Medicine for the Resistance
Medicine for the Resistance
nothing micro about micro aggressions
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nothing micro about micro aggressions

with Angela Gray

Angela:

You I have I've had troubles with the word microaggression, I've had troubles with it for quite some time. We hear, I think I've been hearing it more and more over the last few years in particular, the last year, I've been hearing it a lot more in the workplace. And because people are trying to be woke or aware, but the reality of living it, it's not micro,

Patty:

right. it's not meaningless.

Angela:

And so when we, for me, when we talk about it as a micro thing, the parallel is that when somebody is behaving that way, it becomes a dialogue or a narrative of that person's too sensitive, or I didn't mean anything by it. So I don't know what the big deal about it is, or, well, you know, she's just bringing it up, because she's hurt. And it's not, it's not about being hurt, it's about every instance of those things that have transpired over your life for a long period of time, continuing to open a wound of a larger viewpoint that you don't belong, or there's something not quite right with you, or those, we have to contain you, as opposed to the larger picture that you're not wanted to hear. And, or you're not wanted to be a participant in that society, or that structure in within the society.

And so, for me, when I've been looking at this end, a lot of my writing over the last year has been about microaggressions, because of experiencing it, and while, you know, a lot lot different areas of my life. I go back to the beginning point of erasure. So, the eraser of, of my identity. So you know, being born, being taken from my Black mother, my birthday being changed, my name being changed, and my Black mother not being allowed to take me back to Jamaica, or make arrangements for me to go to Jamaica, because realizing that it's, she's going to lose me, right?

So, and then that whole erasure are going to a small community where there's no people of color. And so I think one of the biggest macro regressions you can do to transracial adoptee, is to put them in a white family and not have any mentors. And, and so in that, you know, that whole, it becomes a series of events from from earlier in your childhood, basically, from your birth, to try to unpack, and try to find a place within living in a social structure that doesn't include you. And so how do we find that?

So, you know, my writing is about that, but it's also that place of moving from that place to a place of where do you find your place within all of that, so that you can actually have good mental health? Is that possible? You know, and what is the generational impact of that?

When I watched my, my son growing up, and facing these horrible aggressions, as a Black Indigenous child, young man, he's not a child. He's a young man.

And I was, you know, I was gonna, with all that, you know, been paying attention to and relistening to interviews from in particular Robin Maynard and Desmond Cole, and defund the police. I’ve been listening to a lot of that lately. And I was framing an essay around around the police involvement in my life, and what and the transition of that from being a young young girl in kindergarten to late teens, early 20s. And that, and that experience, and so I never really thought much about it. But I've thought more and more about it by watching my son get stopped by the police. Recently, you know, in, in his teenage years, he shared with me recently that the reason he decided to go bald, from the time he was like 14 to 20 was because he found that he got stopped less by the police. So, I thought, yeah, and it didn't help. He still got stopped a lot. As he's got a look that people quite don't know. You know what he is right? Which is really a horrible thing to say. But that's,

Patty: 

I don't know, they don't know where he belongs,  do you belong in this neighborhood? Or do you work in this neighborhood? What do you look like, you know, do you look like the people who live here? Do you look like the people who work here? You know, do you look like the people who you know who I think are going to be dangerous here. You know? Who have no business being here.

In the book Traces of History that I did that I just finished, he, he quotes a woman who's saying, you know, when we talk about dirt? Well, all we're really talking about is things out of place. Right? That's all we're really talking about, you know, you know, things are, you know, I don't particularly object to dirt, you know, being out in my yard, I don't want it, I don't want it in my living room, I'm gonna vacuum it, I'm gonna say that it's dirty, you know, or dust or, you know, any of the things that my dogs drag like they have their place.

And you know, and as, you know, racially marginalized people we're dirt, we're out of place. And we know, you know, so you know, to be racially marginalized, in the colonial West, is to be forever out of place, you know, whether you're Black or Indigenous, or some combination, you're out of place, you know, you're meant to be erased, you're meant to be moved around, you're meant to be, you know, you're meant to serve, particularly, you know, serve sort of particular purposes.

And, and I am increasingly using the term racially marginalized, as opposed to just racialized because when I say that somebody is racialized, I'm still centering whiteness as not being racialized. Right? And, you know, so it's more words, and it takes up more, you know, more characters on Twitter. But yeah, that's okay. But I feel like, you know, that's just something because when I, because that's what we were racially marginalized, and it's the race has pushed us to the margins and centered whiteness, but their whiteness is racialized as well to its own purpose. So that's just kind of explaining a little bit about my language.

Angela:

Well, I like that when you say “to its own purpose” to clarify, because I think that that's important in when we share and talk about our stories into in particular, and I'll use your term racially marginalized. And, you know, I really wanted to talk about the police stuff, because it occurred to me how early that involvement is, like, I never really thought about it.

But when I was working on this essay, I was talking about, you know, when I, when I was five years old, I was pretty determined young person, which probably got me a lot of trouble with my mother. But I was very determined so. And I really liked school. I like being at school much more than I like being in my parents’ home. So I was just set to go to school, and it was a PD day or some holiday or something. So I got up. And my, you know, mind you, my parents had three kids, they adopted four Black kids, so they, you know, and I was the youngest, so they somehow missed me in that whole thing. So I got dressed, and I went to school. And I didn't even notice that there wasn't anybody else. Any kids walking to school, I was just on my own determined to get to see my kindergarten teacher because I loved her, I was absolutely in love with this teacher. So anyways, I get to the school. And there's no school, I can't get into school. And I feel that I'm locked out. Like, I feel like nobody wanted me. So I'm crying. And I'm trying to get into school, and I'm banging on the doors. And finally I decide to leave and I'm walking up the path to go back to my parents house and a police car shows up. And the police says, “Are you Angela?” And I said, “Yes.” “Your mother's looking for you.” So I get in the back of the car, and I go home.

