Racism in Canada – my view, my life

It’s odd that when I explain to my white friends or acquaintances examples of discrimination I have gone through in my life – it is down played or negated. They see it as my perception being off.

The subtlety of racism is that it can be interpreted differently depending on your life experiences. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hear what is being said by someone who’s suffered from it.

My experiences with racism have been so subverted that it’s led me to distrust my own feelings. Just because someone says something that doesn’t cross the line into hate speech, doesn’t mean it should be dismissed.

When you are a person of colour in a society ruled by the race of another, colour is ALWAYS an issue.

I remember my father telling me that when he first came to Canada in the 1950’s to go to university and was looking for a room to rent, he was often told the room was gone, even though the ‘For Rent’ sign was still in view. He told them to take the sign down.

In the 1960’s, when I was in elementary school, I was singled out for punishment even though white kids did the same thing with no repercussions.

In the 1970’s my parents joined a golf club where at one time our family was referred to as the “black” Websters. Whereas the other family was never called the “white” Websters.

In the 1980’s my mother went shopping during a grocery worker strike and when she crossed the line she was told to go back to where she came from. She told them to go back to where they came from.

As a privileged person of colour I’ve had less interaction with the police than most people of colour and that interaction has been positive. I’ve lived in mostly white neighborhoods where there is less of a police presence. That doesn’t mean that I don’t fear what could happen to me when I speak up for my rights or see examples of what could happen to someone like me when faced with someone who hates the colour of my skin. .

There is no excuse for ignorance any more than there is an excuse for racism.

I’m followed in stores and have to listen silently while family members of all colours make racist comments or jokes regarding marginalized people, including their own.

When I worked with white people who never or rarely spoke to me and something happened to do with black people doing something they didn’t like, instead of educating themselves on why they felt this way, I was automatically singled out in order to reinforce their white view of the world. Not only did I have to do my job well – I also had to be the person who was responsible for making their white experience safer. I usually just kept my mouth shut and my head down in order not to be targeted.

Was it racism or just ignorance? There is no excuse for ignorance any more than there is an excuse for racism

When you are a person of colour in a society ruled by the race of another, colour is ALWAYS an issue.

These last couple of weeks has taught me a lot – like most people, I am still a work in progress and still learning. I’ve come to realize that I am also part of the problem, in my past re-telling of racist, sexist and gay jokes. No matter how harmless they may seem, they make a whole group of people the “other”.

As human beings we can choose to behave morally or not. All of us.

Peace and justice for all!

As Reality Bites – Your Vote Counts

I’m afraid to turn on the TV anymore. With wildfires, tsunamis, blizzards, floods and hurricanes every day, I don’t understand why climate change is not the No 1 priority for Canadians and human beings in general. Once everything is gone what else matters?

The Green Party is the only party that has an actual plan to reduce climate change – right now! https://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform
The Green Party is supported by individual taxpayers and only beholden to us.

The Liberals just keep making promises they don’t keep. They are supported by big business and the oil and gas industry and seem beholden to them. They only care about climate change as long as it doesn’t interfere with the money they make.

The Conservatives have no plan at all, except to cut services and take away individual rights. They are also supported by big business and the oil and gas industry – whom they believe in and owe favors to. They don’t believe in climate change at all, despite what they say.

The NDP is just copying the Green Party platform and have shown, in the past, to be financially irresponsible. They are supported by unions – whom they are beholden to.

We are on a path to destruction and no one seems to care unless it affects them directly. It is bad and will continue to get worse for all of us, while the politicians play games and we remain in denial.

A Short History of Muslims in the United States

Muslims have been part of American history since pre-Columbus times. Indeed, early explorers used maps that were derived from the work of Muslims, with their advanced geographical and navigational information of the time. Some scholars estimate that 10-20 percent of the slaves brought over from Africa were Muslims. The film “Amistad” alluded to this fact, portraying Muslims aboard this slave vessel trying to perform their prayers, while chained together on deck as they crossed the Atlantic.

