Racism is not new, and Anti-Black racism—the concentration of Racism into the systemic de-valuing of all that is Black and African—is certainly not so. It is rooted in the unique history and experience of enslavement and colonization.
Recent events, both locally and internationally, have created a storm of reaction against Anti-Black racism. While the catalyst for this wave of reaction occurred in the United States, Canadians can not be complacent about our own record, and the many protests in Canada are testament to this. From the senseless death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet less than a month ago and the similar deaths of Andrew Loku, Abidrhman Abdi and Abdurahman Hassan (whose primary crimes were the fact that they were Black and experienced mental health challenges), too often have Black lives been carelessly taken. In many of these cases, the officials who take Black lives seldom face serious consequences, demonstrating the reality that Black lives and Black bodies matter less or do not matter to those who wield power. In the past two weeks, three more individuals experiencing mental health-related episodes (two Indigenous individuals, and another racialized man in Missussauga) were killed by the police.
Black men and women in Canada are over surveilled, criminalized, over-policed and under-protected. Black people are 20 times more likely to be killed or injured by the police in Toronto, 50% more likely to be taken to a police station for processing after arrest; they are 70% more Black Canadians in federal prisons than there were ten years ago. In Montreal, Black and Indigenous people are four to five times more likely to be stopped and carded by the police. Anti-Black racism must stop.
“For Black people, racism is an attack of a thousand little cuts”. Perpetual paper cutting that doesn’t tend to bleed and isn’t generally noticed by folks other than the injured.”
It is no longer enough to claim allyship, to go to the protest and sign the petition. It is no longer enough to be Anti-Racist, but one must rather be actively Black positive. For indeed, if there is to be change, systems must be dismantled, and power shared. Dismantled by actions and policies that marshal real change and by the concerted actions and commitment of each and everyone of us to end the insidious and pervasive and deeply rooted Anti-Black racism that is in our systems, our communities and our personal lives. We need to look critically at ourselves and our own practices. Host your own equivalent of the recent ‘Brown Complicity in White Supremacy – Towards Solidarity with Black Lives’ session, call out Anti-Black racism in public discourse, the media, our workplaces, homes, families and the community.
We call on our governments, police, schools, communities and residents to:
1. Acknowledge there is systemic Anti-Black racism.
2. Review police use of force — people should not be killed because of mental health issues.
3. Prioritize de-escalation training for police and seek alternative/additional professionals to
respond to mental health crises.
4. Strengthen the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate, the City’s Anti-Black Racism unit and
investment in organizations that actively promote Anti-Black Racism.
Delta Family continues to address and unpack Anti-Black Racism through personal and professional development of staff, as well as direct work to support and advocate for Black and other racialized communities in the areas of education, child welfare, the criminal justice system, community work and food security.