1. But did they try to sell Snoop the rapping monkey?
Apparently there’s a top secret “rap off” between Snoop and Bubbles:
HAHAHAHA Black men are so funny!! Weed! Rap! Loveable stereotypes! Oh shit, he came onto a white woman.
(Don’t fuck with miscegenation in Nova Scotia, Snoop.)
But really, there’s some cognitive dissonance here. Like, people have heard Snoop’s lyrics, right? And it’s all entertaining that he’s in Truro and let’s wear weed shirts and he’s such a character and it’s all cool until he acts exactly like he’s being celebrated for acting and then it’s “creepy.” In other words, it’s funny when he does it to Black women in his lyrics, but it’s not cool to other, whiter, women, right? I mean, like Snoop said, “(Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about hoes that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing shit, that’s trying to get a nigga for his money. These are two separate things.” Black women are bitches and that’s just all laughs, but CBC reporters — how dare you!
Why they gotta give the cat blue eyes though?
HAHAHAHAHAHA Bubbles and Snoop are “cousins” on the show! It’s funny to the media because Snoop is BLACK! AND BUBBLES IS WHITE! THAT NEVER HAPPENS!
Not funny: Snoop’s comment on Caitlyn Jenner. The lives of Trans* people are literally endangered by institutionalized discrimination in Nova Scotia.
Damn. Not a good week for positive representations of Black men in the media.
Isn’t Tom Arnold a wife beater? Hmmmmmm.
2. Black Lives Matter in Canada too.
When Black people began asserting that #Blacklivesmatter, there was an immediate push back of #Alllivesmatter, as though even taking time to specifically speak about and recognize Black lives cannot be allowed. But yes, if all lives matter, including all Black lives. That doesn’t just mean the 12-year-old boys playing with guns or the innocent teenagers, it has to also mean the men who may be violent, and may be “criminal,” and may be what we think of as “bad” but who still have a history, and a family, and loved ones, and people who texted me about his death and said “tell D. our friend was shot by the police last night.”
I recently relayed the news of the death of a Black man at the hands of police over the phone to a dear friend currently in solitary. I had to pass the news through another inmate since phone times in solitary are limited (even to tell such news as the death of a friend) so he had to yell the details out and keep asking for clarification. What a sad way to give news. The lives of those inmates matter too. Those circumstances bring home to me the connection between police shootings and the recent report on the increasing use of solitary confinement for Black inmates in Canada. When Black men are seen as more violent, less capable of change or rehabilitation, inherently criminal, not worth saving, in need of disciplining, uncontrollable, and pathologically dangerous, what results is being shot dead rather than talked down, or being locked into solitary confinement as a “problem.” I know and love Black men doing their time in solitary and their lives matter to me, and yes, despite their past or what they are accused of or their worst mistakes or their violence, they are worth saving.
There was more outrage and news about the shooting of the Black bear by police. #Blackbearlivesmatter
Actual caption for this picture from dailytelegraph.com.au: “‘TOO FRIENDLY’… the black bear that gained internet fame for a close encounter with a police officer has been put down.”
3. But we’re super white too! Not fair!
This image came up when I searched “Halifax white people.” I also got the RCMP logo and a bunch of people playing on The Wave. Seems like a pretty accurate sample.
Oh no! Halifax falls 41 places on the whitest places in Canada to live listing. Number one is Boucherville, according to Wikipedia, “one of the most homogenous cities in the Greater Montreal Area…Less than 2% of the entire population is not white…” Burlington is third, 91 per cent white. Next is St. Albert, over per cent white. Blainville, Quebec? Yup, I’m going to guess you’re really really white too!
Waterloo is 16th, but it’s also the hate crime capital of Canada. Oh, guess that only matters for “minorities” and such though. Winnipeg is 24th and also the most racist city in Canada. So not that great to live in if you’re Indigenous, but who really cares about that. Best places to live for whom?
Our high crime rate did us in.
Truro was 208th but that was before Snoop. New Glasgow is last. Shouldn’t have fucked with Viola Desmond.
4. Apparently people get drunk downtown.
Drinking and weed are good for tourism! Wait, no they’re not! Drinking and weed are bad in downtown Halifax but good in Truro! Only drink and smoke weed for tourism sometimes!
