Not too long after George Floyd, I happened upon a conversation at CBC radio between a well-known Caribbean-Canadian academic and writer, and a marquis CBC personality, who I hadn’t previously realized was Black, because, well, it’s sometimes hard to tell on the radio. Not that I’d ever given the matter any thought, but what the hell, maybe my thoughtlessness is part of the problem.
CBC was in the process of re-calibrating to fully-woke mode at the time, and who can blame them? The Floyd effect was causing a lot of soul-searching in a lot of places. The white bougie decision-makers at CBC can’t be faulted for trying to get in front of the wave.
I was looking forward to what these two prominent Black Canadians might have to contribute to our understanding of race relations in Canada. What I heard was two extremely privileged and successful people swap stories about the micro-aggressions they had to overcome to make it to the top.
The whole world is traumatised by that iconic image of Floyd’s dying breaths, and these people want to talk about micro-aggressions? She’s a household name, at least in that shrinking percentage of households where CBC Radio remains the go-to soundtrack. His $200k annual salary at U of T is a matter of public record. These Black Canadians are at the very pinnacle of Canada’s cultural scene. They are part of the elite. Not the Black elite or the BIPOC elite; the actual, real-world Canadian elite, and the best they can do is micro-aggressions? Maybe those aren’t the people we should be consulting for insights into the state of race relations.
It’s not getting any better. Remember the CBC “scoop” last fall, when we got to hear, over and over again, the hysterical “this is what BIPOC people go through every day” shrieking of a 20-something Indian (from India) woman. Her dad is a cab-driver in Halifax, and she had released the in-car audio of an abusive drunk telling him to go back where he came from.
Sorry kid. Contrary to what you learned in your social justice seminar, that’s not a BIPOC thing, it’s a cab-driver thing. My father had a brief stint driving a cab in his early years in Canada. His cab was shit in, pissed in, puked in, and while his English wasn’t yet good enough to appreciate the nuances of the verbal abuse, being spat on is something everyone understands. He was and remains white. It’s what happens when you have drunks in your cab. It’s not about racism; it’s about drunken a-holes.
It’s not just the CBC. What were the brainiacs at The Globe and Mail thinking when they plastered a picture of 24 yo Alfred Burgesson on the front page of Report on Business? That used to be a serious space, reserved for serious capitalists who had built some seriously polluting gold mines and made some serious billions or something. And only the most seriously successful of them would dare put their feet on the boardroom table.
I’ve followed Burgesson a little since that came out. He’s a really sharp guy who knows intuitively which way the wind is blowing. You’ll be hearing his name again, as long as the white bougie management types think there’s something to gain in promoting him, but please, not on the front page of Report on Business, at least until he has some business experience, or business education, or… any accomplishment whatsoever!
The virtue signalling of bougie white folks doesn’t do anything to improve race relations.
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