To Rectify Damage, Reverse Our Paralysis (Part 3)

Black public figures are just as opened to bias and discrimination as any of us…

TO RECTIFY DAMAGE, REVERSE OUR PARALYSIS

(Part 3)

By N Oji Mzilikazi

Originally appeared in the Montreal Community Contact Volume 24, Number 12 June 12, 2014

What is the purpose of education for the children of enslavement and colonialism who bear multitudinous psychological, educational and economical scars from centuries of inhumane and unbridled exploitation, torturous suffering, dehumanization, racism, discrimination and hatred, if not to make us whole?

Yet the scars of colonialism; internalized racism and self-hate have many believing it’s all about becoming privilege, being a cut above others of the race, achieving “white gaze” – validation and approval of whites – escaping the constraints racism placed on Blackness…

 

Dr. Clarence Bayne, Une Minute S’il Vous Plaît!

Dr. Clarence Bayne, Une Minute S’il Vous Plaît!

By N Oji Mzilikazi

December 5, 2011

Philosophically a contradiction is a unity of opposites. For example: night and day, black and white, positive and negative, good and evil. They all depend on their opposite for meaning.

On the other hand, when a person is called a walking contradiction, there is no foundational or ideological unity or balance. There is no integration of self. The person has no ideological position other than that which is conveniently expedient.

Detailed examination of your words Dr. Bayne reveals that you are a walking contradiction. To repeat, your criticism of others are never rooted in critical analysis but in bitterness and protection of what you consider “your space.”

You come off like those old Arab and African dictators whose time has passed, are bankrupt of ideas, but desperately afraid to go gently into the good night. Rather than be satisfied with memories of the “good ole days of the struggle,” your profitability from it, and be welcoming to new voices, you prefer to do a Mugabe Buthelezi combination.

You come off desperate to make yourself relevant, as well as brutish. Having an oversized ego doesn’t help either. When has any outsider else ever cared about our community? Still, you want to appear to outsiders as being the “Black” voice of reason. What a joke!

Ron Licorish is your buddy. You called him “my friend” (Community Contact 6/1/11). You and Ron, along with several others secretly went to City Hall to inject yourselves in to the Carnival debacle that went before the courts. Yet, in the last Contact you went for Ron’s jugular over his proposal of a Caribbean Canadian Community Congress, and in a rather unbecoming manner. If that’s how you treat friends I can’t imagine you having any.

Licorish was the past president of CCFA. He contributed money to fighting the court case against MCDF. As an officer of the CCFA, his participation as well as any criticism of Carifiesta in the Community Contact is therefore treasonous. Even if Licorish failed to recognize that, surely you with your intellectual perspicacity didn’t.

You never informed Ron as “how going to City Hall go look” to CCFA membership. Having him on board was to have a “Carifiesta heavyweight.” You didn’t see fit to use your profile and act as a mediator between CCFA and MCDF immediately upon the suspension of the 2010 Carifiesta. Instead, like an opportunistic hyena and under the guise of community interests you waited.

And what did the Committee achieved in going to City Hall? Nought. And after your shameless running to City Hall, you had the temerity to attack those invited there, as you described, “to drink cheap wine and eat ethnic food.”

Is that the reason you weren’t present for its Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery this past August? I can understand. After 30-something years of drinking that cheap stuff with different mayors you can no longer get a “head.” And to know, I thought the Black leaders missing from the event was on account of it not being their initiative but that of Dan Phillips.

Who would’ve “thunk” it was the wine? As both you and I know – Black leaders in Montreal do not show solidarity with one other.  The egotistical need of wanting to be perceived as chief leader has left some unwilling to share the stage and vocalizing the same. Some even bad-talking their “competition” to City Hall.

In your effort to berate Licorish’s idea, you flippantly resorted to saying that even with their Congress; Jews aren’t protected from anti-Semtism. To bring Jews into your argument reeks of intellectual dishonesty. Who can deny the economic and political clout of the Jews? Not to mention, they have friends in high places.

They have a Congress as well as numerous active organizations that defend Jewry and promote its interests. Neither Blacks nor West Indian/Caribbean people have any such institution to look out for the Caribbean and or Africa’s interest. None of the many West Indian organizations/associations in our community has a political mandate, and none of the islands’ associations have ever demonstrated a united front to anything. But ready you were to shut down Ron.

