Tag Archives: #RACIST

Toronto Police In Schools

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Once upon a time a very long time ago in the land of Rexdale, Ontario, there lived a young woman who would be lucky enough to go to school with Toronto Police officers roaming the halls (in addition to a regular security guard). That same  young woman would graduate with honours and a scholarship to many, many different universities, and return to complete her Masters practicum at the very same high school. Also still at that high school 6+ years later, were the same type of Toronto Police officers.

The problem with Toronto Police Officers being in high schools in Toronto was that it was very, Very obvious to the teachers (both white and non white) that only certain students were even noticed by those police officers. I was approached many times by the uniformed police officers while a high school student. I was also approached by undercover Brandon Walsh looking police officers asking me where I could score some “Ganja”

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I laughed it off then, but that was due to the fact that I didn’t realize why I was being asked this question and not my Chinese Canadian friend, or my Greek friend. Now looking back I understand why, but back then it was a joke.

Fast forward a few years, 4 years of my undergrad and then 1 and a half for the beginning of my Masters program for teaching and I found myself back at my home high school in Rexdale, teaching some of my classmates’ younger siblings or cousins! You know who was still roaming those halls? Yup, you guessed it, Toronto Police Officers! Multiple times when I was teaching there were incidents, where massive group fights broke out (Just like when I was a student) and umm, who went to go break up these fights you might ask…Not the Toronto Police! Nope, they sure didn’t! In fact one of the VPs broke her ankle because she was pushed down the back hill of my school trying to break up a fight. In fact as a part of my training as a teacher, there was actually a page over the PA system where they would say something along the lines of “Paging Mr. Nelson to the front Hallway” which meant ALL TEACHERS come to the front hallway to break up a fight! Not once in my 2 years of volunteering did I see a Police officer break up a fight, but Every Damn day I saw a teachers helping those same “at risk” students instead of intimidating, Not every teacher but most of them at this school were like that.

Those same police officers would stop me in the hallway when I was dressed in jeans every Friday to the point where my supervising teacher suggested that I no longer come in dressed down, because she was worried for my safety (also that teacher of mine was a white lady). They would stop me in the hallway saying the most condescending things, like “Excuse me Missy shouldn’t you be in class?” “Don’t make us send you to the Principal’s office.” When I would snap back at them and say I am a teacher not a student (very loudly) they wouldn’t even apologize, instead almost every single time it would be a mimicking of my voice and then saying something along the lines of, “Hey you should take it as a compliment, you look so good for your age, by the way how old are you?” It would make me so angry!

What makes things worse as a teacher who didn’t recognize my privilege, my students would walk into my class late, and tell me regularly they were late because they were stopped by the cops. I could easily snap back at those officers in front of the Principal’s office, but could my students, nope.

For all those people who say the schools will be less safe without police officers there, you are privileged enough to think that the Toronto Police Officers are there to serve and Protect you. As a young Indian woman with dark skin, I didn’t feel that way, and I still don’t feel that way. I know Police Officers, I have family members who are Toronto Police officers, and I see the problem in them too! There is a systemic problem within the Toronto Police Services, they are brainwashed to be a certain way towards Women, and people of colour, and they reserve their harshest judgement for young Black Men.

Until you are someone who experiences blatant racism or sexism from the organization that is paid to protect you, please just SIT DOWN, AND SHUT UP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also I will add as I always do, There are good police officers in Toronto, but UNTIL those good ones outnumber the bad ones there will always be anger and fear towards them instead of being revered.

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Racism in Canada

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My first racist experience in Canada was when I was in grade 6. This white girl Laura and I used to but classmates, not friends, not acquaintances just in the same class. I was the child of a single mother being bussed to a decent school because of government subsidies. My mom didn’t have much to give me, because she had been exiled from her family for divorcing my dad…so it was her and I. 

