Live from 3.5 2020, # 3 – testing the blackness. Father

When I started this project, it had an uncomplicated premise: Black Canadians should share their stories, Rare seen in our history books.

And that worked initially – interviewing my co-creators and weaving our stories together into something that everyone could understand – but what I didn’t realize was how much I would learn from them, the breadth of our experience slowly transformation like me think,

In the beginning I was worried about them perception-How Other would see my brand if my work grew too serious, But the deeper I dug, the less I took part – I wrote and wrote and wrote again until I had only one deceptive easy question:

What is Blackness, I agree?

The search for blackness.

Live from 3.5 2020, # 3 - testing the blackness. - Black self-reflection

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“You made us a race. We have made ourselves a people. “

– Ta Nehisi layers, Between me and the world (2015)

Blackness. What is Blackness? What we know flows through our veins and makes us a little different from most other parts of the world around us, even if we cannot define it exactly ourselves?

To most People, blackness is just one etiquette, It is what distinguishes a people who are darker than themselves, a people associated with basketball, hip-hop and spike lee joints. You may never stop think about it, but what so many see is exactly what is at stake surfacedon’t understand everything belowbecause they never had to Life it.

But what about the 3.5% of us who to do? It could be for us something, Where do you come from. Like you think, It is a web of traditions, experiences and unwritten rules that is constantly changing, but is omnipresent in a world in which we feel different, But with discrimination, dehumanization and just racism that happens to everyone DaySometimes blackness is all we have got, And although we to like to believe that this is not possible possibly be true and that anti-black behavior is a matter of pastit only takes one little dig to find a story with a completely different one to take to this topic.

The difference between the history of blacks in Canada and the United States is that there is no big difference at all …

When it comes to Black History Month, Canadians are often proud of how little slavery was part of our narrative compared to that of our southern cousins ​​in the United States. After all, slaves were looking out of control oasis in Canada right? It was a country where they could be equal and not the less prescribed “three fifths of a person” Cheap Laws not so far away.

However, if you buy yourself The There is a narrative quantity They are still missing from the picture.

Even though Canada avoided that brunt slavery, introduction of laws prohibiting this practice before becoming a country in 1867 (but only after that) benefit of it for um at least two hundred years), many of the settings and prejudices people insisted on blacks Long to. And that has led to many complications with our identity, which we still face today.

Take, for example, the case of Viola Desmond, who was convicted in Nova Scotia of 1946 for the challenging racial segregation for refusing to leave the white area of ​​the Roseland Theater.

Life was very natural, of course different In 1946, a country found its way back to normal after it came out victorious only the year in World War II In front, We know it as an era of prosperity and growth, but something tells me that it wasn’t everyone,

The blackness that the world told us was all we were.

Live from 3.5 2020, # 3 - testing the blackness. - Black people on the back of a truck

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It is difficult to classify mankind because there is hardly a trait that is unique to one race, although the environment and other influences have changed the structure of certain races so much that they are slightly different from other races in distant places. Scientists have offered many classifications, but none has proven to be overall satisfactory. The most famous is that of Blumenbach, which was manufactured at the beginning of the 19th century. The main basis of its classification was the color of the skin, the shape and size of the head and the peculiarities of the features. Blumenbach recognized five different breeds, namely the Caucasian or white breed; the Mongolian or yellow race; the Malay or brown breed; the negro or the black race; the American or red race.

– “Human races.” The new educational encyclopedia, 1946. Print.

At a time when people lived, acted and acted differently thought different that the easiest Way to understand they read what they read, see what they saw, and Listen what they heard,

In 2020, we can tell you that blackness is not a monolith – we didn’t choose this label. Despite all the differences, we worked to make it our own. respect What differentiates us all in the diaspora instead of trying to assimilate us in it one thing, Events like Black History Month contribute to this mankind In our melanin, we show the nation that we are more than what popular media offer. No matter how much there is poverty, gun violence and broken family structures in our world a lot of to learn what it means to be black.

That said, although it’s far from perfect, it’s still a Long like it was in ’46 back then.

The blackness that never went deeper than the skin.

For the most part our skin color in 1946 was The only thing the rest of the country saw of us. And really, how many of us were there to tell Canada something different? We are up to date 3.5% of the population, In 1991 we were only 0.8%, Our 0.21% in 1921 is a grim reminder that we had to fight a Long Time to be a little more than one afterthought it has to be in this country Roger that gain in importance with increasing numbers exponentially,

However, this was not the case in 1946 when we can estimate the black population at about 0.4% of Canada. Let’s look at something The new educational encyclopedia had to say back about us then,

The general name for a division of the human race, the main features of which are dark skin, woolly or tangled hair, flat nose, plump lips and long skull.

– “Negro.” The new educational encyclopedia, 1946. Print.

Although we numbered in the tens of thousands in 1946 (we had about 11.5 million Canadians in 1941), many saw us only as our physical characteristics and wanted to classify ourselves rather than seeing ourselves as an individual.

The blackness that still haunts us today.

But don’t think for a second that it has grown any Better if they are more than just up close, as we will see later in the entry:

… Negroes as a race are more emotional than white peoples, but the authorities do not agree that they are of a lower intellectual type. In the United States, the speed with which they were civilized was often contrasted with the reluctance of the Indians, whose tribal instincts were difficult to uproot.

– “Negro.” The new educational encyclopedia, 1946. Print.

… Do you see?

So even though we’re like too think This racism is long gone and the blacks should move on and join about It is not as if the year 1946 had been so long ago. Hell, Don Cherry would have been twelve When this encyclopedia came out, it still existed a lot of of people in the area who grew up with such views public opinionand it took one Long Time to overcome the wave effects that created them years in the future.

We are in many ways still Dealing with them today,

The best thing about blackness is that it can be what we want.

Live from 3.5 2020, # 3 - testing the blackness. - Black women's side profile

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So I ask you again – what is Blackness?

It is much easier to say what it is Not—It’s not just the color of our skin, a measure of how much we have belong to the community, or how tight our bloodlines be liable to our countries of origin. It is not a tool that we exclude, but a crutch to point the finger at others when we can work with it within build yourself up or celebrate something, but a few times a year.

The truth is that you can’t define blackness that way lightand we probably have to accept The. It is probably safe to say that we could have done it without Blumenbach trying to put us all on the list first Place, too if his intentions were purely scientific,

But we are here now and despite two hundred years as a “black race” and at least two hundred More how propertyIn 2020 we have the power and the power to do blackness whatever we want want to be it.

It is not a change that can happen overnight – the journey Here took centuriesNot seconds– But just as gender, religion and sexuality have changed over the decades, maybe run will do that sometime equal,

But I’ve already said it – that’s only 3.5% of the country we’re talking about. What is equally so important – if not More so – what forms other 96.5% of the country thinks us, We will deal with this in the next post for 2020 Live from 3.5– “Canada’s dance with diversity (A Toronto doesn’t make Canada)”.

Thank you for reading and see you soon!

I’ll stay until next

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