“What are you trying to prove?”
Ah. The most common question I’ve been asked since I started publicly sharing my thoughts and findings on racism and discrimination in North America. Usually the question is followed by a comment like “Your ancestors were probably slave owners, you know!” or “You know you’re not black, like, at all, right?” or “Seriously, your retweets take up my entire feed, you need to chill.”
I don’t ever want any of my posts to be about me, because that’s not what this is for, but clearly this question is getting to a lot of people and I’m going to do my best to address it.
I’m not trying to prove anything, honestly. There is nothing to prove. Racism, institutionalized discrimination, police brutality, mass incarceration— they’re all inherently linked and deeply rooted into North American culture and that is a fact. If you need anymore proof of that, please let me know and I can provide you personally with adequate resources to educate you on any of the subjects.
If the question was, “What are you trying to do?” or “What are you trying to accomplish?” my answer would be different. I’d probably trip and stumble over all of my words, trying to paint the big picture and explain all of my hopes and dreams and expectations. I’d try and tell you about the multitude of ways that we can make a difference in our world. The bottom line is, I just want to see change. I want to see people recognize that these things matter, that they’re important, and that they need to be seen.
If I can help one person see the need for change in our institutions, our authorities, our thoughts, our hearts, then I’m happy. If I can see one less person unjustly murdered by the police this year, I’m honoured. If I can help one person get a job that they otherwise may not have been offered because of the hue of their skin, I’m elated. At the end of the day, I just want change.
So I guess you’re all right— maybe I am trying to prove something. I’m trying to prove that change isn’t just possible— it’s needed. It’s necessary. I’m trying to prove that things aren’t okay but that they can be. And that change is coming… and that it’s driven by us; the everyday, ordinary people that recognize the need for it, like myself, and hopefully one day by you too.