Sitting in Discomfort

Three hundred and sixty five days and counting from the Summer of 2020. We’ve “finished” riding the BLM wave, we’ve listened to countless numbers of members of our Asian communities express their lived experiences of being verbally attacked, targeted and in the case of the mass shooting in the US- murdered. In Canada, we are now being forced, as a collective to listen to Indigenous voices, sometimes relive the trauma of the cruelty we, yes we subjected them to. I say being forced, and I use that word strategically because they have been shouting it for decades, but we all collectively turned a blind eye. It took literally the uncovering of mass graves, of children, babies- for us to even acknowledge the attempted genocide of the original peoples of this land. This week on the blog, I get a little prickly about how certain groups of people should be willing to SIT in their discomfort over the outpouring from the BIPOC communities, here’s why.

You can’t separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

Malcom X

For the most part, I can attest to being a pretty open minded person. I am a very understanding and patient person, I try as much as I can to see things from different perspectives and try to walk through people’s shoes. That being said, I’m genuinely not interested in people who are unwilling or are uncomfortable with hearing and accepting the fact that we are all privileged and we have gained that privilege on the backs, blood, sweat and destruction of our Indigenous communities. We have pillaged their land, we have stolen their natural resources, we have nearly wiped out their languages and attempted to wipe them off the face of the earth. Yet, what I keep hearing is how upset some people feel because they have to hear the complaints. Can you imagine the audacity? Like really? Someone is speaking about their lived experience, the feelings they have, the way they walk through the earth, the feelings of feeling like you don’t belong, added to the fact that we have GENUINE proof. Bones. Literature. Documents. And you want to deny what you see and hear?! Your biggest complaint is to be annoyed about hearing it…I genuinely lose words. And I know that I can never really ever know what it’s like to be Indigenous, what it’s like to be Asian, trans or from the LGBTQIA+ community, but the denial is a sharp kind of betrayal. The other day, I was watching an episode of CTV’s The Social, when Candy Palmater said something that really stuck with me, she said if the last residential school closed in 1996, then the homeless people we step over on the streets are the product of the trauma from these schools. It’s that close, so when we say things like it was such a long time ago, can’t people move on?! This is what they’re missing.

It is a privilege to educate yourself on racism, instead of having to experience racism.

I’ve 36 years old, and for the 1st time in a long time I have felt seen, validated and have heard similar feelings from strangers, recognizing the mental gymnastics I do in certain situations, knowing that others are also doing the same. This is been something I’ve walked around feeling for at least 20+ years, yet the fact that it’s been a year of a real tangible collective awakening- but that a section of the population who are not use to feeling othered are uncomfortable with sitting in that discomfort. They’re not even willing to do so for 1 year…They can’t hack 1 year, yet people have been doing it for decades. They feel targeted, like “Being white is a bad thing “. Well, welcome to the club of targets, take a seat, stay a while. But you can’t use that similarity for sympathy, you want to use it to be frustrated at BIPOC people?!? This is where the work begins and 1 year later, they’re ready to tap out, people are looking/asking for receipts and they’re like nah, I never made a purchase, I merely expressed interest. The fact that you’re not even willing to sit there and say, ” Yea, we really messed up, how can we/I do better?”, you’re upset because you keep hearing about the bad things. Does it make Canada any less of a wonderful country to live in, no? But you know what’s really scary? The people who recognize they have power and privilege, but are fully unwilling to do anything about it and unwilling to shift any of that power in any given direction. They can see the imbalance, clear as day- but zero f$%@ are given. Now, that will take years, if not more to even chip, because they genuinely do not care. Simple as. Sitting in the eye of the storm and feeling the calm, completely unwilling to be discomforted by the storm raging around them. UNWILLING. Fact of the matter is, it will not directly impact your daily life (not unless you want it to and do the work), so what’s the real complaint? Canada will be an even better country when we not only acknowledge, but take concrete steps, actionable steps to making a commitment to do better for our Indigenous communities. Not give PR clips, while behind the scenes fighting Indigenous families over reparations. It’s not about using Indigenous issues as voting bait in order to tug on our hearts, when the fact of the matter is 4 years later, they have done nothing. NOTHING. Our Indigenous people are bargaining chips used to rally you into power. Shame on us all. Communities are not even steps closer to getting clean, drinking water. So spare me with the complaints about how fragile you feel and use that energy and nurse your feelings in a letter to your MPs.