Tag Archives: black community

Change the Community

Instead of leaving the ghetto, we are supposed to transform the ghetto. I like in a small, redneck rural town and my first response was: this racism is too much, I’m leaving. But instead of leaving, I want to be part of what makes my small town great for Black people.

 Despite being very white, at 90% of the population, my town does have a mix of Africans straight from the Motherland and a handful of non-white people who are in town for work or to attend the prestigious university from major cities across Canada. My goal is to always greet and meet any Black person I come across, and I extend that courtesy to other non-white people. It is difficult getting a job here if you are not white, and it is important to unite, network and support one another in the Black community.

   There are only 4 Black students at my college, 3 girls (including myself) and one boy. I have already established a social connection introducing one to the other, switching social media and phone numbers and meeting outside of school. One student is from Liberia, the other is a local and the boy is shy so I don’t know. But the more we connect and create a space in such a racially hostile territory, then the easier it is for other Black newcomers to the city to feel a sense of belonging and safety. 

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Twi Progress

Learning an African language is an important aspect of reAfricanization and one I take so seriously that I don’t even want English spoken in my house, just Asante Twi or other African dialects (I’m dating an African man who speaks both Twi and Yoruba). Learning an African language isn’t easy because I do not have the opportunity to practice my Asante Twi very often since I live in a small, rural town. 

However, if you are dedicated to learning an African language, there is a lot of resources and all it takes is determination, practice and discipline. I found that this comprehensive website is very thorough and has a lot of information, as well as being a reAfricanization website who’s purpose is to assist the African in the Diaspora in their journey. Here Here is a basic Twi language website that’s great because it has pronunciation from an African, and not some random bot. 

  There are a number of Asante Twi and other language apps. I use Twi Junior which is good for beginners, and Twi Proverbs which is just nice to have. My goal is to memorize the Asante proverbs I like. I also listen to Ghanaian music on YouTube although it’s not 100% certain the songs are all in that dialect, but the music is actually good and upbeat and puts me in the right mind frame when I’m studying Twi. The best tutorial on YouTube is GoldCoastDebuty. She makes learning Twi fun! 

I hope to be fluent in Asante Twi by Kwanzaa this year, and I believe in everybody young and old who are reconnecting with their African roots! We can do this! 
 

Dating a Black Man

It is ironic that I had to go to the whitest town I have ever lived in to meet the Blackest man I’ve ever met. Yes, my African king is from the Motherland, what some may call a “freshie” but in my opinion, it’s just refreshing.

We are taught to hate what we fear, and we are taught to hate Black love. But we were not taught the truth by our oppressors. Black love, the love between two Black people, should be revered. It is a beautiful, sacred and important thing. Black love heals the nation, it brings us closer to our heritage and history and unifies the Black people. We cannot be strong as a people if we are fragmented off in the name of multiculturalism. 

If I had not opened myself up to the importance of Black love, which came later because I have been taught my Black brothers are inferior, I would have missed the opportunity to meet my king. But now I see that not only are Black brothers desirable and should be sought after, but that they should hold precedence over other races because Black love is natural. And an alienation from Black love means perhaps we need to do a bit more self-love and give a brother a chance as well.

  I’m not saying Black love is easy. It takes trust, dialogue and commitment to overcome the negative ideas associated with Black men and to relearn or learn how to have a healthy relationship with men of colour. What words should we use to describe and name each other? Words have power. We have to lift each other up and understand that despite the circumstances in our lives, we can work together to overcome them and solidify the bond between two Black people. 

As they say, once you go back Black, you never go back. Well I say, if it’s not Black love it’s tragic, because Black love is magic. And I’m not putting down interracial couples, I’m not. Listen, I come from the most diverse city in the world–Toronto. I get it. And if the one for you is from a different ethnicity, that is alright! But where once many sisters, tired of the playa playa act, turned to other cultures for marriage, respect and monogamy; I believe that we need to scrutinize what Black love really is, how powerful the potential of Black love is personally and collectively and build upon that. 

Fighting Goliath

  Today I heard famed evangelist Nathan Morris preach about Moses and slavery, about David and Goliath, and this fine, handsome young man might have been sparking revival for the church I was visiting but I was thinking about taking my people out of bondage, of slaying the mighty Goliath which are our oppressors–a capitalist, White supremacist world-dominating behemoth. And us, the Darker Races of the world, with our humble yet fierce hope for liberation.

   Around the conscious Black community, it is often argued that Christianity was brought to Africa by these evil white devils from Europe who sought to steal our bodies and land, and control our minds with their pure White Messiah. But regardless of whether you want to now shun Christianity and praise African gods and goddesses, the Bible holds many stories that can give us hope in fighting our enemy. Because I am not going to sit back and be subservient to White domination and expect that of my children and grandchildren. Like Moses said unto Pharoah: Let. My. People. Go. If we were to fight, us oppressed people against our oppressors, like David fought Goliath and his four brothers… wouldn’t this all-seeing God, the Alpha and Omega, not help his people? Wouldn’t he allow that giant to fall?

   What is the destiny of the Afrikan race, God? It must be freedom. And if there is no God, and this world is a godless, heathen place then either way karma points in one direction. It must be freedom.

Black Support

   It is one thing to see the call for social justice rung on social media, but another to experience Black unity in my own city, my own community. I have never in my life experienced that here in Toronto and I want to share with you my experiences of Black unity.

   Yesterday evening, casually sitting on a bench at Dufferin and Bloor Street in the dying sun, I notice a throng of beautiful, Black women around me. Slim, natural Afro hair in simple but stately styles, and bronzed skin gleaming. Today, a spritely Black woman shakes my head and introduces herself and continues along her way. A few feet away, two young Black men stop to talk, both business owners and with obvious respect to one another. I watched all this with an incredulous smile, watched as a Black mother nursed her baby openly at the park and as a West Indian father chased his daughters with their adorable braided pigtails.

