David Suzuki’s ‘Racism’ and a quick note on why you can’t be racist to white people because I think it’s important.
In David Suzuki’s “Racism”, I interpreted a strong message of perseverance. I felt that Suzuki is seeking recognition now and an understanding that will last into the future about the importance of halting the perpetuation of discrimination, racial and otherwise. The lack of acceptance of the discrimination, racism, violence and abuse suffered by minorities is unacceptable, and, in many ways, unbelievable. Our society can not move forward and brace ourselves for future conflicts until we heal and, at the very least, recognize those that have happened already. The scars created by systematic oppression of Japanese Canadians under the power of internment camps are not ones that can simply fade. There is a responsibility that must be taken by our generation and generations to come that there will be no significant change to the way that minorities are discriminated against until we make it happen ourselves. Governments and sources of power have no ‘obligation’ to make these changes unless we are loud about our demands for healing, for recognition, and for long-term prevention. As a white person, I have never, and will never, experience racism in my life. White people cannot experience racism, because racism is “based on historical, systemic oppression and power.” (Anthony Morgan) .History has not revealed anything to say that the oppression which white people face is anywhere near on par with that of people of color. Because of this, I can only ever scratch the surface of an understanding on what if felt like for Suzuki, and continues to feel like for people of color globally, to be opressed in this manner. I must be aware that though I can be empathetic, I cannot pretend that I understand what Suzuki went through. I can fight as hard as I can to ensure the safety of future generations, but I will not allow myself to try and fit myself into this picture at all. I appreciate Suzuki’s reaffirmation for me. I, personally, have a responsibility to recognise racism and oppression in the past, and the potential for it in the future.
Some Quotes for perspective:
“When you’re so deeply invested in your privilege, and in this case white privilege, racial equality feels like oppression,” said Anthony Morgan, a Toronto-based civil and human rights lawyer. Morgan said reverse racism doesn’t exist and a person who claims otherwise is “outing themselves as someone who has little to no experience or knowledge of what racism is.” “It’s slavery, colonialism, theft all kinds of violations on systemic proportions… versus feelings being hurt.” “Even if all people of colour straight up said they hate white people, it wouldn’t affect a white person’s ability to get a job, an education, or increase the odds that they’d get carded or charged for a crime.”