© Chuck Duboff
FOR THOSE WHO READ THIS AND SAY: “ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE RACISM, I SAY: THE DAY WE ARE LIVING IN A WORLD WHERE RACISM NO LONGER EXISTS, IS THE DAY I WILL STOP WRITING ABOUT, AND STANDING UP TO, RACISM!!
I wrote a blog yesterday about the ugly e-mail which I had received the night prior; while writing, I attempted to keep my emotions in check and I believe that allowed for a more clearly written blog on my feelings about racism…and my need to stand up to those who would subjugate others to a lesser standing in society. The response to the blog was overwhelming…nearly 200 reads and tremendous support and commentaries shared. I finished off the blog by offering anybody an opportunity to share their own thoughts about the rise in Racism. My co-blogger, and brother from another mother, Geoff Brookes, asked if he could write about what is happening. I thought this would be very interesting, as much of what I have shared with Geoff about being Jewish has surprised him. So, what follows are Geoff’s thoughts on the rising tide of racism.
© Geoff Brookes
During my fifties, I have belatedly come to understand how racism (and other forms of discrimination) affect the lives of real people. I’ve learned this by listening to real stories, and by looking for this reality in daily news. Social media has played a big role in my latterly education. The recently publicized experience of NFL athlete Michael Bennett is a good example. The following are Michael Bennett’s words:
It’s not that I didn’t know about racism at an intellectual level. I was not a “denier” or even a skeptic. I have always been proud of our country’s role in opposing Nazi Germany, and the horrific, racist atrocities of that regime. No words can describe that horror, or the valour of the people that fought to save Europe (and the world) from that terror. I am especially proud that the British Commonwealth once stood alone in that fight, against the apparent odds – proud of the British resolve, epitomized by Churchill’s famous speech ending with the words, “We shall never surrender”.
I remember doing a high school history project for my favourite teacher, whose parents were Germans, living in Germany during the Second World War. My project was on anti-semitism. Part of my essay listed famous Canadians who were Jewish. It was a long list, and I remember specifically that I wrote about Gordon Lightfoot, among others. I remember that my teacher wrote a very nice note saying what a good essay it was. It was a moment that sticks out in my mind, as a memory of high school.
**Anti-semitism at Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg:
But what I have learned especially in the last 6 years, largely through my friendship with Chuck, but also in other ways, is how racism affects the daily lives of people that have had to deal with their man-made fate, as the victims of systematic hatred. It’s not that everyone is a racist if they are not a victim. Instead, it is that the perpetrators of racism are free to act out their agenda if they are unopposed. The old punch line to the story of the person who failed to defend others is that “finally they came for me as well, and there was no-one left to defend me”. This is indeed a succinct explanation of why racism persists, and why it must be called out, shamed, and defeated at every turn.
Perhaps this is the best aspect of blogs like this, and social media. They are the modern street corner or city square. By sharing personal stories, and appealing for action and support, we can use the power of the written or spoken word as a weapon for freedom, and a shield for human rights.
Will you join this daily struggle?