Stills from the film Amistad – click an image to view in lightbox.


Personal narratives and histories are harder to find, but some stories have been passed on from reliable sources:

  • Omar Ibn Said (ca. 1770-1864) was born in the Muslim state of Futa Toro in Western Africa, in present-day Senegal. He was a Muslim scholar and trader who was captured and enslaved. He arrived in South Carolina in 1807 and was sold to James Owen of North Carolina.
  • Sali-Bul Ali was a slave on a plantation. His owner James Cooper wrote: “He is a strict Mahometan (sic); abstains from spirituous liquors, and keeps various fasts, particularly that of the Ramadan…”
  • Lamen Kebe was a slave who used to be a school teacher in Africa. He shared information about the texts and teaching methods used in the Islamic schools of his country.
  • Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Sori spent 40 years in slavery before he returned to Africa to die. He wrote two autobiographies, and signed a charcoal sketch of himself by Henry Inman, which was featured on the cover of “Freedman’s Journal” and is on display in the Library of Congress.
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    Many of the Muslim slaves were encouraged or forced to convert to Christianity. Many of the first-generation slaves retained much of their Muslim identity, but under the harsh slavery conditions, this identity was largely lost to later generations.

    Most people, when they think of African-American Muslims, think of the “Nation of Islam.” Certainly, there is a historical importance to how Islam took hold among African-Americans, but we will see how this initial introduction transformed in modern times.

    Islamic History and American Slavery

    Among the reasons why African-Americans have been and continue to be drawn to Islam are 1) the Islamic heritage of West Africa from where many of their ancestors had come, and 2) the absence of racism in Islam in contrast to the brutal and racist enslavement they had endured.

    In the early 1900s, a few black leaders strove to help the recently-freed African slaves regain a sense of self-esteem and reclaim their heritage. Noble Drew Ali started a black nationalist community, the Moorish Science Temple, in New Jersey in 1913. After his death, some of his followers turned to Wallace Fard, who founded the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in Detroit in 1930. Fard was a mysterious figure who declared that Islam is the natural religion for Africans, but did not emphasize the orthodox teachings of the faith. Instead, he preached black nationalism, with a revisionist mythology explaining the historical oppression of the black people. Many of his teachings directly contradicted the true faith of Islam.

    Elijah Muhammed and Malcolm X

    In 1934, Fard disappeared and Elijah Muhammed took over the leadership of the Nation of Islam. Fard became a “Savior” figure, and followers believed that he was Allah in the flesh on earth.

    The poverty and racism rampant in the urban northern states made his message about black superiority and “white devils” more widely accepted. His follower Malcolm X became a public figure during the 1960s, although he separated himself from the Nation of Islam before his death in 1965.

    Muslims look to Malcolm X (later known as Al-Hajj Malik Shabaaz) as an example of one who, at the end of his life, rejected the racially-divisive teachings of the Nation of Islam and embraced the true brotherhood of Islam. His letter from Mecca, written during his pilgrimage, shows the transformation that had taken place. As we shall see shortly, most African-Americans have made this transition as well, leaving behind the “black nationalist” Islamic organizations to enter the worldwide brotherhood of Islam.

    The number of Muslims in the United States today is estimated to be between 6-8 million.

    According to several surveys commissioned between 2006-2008, African-Americans make up about 25% of the Muslim population of the U.S.

    The vast majority of African-American Muslims have embraced orthodox Islam and have rejected the racially-divisive teachings of the Nation of Islam. Warith Deen Mohammed, a son of Elijah Mohammed, helped lead the community through a transition away from his father’s black nationalist teachings, to join the mainstream Islamic faith.

    Muslim Immigration Today

    The number of Muslim immigrants to the United States has increased in recent years, as has the number of native-born converts to the faith. Among immigrants, Muslims come largely from Arab and South Asian countries. A major study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2007 found that American Muslims are mostly middle-class, well-educated, and “decidedly American in their outlook, values, and attitudes.”

