As we conclude this series and look forward to upcoming changes across every level of our government and within every aspect of our collective Canadian society, I am hopeful that real and tangible progress will be seen. However, I know as well as anyone that political and forward momentum are not permanent nor are, they a given.
Rather, in the midst of this time of heightened awareness and concern for racialized people and a renewed commitment to eradicate racism, in all of its forms, it is critical that we continue to educate ourselves and one another.
Further, we must work together to strategize new, idealistic and once dismissed as impossible changes in Canada and around the world. As had been reiterated throughout this blog series and my accompanying podcasts, the first step of this brainstorming process is a holistic understanding of not just systemic racism, but its sinister nuances.
I firmly believe that systemic racism does not have a defined path that racialized people inherently follow. Rather it has an overarching existential presence over their lives. Indeed, one of the most harmful ways this presence persists is through its cyclical nature. Simply put, there is no way of knowing whether someone will be most impacted due to racism in the housing market, their lack of employment opportunities, their lack of access to adequate mental and physical health care, or, whether they will simply be trapped in the seemingly revolving institutional door that have become prisons and jails in Canada.
For instance, even if a racialized person has had access and has been able to take advantage of educational opportunities, this in no way of guaranteeing that they will have a job, let alone a well-paying one, waiting for them at the end of their degree. What is more, even if they do secure a job, there are few opportunities to advance without the assistance and alliance of non- racialized co-workers or mentors, both of which are often few and far between.
Similarly, a racialized person who has been able to achieve financial success amidst systemic racism within the employment field, has no guarantee they will not become a victim of racist policing practices such as carding which far too often leads to them being detained, charged and ultimately, institutionalized.
All this is to say, there is no universal experience of systemic racism, it is everywhere, and it can and does manifest anywhere. That is why I believe legislative initiatives as a precursor and informer of real, tangible, systemic anti-racism change, such as Race-Based Analysis and a designated Cabinet Committee to study and oversee the ongoing impacts of historical genocide and contemporary systemic racism, are so central to any strategy of solution building.
Let us use the rich resources of our great country, Canada to our benefit. Together, we can and will change our country and in turn, we will be demonstrating to the world just how it can be done.