Jewish ownership of media- print and audiovisual allows for their issues and stories to be always front page and center, and their image protected at all times. Media titans Rupert Murdock and Robert Maxwell are Jews. Have you ever seen Hollywood films portray Jews in the manner they do Blacks?

When Canadian media mogul, Israel (Izzy) Asper died in October 2003, Daphne Bramham writing in the Vancouver Sun decribed him as “a committed Zionist.” She quoted him saying, “In all our newspapers, including the National Post, we have a very pro-Israel position.” Izzy also owned the Montreal Gazette.

Repeated letters and calls to the Gazette in respect to their usage of “black” in the negative as in “black mark,” and not capitalising the “b” as in “Black,” when referring to us – for then “Black” becomes a proper noun- grammar 101 teaches proper nouns are always capitalized, are always met with outright refusal.

Calls to the Gazette over their allowance of “Niggas” to be published, rather than the “N-word” in T’cha Dunlevey’s November 24 review of the Jay Z and Kanye West show was met with indifference. Even the blind can see that a strong Black organisation can pressure the Gazette in ways individual voices can’t.

Have you ever endorsed or promoted anything that wasn’t your own Dr. Bayne? Self-conceit allows you to believe you are the only person who can do things right.  You put forward, The community leadership that is getting the attention of the various levels of government do not seem to understand the economics of entrepreneurship.” (Community Contact 8/4/10)

For good measure you signed off as president of the Black Studies Center (BSC) and director of ICED, JMSVB at Concordia University. Titles that indicate you are eminently qualified to dispense, and further you, because you had your own entrepreneurship thing going.

While you want to go about triumphantly beating your chest like a big “sawathie,” do you care to explain why your, and the much lauded by you Black Studies Center (BSC) lost its Tax Exempt Status in 1986? Up until recently, and Peter Francis efforts to its revitalization, it was still being under-utilized.

By virtue of offices held, you were part of the cadre of leadership that have the community presently on its knees. So it is duplicitous and hypocritical of you to present yourself as insightful.

When Bob White pointed out that Blacks didn’t own Union Church, your response was that the St. James United Church roof is leaking and its steps crumbling and the catholic religious institutions are infested by pedophiles.” (Community Contact 4/11/10)

That “why complain when others have it just as bad” tact of yours, is Uncle Tominism and appeasement to a warp ideology at its best. Like the Jews, St. James’ access to resources is 100 times easier than Blacks.  And to know Dr Bayne, you are an educated man who “fought” for Blacks back in the day.

You gave a “props” to the satire of Bob White then condescendingly put him down with, “It needs fine tuning.” Isn’t White is the same guy you described  as the inner voice of fear and low self-esteem…the embodiment of hopelessness?” And that “he and his barber shop boys are depressingly wrong and disrespectful.” (Community Contact 4/11/10)

Have you ever reach out to Bob to enlighten him on the ways and means to improve his satirical skills?

As an elder in the community, have you ever privately reached out to anyone, including any among those you described as “so-called Black columnists” to teach them the error of their ways?

As implied in that phrase, you even want to deny them their blackness. Clearly that green-eyed monster has gotten the better of you. And to know Dr Bayne, you are an educated man who “fought” for Blacks back in the day.

Then again Clarey, you were always a reactionary. Weren’t you the co-editor of Umoja – the Black newspaper founded in 1969 to counter UHURU, the radical Black Montreal newspaper?

Such is your disconnection you advised the youth (Community Contact 4/11/10) not to allow themselves “to become victims of hopelessness.” Threw in “failure is the fabric from which human species construct success models.” Also foolishly quoted, “Feel the pain and fall, but rise again to feel the pain again” from the 1970 Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) play, “How Now Black Man.”

Consider that in your April 8, 2010, Community Contact article, “25 years and no change” you made the point, “The data on employment over the last quarter century show that…whether the person has a degree…Blacks live out lives exposed to low incomes, and employment…the market discrimination against Blacks is persistent, pervasive and brutal.”

