Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Black Lives Matter: The question asked and, hopefully, answered.

 One of the best things about having a blog is the opportunity to keep a record, a diary, of your reaction to the world. 

One of the words things about having a blog is the opportunity to keep a record, a diary, of your reaction to the world.

As I have learned many times over the years, I have a lot to learn. I have been lucky to have readers who have held me accountable for something I've written or the way I expressed myself. I remember using the word 'schizophrenic' inappropriately, and after a long conversation, near argument, with a reader, I changed the text. Once done, I read it and realized that the change made things better.

Sometimes I'm wrong.

Sometimes I need to be corrected.

5 years ago I wrote a blog about the Black Lives Matter protest at the Toronto Pride Parade wherein the parade was stalled while negotiations went on about diversity and inclusion at Pride. I wrote something about that protest and a few days ago was called to account for what I'd written. Foolishly I'd erased the original post a few days after having written it so I didn't have it to refer to. In many ways, my memory does not match the memory of the woman who approached me about it. But she was a reader, she had found the post hurtful, and her memory of the event needed to be respected.

It took everything I had not to go into 'defense' mode. Somehow I knew this was an important conversation and I needed to listen to what she had to say. Sometimes listening hurts. Our conversation was long and I don't feel I can encapsulate it here, but what I can do is answer the question she first asked me, "Do you still feel the same way about the BLM protest at the parade as you used to?"

So here goes, and in fairness, my thoughts have been informed by what's happened in the past 5 years.

1) I am, and always have been, against all forms of racism but specifically anti-black racism.

2) The Pride parade began as a riot a fact easily forgotten. I sometimes shake myself because we were in the first march in Toronto and it was terrifying, no crowds cheered that day. I mistrust the crowd that shows up every year, who are they now, what violence can they do?

3) Marsha P. Johnson and other black transgender women led the battle at Stonewall and it is their activism that we carry into the future. Defiance and pride began the protests, but now pride alone lives on to march down the street, that is until BLM held an accounting of where we were.

And yes, if you are asking, I have backed up these beliefs in actions - cause therein lies the heart of apology. I hope this helps fill in as the blog I should have written that day.

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