Now we’re going to drop 41 places on the funnest cities in Canada list too.
The Halifax Police are going to be doing walk-throughs of bars on long weekends, “looking for
Black people anyone who may have had a little too much to drink, that may be causing problems either inside or outside drinking establishments.”
Historical re-enactment (image from mapquest.com.)
This comment on the Metro News article cracked me up: “Yes it’s FANTASTIC! It brings a sense of order and stability to my life to know that my tax dollars are going to be funding police officers to keep a bunch of drunks under control. It’s delightful! Perhaps we should close some fire stations so that even MORE officers could be made available to make the downtown even safer!!”
The rules are going to be stricter. Unless you’re a Dalhousie student I guess.
Or a member of the Halifax Regional Police.
1. Oh, THOSE myths.
Like an idiot, I thought the title of this letter, “Dispelling Mother Canada Myths,” would be a reflection, in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, on the founding myths of a benevolent, welcoming Canada. Oh, I thought, this will be a letter about how Canada is in reality founded on a history of genocide, compounded by officially hidden histories of enslavement and racism, exclusionary immigration policies, forced sterilizations of Indigenous women and historic Eugenics practices, and is now currently engaged in global aggression, environmental destruction, and attacks on workers’ rights. Yes, I agreed, we do need to dispel these myths of Canada as a nation of peacekeepers, as the Promised Land, as tolerant and diverse and multicultural and inclusive. Yes, let’s talk about settler mythologies of an empty land “discovered” and subdued by whites! Let’s talk about how Canada isn’t the nurturing, benign democracy we have been sold on! Let’s deconstruct this pervasive mythology of Canada as not racist, as the United States’ gentle and polite cousin, as a nation with “no history of colonialism”…
Oh, wait. You meant “myths” by people who don’t like the giant ugly war statue. \Got it.
2. The bridge is still cursed though, right?
I don’t speak colonial so my reading of this is like, blaahhhh something something Windsor Castle and then I sort of greyed out. Oh, former speech writer to Harper. What a shock.
3. Those who speak courageously.
“Every single inmate here has a story that goes unheard.”
“The tales of the victims are the relevant ones. For instance, could one imagine what the story of the barbarism committed by the Nazis against innocent peoples would be if the Nazi leaders had prevailed and were the ones who were telling the tale?”
Last week I wrote about watching the police arrest a mentally ill Black woman outside the Halifax Central Library. This week, I got on the 1 at Mumford terminal with the same friend. A young man was sleeping at the back of the bus, not bothering anyone. Transit security came back, shook him awake, and asked him if he was all right, etc. He said he was fine. They asked him when he was getting off. He went back to sleep. At Oxford and Bayers, Transit officials got on the bus again. Again they woke him up, asked him if he was all right, where was he going. He said Quinpool. Again at Quinpool security came on the bus. Then again at Barrington and Duke. At about the fourth time of being woken up and questioned, the young man said something like, “leave me the fuck alone.” Transit security promptly threatened to call the police. My friend got up to defuse the situation, pointing out that the young man wasn’t disrupting anyone, was sleeping quietly, and that the only reason why he even got frustrated was that he had been woken up and interrogated multiple times. Finally, the young man got off at the Dartmouth terminal, at the end of the bus run, presumably exactly the point to where his ticket/transfer allowed him to ride. Maybe the authorities had a reason to suspect he was ill or on drugs or in trouble. Checking on him once seems reasonable. But what was disturbing was how, despite causing no problems at all and literally just sleeping quietly, authorities seemed intent upon causing a disruption so they could escalate the situation and then call the police. And then if he had (understandably) become frustrated, the situation could easily have ended in unnecessary confrontation, violence, charges, etc. Is taking a nap on the bus a problem now? The assumption seemed to be that he must be on drugs, but maybe he just worked a shift and was tired. Maybe it was raining and he had an hour or two to kill before meeting a friend and decided to spend it getting some sleep on the bus. There was no need to create conflict where none existed.