Against entrenched and deliberate racism and discrimination it is impossible to “construct success models” unless through legal challenges. So that axiom about “failure” is applicable to whites and others who are not actively discriminated against.

Only sadists embrace pain. Pain can twist a soul to hate the world. No person wants to fall and rise to pain. That a Black professor said it in a play doesn’t make it logical. Then again, there are “educated fools from uneducated schools” to quote Curtis Mayfield.

In an April 05, 2008, Gazette interview with Rev. Gray about Black leadership and educators discussing an Afrocentric school, Gray stated, “We have kids dropping out of school and dropping into prison. A 40-per-cent dropout rate for blacks – when blacks are seven per cent of the population.”

Such statistics show that our youths are already victims of hopelessness Dr. Bayne. Several studies by McGill University- namely, a Black person with a university degree is on par with a white person without one, and that that white person has a better chance at employment than the Black with certification reaffirm conditions that lead to hopelessness.

Must one imagine the employment prospects facing uneducated Blacks? So, why your obtuseness in regards to the prevailing hopelessness that is consuming Black youth, and which is accentuated by racial profiling and police harassment?

In “Who is this Garvin Guy?” (Community Contact 4/11/10) you said to the youths, “Have a good time, party, get down, but persevere in following your dreams.”

Is that what our youths need to hear given the current economic climate worldwide, employment unavailability brought on by outsourcing, the huge unemployment in the Black community, and the paralysis and dysfunction that define our community?

Hasn’t the race been forever consumed with partying? We have no infrastructures in place, much more own the places we party- and that is your advice. Shouldn’t we cease building other people empires, stress sacrifice and delaying personal gratification to our youths to actualize their dreams?  And to know Dr. Bayne, you are an educated man who “fought” for Blacks back in the day.

You delight in waving the BTW as a Black achievement. What has it done for the community? Where are our local playwrights and local plays? Have you ever opened up its space for the development and or rehearsals of local plays being staged in a “community” location, or did a  BTW production just for community consumption or for a community event?

Maybe you need to go to Jamaica and Trinbago and experience the vibrancy of their theaters/plays – the speaking of them to them without the slightest desire or thought of outside authentication or appreciation. All BTW productions target the white community.

In a November 2010 Hour magazine interview you said that 70 per cent of the BTW audience is white. While a lot of times people hide behind, “We (Blacks) don’t support we thing,” the question that is never asked is if the community was ever targeted and how. And a lot of times it isn’t effectively marketed to – putting flyers in locations that serve the community is not sufficient unto itself.

Is the concept of selling blackness to whites the rationale behind you saying we “must have the courage to reach beyond our ethnicity, we must step out of our cultural box without forgetting its location.” (Community Contact 9/9/10)

I have no problem with any whose master plan is to pedal blackness. This I know. One cannot habitually cater to whites and not lose part of their soul and or be disconnected to the Black struggle. Folks like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson quickly come to mind.

At one point in time the Communist Party used white women to entrap the Black intelligentsia. And so many Black communists like CLR James married white. James wife was Jewish. Black power gave Black men access to the forbidden fruit of white women and boy, did they eat.

Harry Belafonte is mixed. That plantation derived “one-drop” rule of ethnicity pretty much made him Black and having no choice but to align with Black causes in America.

Belafonte’s first wife is described as a “well-to-do Negro girl.” I’ve never seen a photograph of her to note her skin-complexion. Belafonte then married Jewish.

I have never seen a photograph of the husband of Adrienne, his eldest daughter to know if he is white.  However, his son David married white, his daughter Gina married white, and daughter Shari married white twice.

One could surmise that while Belafonte’s grandchildren are going to recognize his contribution to the Civil Rights struggle, their racial blend-diminished blackness positions them to be far removed from the sphere of contention and struggle people of African descent continue to experience.

That none of his children married Black- given his lifework speak volumes and epitomizes “reaching beyond our ethnicity and stepping out of our cultural box.”

While there are talkers, there are those who walk the talk.  Upon discovering Black consciousness, LeRoi Jones divorced his Jewish wife. It was undoubtedly a rather drastic move. He felt having a white wife was incongruous to Black pride. What a man, eh!

Jones became Amiri Baraka.  And since Dr. Bayne, you have a relationship with Baraka, you gladly quoted him to support your put down of Licorish but you couldn’t walk in his shoes.

