Dear White Canada, It’s Time to Wake up.
If you are white person in Canada that claims to be ‘tolerant’ and not like THOSE Trump supporters or those violent, hateful people — I urge you to read this whole piece. Sit in the discomfort.
I write this with tears in my eyes and knots in my stomach.
I write this knowing that my Muslim fam are in pain as they cope with a hatred that has manifested into deathly violence.
I write this knowing that all Muslim and Muslim-passing folks are being reminded that being in their bodies is not safe.
I write this reading comments by white Canadians saying they are‘disgusted’, that this violence was ‘unCanadian’, and they are ‘shocked.’
I write this full of rage at their ignorance.
Of all the events that have happened in the last couple of weeks that have sent ripples through our communities — unfortunately, none have been shocking. Devastating, yes. Painful, yes. Shocking, no.
Why is this not shocking to me?
Because you did this. Yep. You did this.
Oh you think this is a broad generalization? That’s ironic.
And the Muslim, the Muslim-passing, the black and brown communities, the immigrants and the refugees — We the vilified, demonized, surveilled, and bombed — What about the generalizations that are made about us on a constant basis?
I know it’s easy for you to distance yourself from one ‘fanatical’ person. It’s so easy for you to sit silently unaffected thinking there is no blood on your hands.
I know that you think that is Canada is tolerant and multicultural.
I know that you think that Canada could never have a Trump?
The 27 year old university student who committed this violence was an ardent Trump supporter and was “very right and (an) ultra nationalist white supremacist.”
I challenge you to ask yourself, what do you think breeds these fanatics? What is to be expected after decades of a government that represents YOUR voice, your media and, your schools repeatedly propagated that those people, the Muslim (and the Muslim-passing) are to be targeted abroad and at home.
Oh but that doesn’t have anything to do with you?
- Where were have you been since 9/11 when islamophobic, xenophobic, and racist rhteoric has dominated the airwaves?
- Where were you when Canada entered a war in Afghanistan and bombed innocent Muslim families?
- Where were you when Canada introduced security certificates that undermined our very constitution to take away the rights of so many people?
- Where were you when the homes of the Toronto 18 were illegally searched and were detained in solitary confinement without charges?
- Where were you when Maher Ahar was detained and tortured in Syria for over 1 year with the Canadian government refusing to ask for his release?
- Where were you when Muslim women running in the elections were targeted with hate?
- Where were you when Kellie Leitch announced a test for Canadian Values?
- Where have you been as hate crimes against Muslims in Canada have more than doubled in recent years?
Were none of these things shocking to you?
Were none of these things unCanadian to you?
The Muslim communities have been painted with broad brush strokes in the mainstream for a long time. A whole generation of children have grown up in a world that hates Muslims and whoever is perceived as Muslim. Their hate is not only validated but reflected in the mainstream with our government officials, in our media, and on our television shows. So please explain to me, how is this shocking?
“Go back to where you came from”
Trust me, we’ve tried to be model minorities. We’ve tried to tell you that broad generalizations of one community are illogical. We’ve tried to get elected into high positions and get reputable jobs but that hasn’t really worked.
We’ve also tried to protest and enact change but when we do we get surveilled, we get targeted by racists on the internet, we get denied jobs because we spoke out, we get harassed at borders — so as you can imagine — we are terrified.
I know I’m unwanted here. Trust me, Muslim communities, people of colour, immigrants and refugees — we’ve all been told “Go back to where you came from”. So your sympathies and your shock just do not go far enough.
Your silence has implicated you. Trump’s hate isn’t coming here. It’s already here and has been. Since the beginning of this nation built on Indigenous lands and communities. When we exercise our power, it’s met with threats of violence, arrests, detention, deportations, and the stripping of our citizenships.
So the question is, what will you do with your power?
It’s about time you recognize the Canada we exist in.
A Sikh woman living on Turtle Island.
[Special thanks to Nanky Rai for her continued inspiration and conversation.]
Want to know how to be a better ally?
Required reading below:
For years, Ed opened his doors to immigrant families, hosted street parties and gave away free turkeys. Now it's time…torontoforeveryone.com