One day for some reason Laura and her little clique came up to me in the Cafeteria and grabbed my Pop and said “you owe me this you dumb Paki, for all the stuff you’ve taken from us, go back to your country”

Did I mention I was a fat loner kid at 11? You DON’T take a pop from a fat kid with no friends who only enjoys food. I was shocked at first then said something along the lines of “gimme my pop, you dumb idiot I’m not even a Paki I was born in Canada!” She gave me the finger and began walking away. 

I can say now I know sheer anger rushed through me at that moment. I got up and I’m sure to them it looked like I was walking away, when in fact I was walking around the long rectangular table to get right up behind her (I was too big to hop the table) I went right up behind this girl and grabbed her by the little tight up ponytail on the top of her head and smashed her face into the cafe table, BOOM!

At this point I knew I was in trouble, the whole cafe was staring at me, I lifted her head up realizing I was in so much trouble and asked her for my pop back, and she told me to “fuck off!” 

I was still holding her ponytail so I smashed her face again! BOOM!

Well I broke the girl’s nose….

I’m not proud of it. In fact it still saddens me to tell the story. Now as an adult I know she learned this stuff from her parents, as they proceeded to call my mom and I all kinds of terrible names during the meeting with the principal, making it quite obvious that I wasn’t in the wrong..nor right for that matter…so basically the principal had to call it a draw. She had used racist comments and provoked and stolen from me, I had used unnecessary force, which at the time wasn’t a part of zero tolerance. 

I continued going to school with Laura, I never spoke to her, but I made other friends, but almost 30 years later, she was the first time that someone told me specifically to “go back to my country” as an 11 year old I just didn’t get it! I still don’t get it! Canada is a land of immigrants and NO ONE except Native Canadians have the right to say that. 

Up until yesterday I’ve never seen or heard a Native person say that to someone. As a frequent troller of news comments I finally struck gold! (Also I read the comments but never comment!) 

Behold exhibit A:


She told him! And something inside me jumped for JOY! Maybe it was the 11 year old me that just went crazy! Braaap Braaap!! It was just such a good clapback that I had to share it! 

I think I’m going to start a series on racist experiences. Please if you have ever had one living in Canada comment below! Also I believe in Canada White people are not exempt from racist experiences. I know plenty of Italian, French and Spanish people (to name a few) that were the minority of the decade to hate for a while…and that is why I’m writing this, I want it to be more open. I want others to see the commonalities we have and stop focusing on ththe differences!

P.S. 

A few years later my mom sent me to a charity run summer camp, and by some fluke Laura was in my cabin with me. She was scared of me, we hashed things out and found common ground, her parents had animosity and she was around that growing up. We never became friends but hey some common ground made us human to each other. 

I’m a Westerner with Desi Roots

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I got into a bit of an online argument the other day with someone about whitewashing in Hollywood. It was a very amicable argument, we agreed on most points but agreed to disagree on others. He said something to me though that if Hollywood wants to remake a Japanese movie, why not change characters to suit western audiences….

This bothers me a lot!

I’m not bothered about changing original interpretations to suit modern audiences. In fact I think Hollywood studios should look to Disney and how they are modernizing their cartoons to real life and doing it with more kickass heroines and more diverse characters. I’m so super duper bothered that this guys I was arguing with doesn’t realize that I’m a Westerner, and so are so many of my South Asian, East Asian friends! 

Look I get that people may have a typical idea of what a Westerner looks like but it isn’t just white people anymore who are a part of our landscape. This is the problem with token diversity. Throwing in a brown guy in a sitcom or a black woman shows that there can only be one ethnic person in an entire show is not an actual representation of what the makeup of Canada is or North America for that matter. 

A list of some shows with one taken coloured character: 

The Big Bang Theory

Full house and fuller house 

Grandfathered

The Mick

The Middle

The goldbergs

Saving Hope

Sienfield 

The Simpsons 

Parks and Rec (there were two here so you know that’s a plus) 

There are really just too many to count so I will stop there. 

