Anti-Blackness starts with ending adulation of fairness. By valuing fairness, Blackness and shades of darkness are denigrated and looked down upon. It is a slippery slope when you regard someone with a darker skin as inferior or less desirable to tragically de-valuing Black lives. I had to confront my own shade-ism just this weekend. Over Eid, our family had enjoyed a beautiful sunny picnic by the lake. I came home with a darker complexion due to the natural sunlight.
Link to original article: https://muslimlink.ca/news/challenging-shadism-and-anti-black-racism-in-muslim-communities-responding-to-the-killing-of-george-floyd-and-sh
RADIO - Red FM 88.9 Good Morning Toronto - Brampton, 01/06/2020 - News, Punjabi
Image Source: Red FM 88.9 Facebook page
Summary Translation: Red FM radio host Shameel Jasvir initiated a discussion over the recent protests in the US and Canada. The callers were saying that what happened due to police action was unfortunate and people from all communities should come forward to condemn such acts and show peaceful protests rather than violence. One caller said that proper investigations should be done before resorting to protests. He gave an example of an old prisoner who gunned down soldiers and was captured by the US. The same person was extradited to Canada and the Canadian government gave him millions of dollars. The caller said that such actions only encourage violence and terrorism. The caller said that the man who was caught by police was doing something wrong by tendering fake currency but when he was caught, he did not cooperate with police, which was wrong. Another caller was of the opinion that racism is not very easy to part with. He said although the politicians are saying and supporting the antiracism sentiments, the fact is that racism does exist in every community to some or larger extent. He gave an example of racism here in Canada and in the Peel region saying students of the Black community are given more detentions and they are held back from choosing better academic subjects. He said that miscreants from all communities take advantage of such violent incidents, like some community members tried to resort to breaking buildings after the protesters held their protests in Montreal. He said the mentality of police is very bad and is very much prevalent even at higher levels in government. If the victim had been a white person then the action of police would have been different. Another caller said that the police is to enforce the law and not to deliver justice. The host said that the Black community needs a powerful leadership. Racism is widely prevalent in each community.
RADIO - G 98.7 FM Mark & Jem in the Morning - Toronto, 01/06/2020 - FEATURE, English
Summary: Mark Strong - “Justice for Regis” chants echoed throughout the streets of downtown Toronto Saturday afternoon as 4,000-odd people or more demanded answers in the death of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell from her apartment balcony in High Park while police were present. The host said he was part of the protest with his kids and that it's important for the kids to be part of this moment. His daughter is part of the organization of the protest and he is proud of her for that. The protesters were originally going to go to Queen's Park. The reason they went to the police department was that a protest was happening at Queen's Park already by White supremacist groups who were protesting about opening the economy. They were doing that every single Saturday. So the protesters didn't want to dilute their cause or have any confrontations, so they went to the police department. Most people in the crowd wore a mask, which is what organizers asked them to do. Their message for police was that they want justice. What that means will be up to the SIU to determine. The host said it was a peaceful protest but very impactful. He said they have a lot more work to do and this was just the beginning of the mobilization. Anti-racism protests in Montreal demanded justice for different reasons, between George Floyd, Regis and problems in policing in Montreal. Unfortunately, the protest turned to violent ends. Montreal police declared the gathering illegal after projectiles were thrown at officers, who responded with pepper spray and tear gas. Store fronts were broken and merchandise stolen. Thousands marched to stand up for Canadians targeted for no other reason than the colour of their skin. Montreal police have been plagued by allegations of racial profiling and excessive force for years. Last fall, an independent study showed a Black person was four times more likely to be stopped by officers. Tensions are still lingering after 18-year-old Fredy Villanueva was shot and killed when police broke up a dice game more than a decade ago. For officers of colour, the protests are a painful reminder of the healing that needs to be done.
Image Source: http://g987fm.com/on-air-personalities