I sent the following to the Canadian Press because someone who I respect on Twitter suggested that people ought to respond to a shameful piece of “journalism” that’s getting far too much play in Canada today.
This is RIDICULOUS.
White people getting upset that they are not the centre of attention on social media is not a story. Do you spend much time on social media? It has many, many drawbacks but one positive is that everyone is mostly free to say things there. Sometimes, white people (especially white, cisgender, straight men—a demographic I am largely contained within) get upset because people of colour, queer people, trans people… have a voice in these fora that isn’t subject to the approval of white/cis/straight/male folks. And, I’m guessing, whoever at your organization thought this was newsworthy.
Listen. When something happens that affects a community, the people who have the knowledge, lived experience and visceral connection to it are people IN THAT COMMUNITY. Bilan Arte was trying to make it clear that those are the people who can speak to the issue of systemic violence against communities of colour and that they should be given priority to speak to this issue in public spaces. Is that really so controversial?
Please. Think about what you are doing. People are in genuine pain in the wake of the grand jury decision yesterday. And I guarantee you that the people who are experiencing the most visceral pain are not white folks who feel left out because they aren’t first in line to talk about it.