The problem with these token Characters is that usually they are some kind of Joke or comedic relief or or wait the best is when they are the terrorists let’s not forget when Brown people are cast as terrorist or even sometimes you get the kill two birds with one stone and get a terrorist who is a Black guy!

That bothers me immensely that we are represented like this to the world. But there is something that usually goes hand in hand with whitewashing in cinema or TV, and that is the “white saviour” storyline. 

We saw it with Ghost in the shell, the Great Wall, Dr. strange, and too many other movies. The problem with the white saviour storyline is that for the most part White people do not understand why this makes people of different ethnicities or races upset. The simple truth is that colonizers, whether they were British, Portuguese, Dutch or Italian, we all over the world telling people of colour that they were savages and that they as White people were there to save us from our disgusting way of life. They raped our people, our land and then claimed we were part of their empires. When we went knocking at their front doors, educated in their ways and cleaned up for show, we still were only good enough to be cab drivers and hurry curry resturant owners. 

Oh my God and since we are talking about the White Saviour crap, can you believe that Pepsi commercial? And the Nivea’s “White is Purity” campaign?! See this proves my point. White people have seen themselves also as saviours to us lowlife savages. You mean to tell me those fools in the boardroom at Nivea don’t know that their major client base are coloured people? My best friends growing up were black and Nivea went on our entire body face to toe after every shower, on my skin on hers. Really and Kendal Jenner being the Saviour to the coloured people protesting?!? Really?! Someone fired EVERY single person involved in the making of that commercial!

That sums it up, obviously there are deep seeded issues and stuff that goes way back. But here’s the thing. When my Grandfather was Born he was Born a British Citizen, and the same for my father. So really me being first Generation Canadian, if you look at my pedigree so to say, I’m actually 3rd Generation Westerner, and my sons are 4th Generation. 

With all of that said, the white Saviour shit needs to stop, as does the whitewashing of Hollywood Movies. If you cast Shahrukh Khan and Donnie Yen in a cop Buddy flick it would open screens world bloody wide!

I’m a Brown skinned Indian descendant Canadian born with British parents and Grandparents, I’m double degree educated and I’m covered in Tattoos and piercings and as Western as any other person born and Raised in Canada! 

I’m a Westerner so start waking up and changing your thinking!

My Thank you Letter to the Swet Shop Boys for Cashmere

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Heems: “His Family from India but Riz Pakistani, My Family from Pakistan, I’m Hindu Punjabi”

This describes my boys to a tee, from both my side and their Papa’s side. My boys are represented by the Swet Shop boys. This brings me so much joy, my boys are young and don’t know how important it is to have representation yet. They may not understand the importance, but they do understand that they are being represented now on the small and big screens and in Music. Right now their favourite song is Aaja, as it has been on repeat since the album dropped. In fact to be honest, I don’t get the same joy out of other music as I do from the Cashmere album as a whole.

As you may well know I am Woman, Mother, Teacher and Canadian-Indian. For most of my life, I’ve had to find a balance between two cultures. I wanted so badly to do something in the Arts when I was younger, but at every corner I was discouraged by my Mother, and most of my family. I had the talent, I could play Hindi film songs by ear on my clarinet, and damn well too! I even auditioned to Etobicoke School of the Arts waaaay back in the day, by playing “I Will Always Love You” from the bodyguard as a solo piece on the clarinet. I remember that day being ecstatic that I got into the school, excitedly telling my mom who basically told me I couldn’t go to an Arts school, I had to focus on my studies. So my dream was crushed. Since I became a mother I swore whatever field my kids wanted to go into I would support them (minus the illegal stuff).

Since Riz Ahmed has blown up in Hollywood, my heart has been filled with Joy! Pure Joy! I will tell you why, because both of my boys are inclined towards the arts, both are under the age of 7, but I can see it. I see how much they smile and take joy in creating things, and listening to music. Music is my religion. So if I pass any religion down to them I hope that my Love of all Music from Johnny Cash, Queen, Tupac, and Swet Shop boys is passed down to them.