Dr. Bayne, you enjoy being the drum major for “progressive blackness” and yet had the nerve to say to our youth, “The time has come to when you must truly reconstruct our noble past.”

Pray tell, what glorious past are you talking about? The mythical when we were Kings, island tribalism, divisiveness, and the weak infrastructures, lack of economical and political empowerment the progenitors of today’s youth – the immigrants that came in the early 60s and early 70s left?

All around us our organizations are dead, dying a slow death or going out of business because of fossilized leadership rooted in antiquated ideologies, dictatorial leadership, bad and mismanagement, cronyism, persons feeling they are bigger than an organization, and leadership only doing for self?

Should I use quotes from your September 13, 1993, letter to the BCCQ attesting to some of the same, and which outlined reasons for your withdrawal of the BSC from under their umbrella? And I’m not talking about you saying things like the BCCQ leaders “are repeat offenders, poor management is chronic and where highly risky behaviour is justified by statements such as we cannot dwell on the pass.”

Deceitfully you penned a full page response (Community Contact 7/21/11) berating me over my castigation of leadership.

Obviously my comments are still “stuck in your craw,” as evidenced by your wonderment as to why “there was no public outcry” over them. (Community Contact 24/11/11)

Haven’t you recognized that my assertions are always supported with facts: who said what, date, time and place – that I’m sure an Internet search will verify?

I hope you aren’t labouring under the impression that I arrived here on the last banana boat. It was actually the second to last.

Fact: many of our community stewards betrayed both the community and the cause- promoting its advancement, because of of what they could extract either through the funding/government grant money that came their way or through seeking to financially exploit the name recognition they received from community work.

That none of our stewards were ever publicly censored by “us” or by outsiders, or none of them made a jail doesn’t mean books weren’t cooked, and “bobol” and “rachafee” didn’t have their way. And that applies to those in the promotion/fete business also.

In quoting Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth” you said, “We must look within ourselves and face our own lies.” At least, I know my mirror isn’t broken.

The Killing of Fredy Villanueva

“The Killing of Fredy Villanueva:
Policing, Race Bias & Media Complicity in Canada”

Explores policing and race, the culture that gave rise to and supports it. The complicity of the mainstream media in sustaining the lack of accountability in those mandated to serve and protect, and how their failure to exhibit maturity and decency in being fair and impartial in reportage on visible minorities, specifically the Black community, and in catering to the fears, insecurities, and bigotry of the majority population have been contributors in the replication, moulding and support of racism and racial bias. The complicity of the legislature and judges in supporting a police culture of disorder and impunity while throwing the book at others, especially non-white minorities, and self-preserving techniques for people to best navigate interactions with the police.

“The Killing of Fredy Villanueva” is about deconstructing and confronting racism, a demand to a return of the old-fashioned law and order ideology of “to protect and serve,” equal and consistent enforcement and application of the law, procedural fairness, protection of human rights and civil liberties, and  healing and strengthening bonds of nationalism so the nation’s ethnically diverse citizenry can truly sing with pride, “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”

Table of Contents

Introduction:

Implicit in citizenship is membership willing to sacrifice life and limb in defence of nation. In that respect, African Canadians have a long history of being good citizens. People of African descent – freeborn, runaway slaves, and former slaves from the United States and France fought for the British Crown during the Canadian wars of 1780’s and 1812, gaining the moniker of Black Loyalists.

During World War II, Canada was one of the nations who recruited young men from the West Indies to fight for them. Ostensibly, to fight for a land they had never seen. Black West Indian youths in their prime, some not yet men, contributed to the war effort.

In April 2002, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, a Black Canadian soldier was killed in the Allied war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Suffice it to say, people of African descent have been shedding blood for Canada since the 1780’s. On the other hand, when it comes to reciprocity from the state and its institutions to allow African Canadians the unfettered benefits that go with being a citizen, a different politic emerges. The Black community is seen as outsiders, as having no roots in the society and no stake in its well-being and as a sort of internal enemy. As a result, Blacks continue to feel the sting of racism, discrimination, and marginalisation.