    I have to go buy injeera on Dufferin and King St, and as I do, my friend tells me to go support Plentea, a hip tea bar up the street that just opened and owned by two, strapping young Black men. We have coffee at Jal Gua Organic Cafe, owned by South Sudanese philanthropist Emmanuel Jal on Queen Street East. I try the delicious sorghum soup. I take a picture with Jal.

   I pass a homeless Black man lying filthy under the bridge that divides poorer Parkdale from trendy Queen West. I give him a silent prayer. Our people are coming together, we are uniting and supporting each other and in doing so strengthening ourselves collectively and powerfully. We are lifting each other up, opening shops, salons, working on Master  degrees and ditching the perm. We will not forget our brothers in the prisons, our unconscious brothers still in the slums, our sisters stuck in the cycle. Right now it is quality over quantity, but soon it will be the masses. Montreal may have been the Black Power movement of the 1960s, but Toronto is pushing, pulling and fighting it’s way to Black liberation through the support of our own people. This light, this is the light we must hold on to.

Alton Sterling

 

If we are silent about our pain, they will kill us and say we enjoyed it ” Zora Neale Hurston

  I am beginning to suspect the cold-blooded murders of Black people in the United States is nothing short of provocation for civil war. It feels like they want us to get roused up, find a bat or knife and attack White people. So they have necessary reason to exterminate us like meaningless flies on a windowsill. Every bone in my body wants to run over those two rookie cop weasels again and again, because it is obviously–painfully obvious–that this was a racially based murder and these officers were quoted saying they feel fully justified by using deadly force.

   I don’t know what to do. Are we ready for a civil war? No. Like Lauryn Hill says in her song, we lose before we even begun to play. It’s a suicidal mission for us individually, and It’s genocide collectively. But the unneccessary murders of our Black people by police cannot just be a simple tragedy.

   We are angry, exasperated, fearful, enraged and we are hurting by these deaths. We are in pain. I am in pain. Watching the video and reading the facts of what went down broke my heart, made me enraged and turned my eyes into fiery coals. I have a 37 year old brother. It could’ve been him. What are we supposed to do? Self-preserve ourselves in this state of imprisonment and oppression, or fight back and let rivers of our blood wash away the old, cleanse out our tormented souls and begin anew. Hoping, someday, our Black skin does not mark us for death. For hate. For ridicule. For oppression. Black skin is what got you murdered, Alton. R.I.P. 

BLM Pride Toronto 2016

   This post is a response to the unbelievably biased, hate-mongering articles written to paint Black people and their fight out of oppression in bad light. I happened across an article in the Toronto Star and read another one in the Globe and Mail just for good measure. These middle-aged Caucasian women who feel they have a right to cast an opinion on the Black struggle, whilst pretending to sympathize with the LGBTQI community have tried to discredit,  shame and destroy the movement, as is par for the course when dealing with the White Opinion.

    As a Black female who has marched in the Pride Parades in Toronto, and spent many weekend nights on Church St, I would like you to listen to what I have to say. Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail is trying to say be thankful, Black citizens of Toronto, that you live here and not Ferguson or the Phillipines. Because she deeply understands our  plight and all, living I imagine in Parkdale? Weston Road and Eglinton? No, she does not live there, I assume, probably in a lighter part of town, Yonge and Eglinton? The suburbs North of Steeles?

   And even if you lived in Parkdale, Wente, did you know that McCormick Park and Sorauren Park is lily white and dominated by Caucasian homeowners? While the little plastic playground outside the dilapidated apartment buildings filled with bedbugs and mice on West Lodge Ave is where the Black children play, no green space and right beside the parking lot.

    What about the prison system in Canada? You say Toronto is not like Ferguson, but it’s ironic our prison system mirrors the American prison industry dealing in Black bodies, with prisons in rural parts of Ontario to help provide jobs to the poor white man. You say racism is basically a non issue, while barely unable to keep your own white privilege and prejudice in check. “Noisy” and “belligerent” is what you describe Black protestors, “passionate” and “determined” could have been used to describe a people who are fed up with living in a city full of racial disparity, in a city that benefits from white supremacy as much as our beleaguered cities in the States.

   Furthermore, the only point I agree with these privileged White women who like Black people exactly where they are (far from them), is that the BLM doesn’t belong in Pride. Pride is a White event. You have homosexual people of all races, and traditionally Black people are relegated to Blockarama. Even at the clubs, there are only two Black transgendered performers. At Family Pride, where I take my son, we were one of only 3 Black families amidst a sea of white faces. The Black community and the LGBTQI community need to come together to fight white supremacy which is heteronormative,  sexist, and racist. But don’t preach to the White masses. They are bent on misunderstanding us.

  Instead, take your time and determination to preach that Black Lives Matter to those who need to hear it most, like Jesse Williams did. We have an unconscious city that needs awakening and organizing. We cannot go to these White events and victimize ourselves. We must go to our brothers and organize But Black rallies, and organize to put Ourstory in our schools (not just European history and the twisted worldviews they possess). We must not convince them to hire us. We must create jobs ourselves and our communities.
  
   Wente and these other journalists who are enjoying the fruits of white domination will never sing our praises. And, that’s unimportant. What’s important is that the Black community in Toronto keeps fighting and works together to dismantle the racial hierarchy and domination that makes us more American than we think. When we had a Black Power Movement in the 1960s, white anxiety and hatred led to a Canadian version of COINTELPRO called PROFUNC that successfully dismantled a rising Black nation via the RCMP and police. Nothing has changed since then. Don’t let these slithery, prejudiced journalists fool you. We have much work to do.