Riz MC and Heems quite literally represent me, they represent my boys, and they are carving a path with a wonderful and meaningful blend of rap and the beautiful sounds, rhythms, bass, ghazals and instruments of my youth, and their youth (since I think we are about the same age). They seem to have brought together their cultures. Something that I’ve been doing for so long, and still struggle to find a balance with. So I appreciate the balance that this album has immensely.

I have to give them so much love for this album, they don’t shy away from any of the touchy subjects. I tell anyone who wants to understand what it is like to live within the balance of two cultures, to listen to this album and take it in. I Love the album for the representation that I have never, in my 30+ years in life being born and raised in Canada have seen. They touch on everything uncomfortable, the TSA, the problems with flying while brown or Muslim. Having to constantly be harassed under the guise of being random in any and all airports or border crossings. When Riz Spits this;

I pray for my nephew, I pray you’re not antagonized by all the hatin in news and the shit they sanitize/Look Zayn Malik’s got more than 80 virgins on him/there’s more than one direction to get to Paradise.

That line, I mean that line speaks volumes. It shows the other side argument to the young men being converted over to those extremists. It shows that there is another path. There is more to life than being a sheep and following blindly. Not only for religious Desi people, even everyday kids growing up in Toronto, they will know that brown guys can do “Big Things” (like Heems says in one line) that are Different from what is expected of them.

“Ya you Rap but you should have been a Surgeon/What you care for, girl we still splurgin'”

Since this album came out, I have literally told EVERY SINGLE student of mine that is Desi to listen to it. I may get in trouble if it comes back to me but I really don’t care. It’s more important to me to spread the message that there are other avenues in life for Brown boys. You don’t have to go be an extremist, you don’t have to do the typical career path of being a doctor, lawyer or engineer. You can follow your creative side and you should, look at this album, this shows that you can do it.

I took in this whole Album and I mean I’ve listened to it non-stop, the whole album feels like a love letter to my youth. Now that my youth is almost gone, I feel like this will be one of those albums that brown kids in Canada, the US or England can see themselves in, and will easily become a classic for rap lovers like me.

“My only heroes were Black Rappers, so to me Tupac was a True Paki”

I feel like I have to add a Brrrup, Brrrup there with a two finger up in the air salute!

To conclude my Love letter, all I can say is thank you for doing big things, Riz, Heems, and Redinho. You are doing it for our gen and the next, because I’m raising my boys with this music, your music, so keep dropping Big, Big things!

Also I don’t know why, but Aaja, is just pure fire, the song, the video, Everything about it, magic, it is Perfect, the sorta old school Bollywood feel, it was just so bloody fantastic, magic, pure magic.

I had to share some fan art of someone’s that I loved for Aaja it’s from an artist

@drawing_mari

#BlackLivesMatter

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#BlackI have to begin this post with a picture of my boys, who will one day be men, not just men, but men of colour. One of my sons is very fair, and could easily pass for white, along with the fact that I named him after a comic book character, you wouldn’t think he was of Indian descent. My younger son is a little darker, more like my own skintone, his name is pretty westernized also, but he cannot easily pass for white. keep in mind that the picture taken above is taken after a very dark tan from vacation for all three of us, so it doesn’t actually show how fair all of us can be. I want to show people that in fact whether they pass for black or white shouldn’t matter, either way their lives should matter…

My best friend is black, in fact growing up I’ve had two black best friends, since I was 2 years old. I was raised in the great colour-blind 80s! My best friend in the whole wide world is a Black Woman, she and I were pregnant at the same time. We joke about how when our kids are teenagers they are going to be a crew of kids up to shenanigans…but in reality that won’t be the case. In reality we will tell our boys that no matter how much someone might disrespect them in public, or if a police officer tells them to do something they better do it, get to a phone and call us, so that at the very least they will be alive…that is my reality.

