OTTAWA—White men have a collective problem of violence and they need to take some personal responsibility and pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
On Aug. 27, during the prime minister’s campaign stop in Bolton, Ont., the CBC reported, “dozens of angry protestors that outnumbered Liberal supporters began chanting obscenities before Mr. Trudeau could make his remarks on Friday.” The event was cancelled after a two-hour delay and the Ontario Provincial Police escorted Justin Trudeau from the premises. In case you thought this was all about Trudeau, note that “CBC reported that one protestor shouted a racist remark at a police officer of colour working Mr. Trudeau’s protective detail, with another protestor heard making misogynistic remarks to a female officer also on the prime minister’s detail.” Because white men are so focused on retaining their white, male supremacy and Trudeau is undermining the natural order of things, they get violent. Oftentimes, murderous.
Also, over the weekend, a disturbing video made the rounds on Twitter. It showed an apoplectic white man shouting, cursing, and destroying property in a Tasmanian devil-like rage at the Miami International airport. Joy Reid, host of MSNBC’s political show, The Reid Out, quote-tweeted the video, “Note the steroid-level rage and how quickly he draws for the n-word. Also … where were the police?? Is there no proper security in MIA??” In the video there was no airport security or police in sight. Naturally, the white man in question never forgot to launch the N-word. Mehdi Hassan, of the Mehdi Hassan Show also on MSNBC, quote-tweeted the same video, saying “Let me be clear: there’s no scenario in which someone who looked like me, with my name, could get away with even six seconds of behaviour like this at an airport, let alone sixty. Where on earth are the police? Security?”
So where are the police? Well, they’re mostly white men, too.
Now This reported: “Police unions across the country are pushing back against vaccine mandates by threatening mass resignations and lawsuits, as the country grapples with an increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.” Well, this is inconvenient for politicians who want to do the exact opposite. These are politicians that also keep increasing police funding and police power, so the schadenfreude would be sweet if it weren’t so deplorable. The Toronto Police Service (TPS) will require their officers to be fully vaccinated, with mid-September as a deadline. Too bad the police union that represents those Toronto officers disagrees. As reported in the Globe and Mail, Jon Reid, president of the union, “released a statement later in the day saying he ‘does not support this mandatory vaccination announcement or mandatory disclosure.’”
Good luck with that mandate, TPS.
The anti-lockdown protests are white supremacist movements; the sea of whiteness characterizing their attendance is a feature. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh commented on the link to journalists, as reported by the National Post: “‘To brazenly not follow public-health guidelines puts people at risk and that is something that we’ve seen with extreme right-wing ideology.’” The article goes onto note that “organizers behind anti-lockdown protests in Vancouver, Toronto, and the Prairies know figures from the country’s ‘racist right’ are involved in their movement.”
As I wrote last year in this paper, “just to make sure selected politicians stuck with the program, right-wing groups co-ordinate ‘protests’ to pressure government officials to do their bidding.” And they weaponize online disinformation campaigns (ahem, Facebook) to grow their ranks. They have continued to do so, culminating in violent displays of aggression. The chair of the Anti-Hate Network, Bernie Farber, wrote an op-ed in the Globe and Mail explaining that we are actually in two pandemics: “Now, we have to reckon with a syndemic of infection and hate in a system too vulnerable to both—or face very real consequences.”
One is all we’ve been living with for the last year and a half, the other is ignored.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, in promoting his banning of puppy mills in his detailed platform, failed to mention racism, systemic racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, or the rise in anti-Asian hate. When asked about this by CTV journalist Omar Sachedina, he said, “he has spoken out against racism and pointed to diversity among the Conservative slate of candidates.”
Wrong answer. Then he went onto say some gobblygoop about various candidates and friends from different ethnic and religious backyards. I’ve met five-year olds with more racial awareness.
A year after anti-Black racism and police brutality protests and nearly three months after a deadly Islamophobic attack in London, Ont., O’Toole has nothing to say except that he has a Muslim friend and has some Muslims running for him. And his solution for systemic racism? To get all the racialized people to “help us tackle racism, reconciliation, inequalities,” meaning racialized people will do all the work for free while white men get all the credit.
Since his election as leader, O’Toole hasn’t fully reversed the party’s courtship with white supremacy (I wrote on this previously), refused to answer whether he believes systemic racism isn’t a thing because cops don’t like the term, insulted residential school survivors to “own the Libs,” and has been silent on anything having to do with race or injustice. Global News quoted him as saying: “I fight for people that wear a uniform. And when you use a term like ‘systemic,’ some of those people feel that you’re calling them racist.’”
Sorry to anyone who isn’t white—maybe if you have a puppy, he’ll care.
Erica Ifill is a co-host of the Bad+Bitchy podcast.