Chapter 1: The Killing of Fredy Villanueva

Is a brief overview of the 2008 shooting of Denis Meas and Jeffrey Sagor-Météllus, and the death of Fredy Villanueva by a police officer. All three Latino youths were unarmed. The chapter is framed against the jeremiad of police abuse against visible minorities and Aboriginals.

It is my contention that judging from the non-implementation of recommendations from the Bellemare Report 1 & 2 (1984 & 1988), Coroner’s Yarosky 1992, the Corbo Report of 1992, and the Malouf Report of 1994, in respect to the police and their interaction with visible minorities anyone hoping the inquest into Fredy’s death will bring clarity, resolutions or changes to the culture of policing are going to be sadly deluded unless…

Chapter 2: Policing & Race

Criminality exists in every community, society and country, and among every race, religion and ethnicity. Disproportionate number of criminals from any culture, race, religion or society is never an indictment of nationality, country, religion, race or ethnicity. Furthermore, no race is a unified biological population. As such, it is backwardness and dishonest to tar and feather an entire community on account of the few who commit crimes.

Yet, on account of the ideological philosophies in support of racism, that is exactly the vice-grip within which people of African descent find themselves.

Blacks are positioned as, and accepted as a racial monolith with a singular culture, to wit ingrained criminality, stigmatized and criminalised over the errant few, and victimized by a police culture of race-based policing – skin-colour being automatically a cause for suspicion in lieu of probable cause, and Black neighbourhoods detailed as zero tolerance and suppression zones.

Subscription to the criminalization of Blacks (and by extension certain non-white communities), and race-based policing is the source of law enforcement officers demonstrating a different code of behaviour and attitudes towards Blacks than the rest of the population.

Under greater scrutiny by police officers (and by extension private security guards), Blacks are subjected to frequent stops, being questioned and searched.

Oftentimes in the process, they encounter officers who do not see Blacks as citizens, deserving of common courtesy, civility, respect and most importantly, the presumption of innocence that has long been one of the cornerstones of the law. Consequently, those officers exhibit behaviours that are downright hostile, abusive, openly racist, and or would relentlessly assail or assault their dignity.

While law enforcement has consistently and steadfastly denied the existence of race based policing, documentation to Black officers admitting having racially profiled Black youth is provided, thereby supporting my case that racial profiling is endemic and an intrinsic aspect of Canadian policing.

In addition, to bolster my contention that racism thrives in law enforcement- that race bias is police culture; I’ve also provided evidence showing that Black police officers are themselves not immune from victimization and acts of racism by fellow white officers.

Chapter 3: Sentencing Disparity

Since the legacy of racist ideology is at the heart of the law and order machinery mobilized against Blacks, their is continued collusion between politicians, legislators, the police, judges and prosecutors to ensure people of African descent who fell afoul of the law feel its full weight.

As presented evidence show, judges are prone to impose longer sentences on Blacks than on whites, even when their crimes were of the same magnitude or of a lesser degree, and it was not unusual for Black juveniles to be tried as adults in order for them to receive a more severe punishment.

Chapter 4: Deconstructing Race Bias

Government policies, legislation and programs to combat racism have failed to have a bigger impact because white folks (and by extension Blacks) are trapped by complex historical, institutional and deep-rooted racist and cultural forces, and education to dismantle some of those foundation stones of anti-Black racism has been woeful to say the least.

While endless whites have repudiated racism and racist ideologies, a vast majority are so emotionally bound to race prejudice that they don’t care to or simply refuse to accept and institute equality on the social level. Hence the continued state of affairs. This chapter seeks to exorcise the devils of racist beliefs that arose out of the evils of slavery and its legacy of institutional racism.

Chapter 5: The Myth of the Lazy Negro

Given that Judeo-Christian doctrine espoused the view that Blacks are a people born to servitude, African enslavement was seen as unto perpetuity.

The life of a slave was one of constant labour. There were no holidays, vacation, age of retirement or a pension. The enslaved were worked to death and until death. Consequently, the application of “lazy” to Blacks was none other than a slander to hamstring the race, and was psychological punishment and retribution over the freedoms brought by Emancipation.