Then the next day, I went to Point Pleasant Park to run. And promptly had to intervene in a situation where a white man’s dog ran over to a Muslim couple when they were getting out of the car. The Muslim man was scared of the dog and asked the white man to control his dog. The white man started yelling at him, telling him “you’re in this country now” and other predicatably racist “go back where you came from” type stuff. At this point I came over and the white man decided to yell at me too, then menaced us with his truck. The Muslim man sadly concluded, “I think he’s racist. I’ve been here for three years and nothing like that has happened, but I think he’s a racist.” I agreed.
Man, can’t I go nowhere in Halifax without having to deal with this stuff? #POClifeinHalifax.
It’s Doors Open Halifax this weekend. It’s actually cool to see all the different buildings and go places we aren’t usually allowed to go. No lie, I always want to go see the sewage treatment plant. LOL, Tim, remember when former Mayor Kelly went went swimming to show that the beaches weren’t polluted and then there was a tampon right in the water or something?
It always bothers me though that they offer tours of the cells in the Provincial Courthouse, like actual people aren’t kept in those cells all the rest of the year waiting for court. Like it’s supposed to be something that’s just fun to gawk at and not the actual conditions of incarcerated people that are hidden and silenced. The Sheriffs aren’t tour guides; their job is to make sure captive people don’t escape. Let’s not sugarcoat what incarceration means and how it’s maintained and the brutality of its conditions, which you won’t see in a sanitized tour of the courthouse. I think everyone should go to a prison to see and understand the conditions actual human beings live in daily, but this ain’t it. It’s like the assumption is the sort of people who go to Doors Open aren’t the sort that might actually be in the cells or might have waited in court while loved ones are down there. There’s something about thinking that cells are something to be toured and just an afternoon’s entertainment that goes against the idea of a city that is open and inclusive to all, including those who are and have been incarcerated. I’d like to see the doors of Burnside actually open, and all the conditions Pheonix risks his safety to detail for us being brought to light and changed.
Uniacke Centre for Community Development (2439 Gottingen) is having a yard sale and fundraiser
today tomorrow (postponed due to today’s rain). BBQ starts at noon. The proceeds will go to buying equipment to help youth and those returning from incarceration get training in media production.
El – your observation made at Point Pleasant Park is astute. I live next to the park, and it recently occurred to me that the vast majority of park visitors are white (a realization which was quickly accompanied by embarrassment that I hadn’t recognized this sooner).
Obviously much of the property in the rich South end of Hali is white-owned and occupied, but although the land may be white owned, I would be willing to bet that if the population of this area was examined, the majority could very well be non-white. As an example, although white students make up the largest single group at my daughter’s nearby school (Inglis St Elementary), non-white students make up the majority in her class.
So why doesn’t this translate to who visits PPP? I think it’s a variety of factors, not the least being some cultural aversions to unrestrained dogs. With no enforcement of the by-law meant to govern this privilege, it leaves park visitors to deal with ignorant or aggressive dog owners themselves. I’ve been in this situation hundreds of times since living here, and 9 times out of 10 it’s a stressful confrontation; it seems dogs which are aggressive or out of control tend to have owners who are equally aggressive or out of control (and dislike being called on it). I couldn’t imagine dealing with some of the situations I have if I was not a large white male who’s first language is english.
From my perspective, Point Pleasant Park as an unconfined off-leash dog park is simply discriminatory and by design or not limits park use to visitors who are comfortable being approached by an unrestrained dog. This is a gem in our city and should be available to be enjoyed by everybody, including those with cultural (or medical, or psychological) aversions to dogs. I don’t think this situation arose out of a desire to restrict access to the park, but rather it’s another example of how deep the systemic racism runs around here.
Thanks, El and thank you Tim for giving El the opportunity to get into our heads every Saturday morning.
Taking a nap on a bus is a strange thing for transit authorities to investigate when Halifax was recently running ads encouraging sleeping on the bus: http://adsoftheworld.com/sites/default/files/styles/media_retina/public/5080_ht_poster_sleep_v4_aotw.jpg?itok=AebY11oy
Wow – a challenging, insightful, eye-opening set of obervations. Thanks for this and your courage in intervening in situations where you can. Brian
I’m not sure that I agree with El’s perspective on opening the doors to the Courthouse once a year, but i sure agree with her about turning the spotlight on the Burnside Jail and the conditions there. Out of sight, out of mind.