I’ve seen people sharing this All Lives Matters crap, and I’m so sorry to tell you friend, but you just simply are fueling the hate. In case you don’t know this, because common sense is a little hard to come by these days, but OF COURSE ALL LIVES MATTER, but what the #BLACKLIVESMATTER group was trying to do was show that their lives matter and for the longest time, black people, no matter their shade of black have been shown that their lives don’t matter. People in the US are notorious for culturally appropriating black culture for Music, Fashion, and basically everything else.

I DARE you to think for a minute if you would switch places with a successful black man in your exact position in life. Most people wouldn’t and that is why at this moment in our history of the human race Black Lives don’t matter. If you would happily switch places with someone who is black and in the exact same position as you in life, then you my friend aren’t the problem.

I will give you a perfect example of how people of colour are discriminated against everyday, even here in Canada. I am a teacher for one school boards in the GTA. Since having children, rather than teach full time, I supply teach. I get calls to come in and supply or pick up a job in our system. My name is an ethnic name. You can tell by the spelling of it very clearly that I am of Indian descent. I’ve contemplated many times to change it to my married name to see if things will be different but to be honest I could never give up my Father’s name, being his only child. Anyway, in the last two years, I’ve gotten supply jobs, in advance, and EVERY single one was cancelled a few days before the day of work by the various white teachers (I know they are white because I’ve worked with them in the past full time). So I go about finding child care, and prepping for my supply days only to have my job cancelled. I got pissed because why is it that every time those jobs were cancelled, they popped back into the system within minutes, so I grabbed them again, can you guess what happened? Yup, Cancelled! I called my HR in my board to complain and let them know that this was happening on a regular basis, and of course I was brushed off by saying “No, No, that’s impossible, it isn’t a race thing, most likely the teacher doesn’t need to take the day off.” I told my HR lady respectfully call the school and ask the Principal if the teacher is still off that day. Within 5 mins I got a call back telling me to go in and have a great day and if anything like this happens again to call them right away again.

The icing on the cake is when my former White co-worker (mind you who has only half the experience I do within this board) who decides to sneak into the class that I’m supplying in (her regular class) and then saying “Oh my God, it’s so good to see you, I didn’t realize it was you who was covering for me” With a huge smile on her face almost relieved, that I wasn’t some fresh face Indian Auntie who smelled like curry, who couldn’t use a projector in her class. If you think I’m playing the race card here, please enlighten me, because this is something that I’ve had to deal with all my life.

Of course there are non racist white people who aren’t prejudice, but there aren’t many that can relate to just beginning the race of life at a disadvantage just because your skin is a different colour. Please don’t promote the phrase all live matter, I beg of you, I’m imploring you, please, PLEASE. If you care anything about the lives of all coloured children, mine included, you just won’t. Of course the people who created the dumb hashtag all lives matter did so out of hate, and bigotry, and sheer and unadulterated racism. You can go and see for yourself, by simply going on twitter and reading everything attached to that hashtag.¬† That is how a hashtag works. Even if you mean it in a Loving and Hippy way, the people who created it, certainly do not and you are promoting them!

People oh and ahh over my children now, but when they are adult men, who have facial hair and are hopefully over 6 feet tall will you still think they are cute? When they are big Indian looking men sitting next to you on a plane will you ask to switch seats or flights? It breaks my heart that you might actually be scared of them, depending on what they look like. It breaks my heart as a mother that my best friend’s son, might not be given the benefit of the doubt that my son who is fair might get. You might even be saying you are Indian why are you fighting for black people? I will tell you that truly racist people cannot tell the difference between brown people and black people, especially since we come in so many overlapping shades. I will stand by Every single one of my Black friends, people whom I consider my family.

Of course ALL LIVES MATTER, WHEN #BLACKLIVESMATTER TOO! right now they don’t, and no one is saying that only #BLACKLIVESMATTER, no one is saying that you should be anti-cop, you just have to open your eyes and your mind.