Antonio Cayonne | Actor

A problem around 'race' - Thurs. April 9/15

Antonio CayonneComment

Time's coverage of the Walter Scott murder

We have a problem around race. Some know that, some don't. But it's a fact. And it's not just Black and White. We have a problem around RACE. Period. Maybe race and culture? Race, culture and religion? I'm not sure where it ends. But everywhere, in some form or another, where there is a larger ruling class, and a minority, I think it's safe to say there is some problem. I also think that making it a problem about race, may overshadow the details of what that actually means. I think we have problems around balanced education and unbiased media reporting, around shame and identity, around guilt and honesty, and around power and insecurity. 

The bigger problem is that not everyone can see it. It's invisible to some people. Whether because they don't look, or aren't shown, or simply don't know what it looks like is anybody's guess. I was reading a thread on someone's FB yesterday where they tried to argue that racism doesn't exist in Canada. And certainly not the way it does in the States. And they were upset that the media stated 'White officer, and (unarmed) Black victim'. It's troubling to me that statements of fact - those happen to both be facts - are upsetting, and considered race baiting. Why can't we speak frankly about what happened? Those are the facts, and it's not the first time we have heard those same facts, which further makes it relevant. 

As for the Canada vs US part of it,  I don't know that I feel good comparing. What I do know is this: I'm in Vancouver, and I'm seeing a whole new side of an equation that I haven't had access to yet because of where I grew up. I'm seeing new interactions of inequality, I'm hearing intelligent conversations at my restaurant from people who have endured injustice, and I'm seeing class differences that - much like in my own experience - not everyone can see, and so not everyone believes. And I'm facing my own prejudices around race and culture that stem from a lack of understanding - and I'm working to understand, and embrace, and navigate new ideas around the structures of racism. 

This most recent murder in the States was caught on tape. Entirely. Thankfully. And in some ways unfortunately - it feels like a very morbid thing to tape and release, in spite of the good it will come to do. And it appears some justice will be served. However, Eric Garners murder was also caught on tape. And the result was very different. Lest we forget.  So I reserve the right to not jump for joy that visual evidence actually swayed a ruling - and there hasn't been an actual ruling yet.

Because this particular case is seeing justice get done, I've been seeing a lot of 'see, the system works' posts. I just wish something big enough could occur to make it undeniable that these 'instances' aren't isolated, and aren't restricted to a single group of people. And that we shouldn't bank on ONE of them coming to justice to be our benchmark for success. And yet, I don't want that thing to happen, because of what it might ultimately cause. I can't even really imagine something bigger than Trayvon, or Eric, of now Walter, or Tamir, or Michael, or Yvette, or...or...or...

This article is one I came across this week and I think it speaks really well about the experience and reality of privilege.

5 Lessons Traveling to Africa Taught Me About Being Black in America

I'm curious to hear feedback from anyone who reads this article.
What does it make you think? What do you get from it? 
Feel free to leave a comment.