Emancipation threatened the economic survival of plantation economies as well as portended change to the racial and social dynamics of the society. It positioned the former slaves to earn wage. To determine what their labour was worth, to control, set its price, sell it to the highest bidder, work for self and the options of migration – freedom to move wherever and start a new life.

Chapter 6: Why Don’t Blacks Learn From Other Immigrants Trap

Giving the impression that people of African descent are anything but industrious, Blacks are routinely scolded. Oftentimes the telling is along the lines of taking a page out of the books of other immigrant communities and lifting themselves up by their own industriousness. While the advice appears to be sound and logical, it is misguided and emanates from ignorance.

Such a view conveniently ignores the roles of racism, discrimination, marginalisation and racial hatred in sabotaging the industriousness of people of African descent and keeping the race in the vice grip of poverty. It overlooks the deliberate underemployment of educated Blacks and those with professional qualifications/certification, and how white skin advantage enables other ethnic and immigrant communities an easier go at economic gains.

Furthermore, what is never exposed is that members of some immigrant communities are products of merchant/business and or criminal/mafia collectives in their own country, and thus invested in abroad with a resource pool that includes financing and expertise at their disposal.

Chapter 7: Media as an Instrument of Racism

While freedom of speech is worth defending, this chapter details how corporate owned media in Canada have constantly reinforced and reproduced racial bias in their newspapers, slant and colour stories that deal with race, cater to the bigotry of the majority population, use photo to highlight and imbue the crime with increased severity and inspire fear of the race to which the person(s) belongs, and the reliance of counterfeit images of Blacks in television commercials.

Bearing in mind that a society can only truly prosper when there is tolerance and respect to those who are ethnically, culturally and religiously different, such things perpetuate racism.

The overwhelming emphasis is on the Montreal Gazette, for excluding the short-lived Montreal Daily News that lasted less than two years, the Gazette has been the province only English daily newspaper for the past thirty years, ever since the closure of the Montreal Star in 1979.

With such marketplace monopoly, I’ve set out to show that the Gazette has repeatedly abrogated journalistic ethics of accurate and balanced reporting, opting to be a bastion of support for racial bias as well as being a running dog for the police, all to the detriment of Montreal’s Black community.

Chapter 8: Law & Disorder. Police as Thieves. The Culture of Impunity

Amidst the calls and implementation for stricter penalties to rein in crime and punish wrongdoers, this chapter documents how judges continue to be complicit in giving the criminals in law enforcement the lightest possible sentence, if ever it comes to that, and police ethics and disciplinary boards continue to exonerate officers or give them the lightest of slap on their wrist.  Such a state of affairs has justice in Canada operating with her eyes open and being of a multi-tier system. There is one standard of justice for the police, another for legislators, a different one for whites, and an even different one for Aboriginals and Blacks.

Chapter 9: The Politics of Containment

Exposes the collusion between Montreal’s City Hall and the police to contain Montreal’s non-white communities, police harassment to get Black youths into the system, and the usage of incivilities by Montreal’s police to oppress the community as well as generate revenue for the city.

Chapter 10: Economics of Crime and Punishment

Explains that as strange and sad as it is, on account of the inter-relatedness between crime, punishment and economics, crime is a necessary and much needed evil.

The infrastructure that surrounds crime and punishment is an employment bonanza. Tickets and fines put money into the State’s coffers thus police zealousness in issuing tickets.

City administrators, the justice system – prosecutors, judges, defence lawyers, clerks, bondsmen, prisons, ancillary and associated industries need crime and a constant prison population to maintain their employment.

Law enforcement is a business of knowing. As such, police in every city have files on every criminal organization, street gangs and the like, their leadership and who controls what area. They know who is doing dirt and the locations of drug dens and its dealers.

Chapter 11: How to Best Deal With The Police

Overwhelming documentary evidence attest to police officers benefitting from an ingrained culture of impunity. Its sanctification by the courts allows them to figuratively and literally get away with murder, brutality and oppressive conduct. As such, the police are the deadliest threat to the health, well-being and quality of life of Blacks and other non-white minorities. This chapter offers self-preserving techniques to best navigate interactions with the police.

Copyright © 2011 by N Oji Mzilikazi, All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted (other than short excerpts for review purposes only) in any form: electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, online reproduction or recording without express written permission by N Oji Mzilikazi.