    Today, Muslims in America represent a colorful mosaic that is unique in the world. African-Americans, Southeast Asians, North Africans, Arabs, and Europeans come together daily for prayer and support, united in faith, with the understanding that they are all equal before God.

    Despite all the horrors of the radical Islamic factions of today, all religious fanatics would like to eradicate other religions, because according to them theirs is the only true religion. Even though they all believe in the same god and stories from the old testament.

    Eating You Alive

    In my 61 years on Earth not one doctor (including dentists) has ever asked me what I eat or drink.
    What we eat and drink determines to a large degree how healthy we will be and how long we will live.

    The following link is to a trailer for the documentary “Eating You Alive”. How plant based protein can prevent and even reverse illness such as diabetes, arthritis, coronary disease and cancer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEV22ioTvQc

    The following link is to the full documentary “Eating You Alive”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QgdvGMbJeQ&vI=en

    The following link is to a site that shows evidence of how plant based food can make you better.

    www.collective-evolution.com/2017/01/07/a-reminder-of-what-can-happen-to-your-body-when-you-stop-eating-meat/

    The deceptions of the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

    If you donate to the Canadian Wildlife Federation you are being deceived, if you think the money is going to wildlife protection.
    The money goes to the conservation of animals for sport hunting and and fishing, something I do not support. Nothing wrong here except that they are lying to people who care about animal welfare about where their donations are going.

    Click on the link to find out why.

    www.vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/the-truth-behind-the-canadian-wildlife-federation

    Our government is giving U.S. customs more power over Canadians on Canadian soil.

    U.S. border guards would get new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil under bill Bill C-23 proposed by the Liberal government and likely to pass in the current sitting of Parliament, and could erode the standing of Canadian permanent residents by threatening their automatic right to enter Canada.

    The bill would enshrine in law a reciprocal agreement for customs and immigration pre-clearance signed by the governments of Stephen Harper and Barack Obama in 2015. Both houses of Congress passed the U.S. version of the bill in December.

    “A Canadian going to the U.S. through a pre-clearance area [on Canadian soil] can say: ‘I don’t like the way [an interview is] going and I’ve chosen not to visit your country.’ And they can just turn around and walk out.

    “Under the new proposed bill, they wouldn’t be able to walk out. They can be held and forced to answer questions, first to identify themselves, which is not so offensive, but secondly, to explain the reasons for leaving, and to explain their reasons for wanting to withdraw,” said Michael Greene, who is a former national chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s citizenship and immigration section.

    Howard Greenberg, a Toronto immigration lawyer who has chaired the immigration law committees at the Canadian Bar Association and the International Bar Association, says the law raises the prospect of a Canadian being arrested simply for deciding he or she has had enough with a certain line of questioning.

    Read about it.
    www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pre-clearance-border-canada-us-1.3976123

    Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens – a few of his observations.

    • There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race and finish the farce.
    • Few of us can stand prosperity. Another man’s, I mean.
    • It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bothers me, it is the parts that I do understand.
    • Only a government that is rich and safe can afford to be a democracy, for democracy is the most expensive and nefarious kind of government ever heard of on earth.
    • What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce.
    • Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
    • A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
    • A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.
    • It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
    • Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.

    Broken promise highlighted on Woman’s Day

    Yesterday young women from across Canada were invited to a at symbolic sitting of parliament.

    A teenage woman from Cardigan P.E.I. named Taya Nabuurs gave a speech that stood up to the Liberal’s scrapping of Electoral reform in Canada.

    She like many young Canadians who will be eligible to vote in the next election, is fed up with the way this country is being run. Including the broken promises that impact everyone’s future.

    Hopefully the Prime Minister got the message along with other Canadian politicians, but I doubt it.

    www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/taya-nabuurs-electoral-reform-speech-house-commons-1.4016031