There are two types of racists that I’ve met in my life.
The first, is the kind you’d expect. The angry patient who screams ‘Paki’ at you while you save their life. The angsty teenage Neo-Nazis who tell you to go back to your own country in a Cineplex parking lot. I’ve had to help them even though they’ve tried to hurt me. I did it because that’s my job as a physician and my belief in my own dignity as a human being- that I can choose to help someone who is shitty. I can choose compassion, because I don’t have to be like them.
But camouflaged in everyday life is the second type. And we need to speak out against it.
It was the early 2000’s. I had just moved to Calgary. I was getting involved in the community, something I used to like to do before medicine. I had a friend who advised me that my work in multiculturalism in NL made me a great fit for an organization in Calgary trying to do lots of the same things. I was all for it, and enthusiastic.
I went to this organization, and I see lots of diverse faces. It’s strange that I don’t see any European Canadians on board. One of the agenda items is discussing candidate qualifications for potential board members. A few of the board members make strident opinions that white Canadians shouldn’t be part of it. Their thinking was that this organization was to work against racial discrimination (of minorities) and that many of the conversations were going to be adversarial with the police, media and politicians.
This isn’t what my multicultural work was like in Newfoundland. This is so far from that. I feel nauseous and leave.
And that’s when I met the second type of racists. The ones on the left who are high on faux intellectual arrogance. Who think being racist towards light skinned Canadians is the product of enlightened thought.
At Dalhousie a student will not be suspended post her racist tweets on white Canadians and Canada 150. She will not be disciplined because there is an egregious double standard when it comes to racism. When it is done by the left, by the intelligentsia in the safety of their ivory towers, it is portrayed as free speech. Please do not make the mistake in thinking these two types of racists are vastly different.
A racist, is a racist, is a racist. Who they discriminate against and what ridiculous justification they make up is just that- jargon that boils down to an argument for inequality.
Anti-white racism makes me uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable because everyday I meet people who remind me that who we are is much deeper than our colour, gender, or what happened to us in our lives. It is who we choose to be that defines us. That is the core of our identity. It makes me uncomfortable because I know my friends who are white wouldn’t stand for the opposite situation.
There was a night at a bar in St. John’s, where a drunk man approached my brother, an amazing physician and all around great guy and called him a racial slur. Right next to my brother was his best friend, ordinarily a salt of the earth, well-mannered, white Newfoundlander. They’re both wayyy shorter than the drunk behemoth in front of them. Doesn’t matter. C’s eyes are red with rage. He looks to Anand and then the guy. He steps out in front of Anand and is about to lose his cool. Anand tells the inbred jerk-off he isn’t worth it, and grabs C. before blows occur. They get out of the bar. Both of them are professionals who have important jobs in the community. It wasn’t worth either of their time to fight a shitty, racist drunk. They head for nachos instead.
Many may read that story and think ‘how terrible, someone said something racist to your brother’. What we take from that story is actually how wonderful it is, that the brothers you choose don’t have to look like you. That’s what’s amazing about the world we live in. That we can choose to be more. That friendships can grow and develop. That almost anyone can fall in love with anyone else.
I’m scared of Nazi’s and white supremacists like every other person with a brain in their head. But what I resent even more is hypocrisy. Engulfing our society is an unhealthy preoccupation with race to the detriment of the vastness of human identity. Tolerance of any form of racism threatens the equal society we are striving towards.
Anti-white racism just leads to more anti-minority racism. It reinforces ‘them vs us’, and doesn’t lead to anything good or righteous. It doesn’t make the world more fair, it just makes it more angry.
Whatever your story, whatever your struggle, whatever your colour, you’re so much bigger than that. I see all of you. Thanks for seeing all of me too.