And so the idea is framed in my mind is that the police saved me they from what I'm not sure, but they saved me from something. And you know, a couple years later, my favorite bike, my parents bought me this bike and I love this bike was stolen one weekend when we were away. So when we got back from this trip, the first thing I wanted to see is if my bike was okay, so I run and get, I look for my bike and it's not there. So my parents called the police and two weeks later they find my bike. And I overhear the conversation with the police. And what they say to the to my parents is we found in somebody’s back yard, not off the Herkimer drive and and they were “known to us.” So this is a very this is a key that they were “known to us.”

So years go by and I'm 12/13 years old, and I'm out playing with my friends and my parents knew where I was the police show up. And they the police knew exactly where I was. So my parents knew exactly where I was, but they called the police to come and get me to bring me home rather than getting into the car. And this is what I'm setting up and what you know, Robyn Maynard talks about in terms of the police being involved with, you know, overly involved with people that are in care, right. And my parents used the police as part of their parenting, so they the police would show up and bring me home.

And it and it didn't occur to me at the time, like I was embarrassed that this wasn't happening to any my white friends. So I was the only Black kid there, I was the only person of color. And so the police would come, and they would pick me up and take me home. And every now and again, my father would joke about well, I was at the mall, well, we weren't sure if we needed to call the police to come and get you. And as we got a bit older, my mother she had, by this point, she'd gone back to school. And later, in probably 48-ish, she went back to school, got her grade 12 became a social worker, and became very involved the police because she, part of her work was investigating social welfare fraud at the time.

So she continued to use the police to parent her Black children. So, every time I use the phone, there was a card by the phone, it was taped to the wall that had inspector so and so's name. And it got to the point where I stopped using that phone, I wouldn’t go downstairs and use the phone because I always saw that I move out of the house when I was 16. I'm on my own, I get into some trouble. Not bad trouble. But I get into some trouble. I was drunk and I broke somebody’s door and you know, stupid teen stuff. But this person where I'm staying called the police, because I broke the door rather than have a conversation with me. She called the police. And so the first thing that police said to her, “Oh, we know Angela Gray, she's known to us.” And this person tells me that and I'm thinking how am I known to them. I've never been arrested. I've never shoplifted not at that time. But by that point, like I'd never been arrested. You know, the only involvement that they had with me was because of my parents’ use of them to help parent.

And so we carry, you know, I've carried this idea of the police as being the savior. And by that point, by the time I was 16, I was petrified of the police, to the point where if I saw a police car drive by, I would duck and hide. And I did that pretty much up until my son was born. And then I had to just sort of get over that because I needed to use the police. And in the end, they actually really helped me. But that feeling still hasn't gone away. And that feeling is still in that involvement is still in my life today, even though they're not tracking me down they’re tracking my son.

You know, he was out for we thought that this had stopped and earlier in the year us out for dinner with his girlfriend. And the police saw his girlfriend and then saw him outside of the restaurant came into the restaurant and ask them for ID and pull their computer up, set it up on the bar and searched to see if he had, probably if he had any priors, in front of everybody in this restaurant when he was trying to have a nice dinner.

And there's a few things that came to mind here for me is nobody said anything. Not even the waiter or the manager, nobody said anything. And he came into the bathroom and called me. And he was so distraught by it, that he thought he was disturbing me, his mother who loves him the most in the world. He apologized to me for calling me about a really horrific situation.

And so I bring that up in that this is the programming that happens with this stuff, and puts us at outside of society thinking that there's something wrong with us.  We’re not quite right, these thoughts. I had this dialogue with my therapist a couple weeks ago, because I'm dealing with some of this in in a couple areas of my life dealing with these significant microaggressions and trying to unpack them to find my voice in them so that I can stand up for myself and not be taking it on. And so what comes up for me though, is that there's still that little voice that there's something not quite right. There's something kind of off about me. And I have to correct myself and say, we need to unpack the larger society, the colonialism, all of that stuff that is not quite right.

And how do we come back to ourselves and continue to unpack that so that it's not taking up our entire weekend? I was dealing with a board member from a volunteer organization all weekend because I called her out on her microaggression towards me. And what I was met with was some horrible, horrific emails.

Patty: 

They always say, I'm not racist, I'm not racist.

Angela:

And you're insulting me that you're calling me out on poor behavior, and you're just sensitive. Right? And other people will chime in and say, well, Angela, I understand that you're hurt. And I'm, no, no, no, I am not hurt. This is not about hurt. The issue is much deeper than this. And I'm not going to do it in an email dialog. But if you want to talk to me about it, I will talk to you. Right. And these are the things that we have to keep unpacking and correcting and living our lives and then eat this thing. What's the point? Why am I doing this?

Patty: 

Yeah, yeah, it's exactly what and then when you talk about the police, you know, being known to police, you know, 16 years of child welfare, that's got consequences. Right, like you call, you know, like, you know, like, you get a police report about something, because in some neighborhoods, people are just in each other's business all the time. And so they're calling the police, because they can't parent, they can't problem solve. So they call on the police all the time, because, you know, they can't find their, you know, you know, they go get their kid, or, you know, they're having a dispute with a neighbor or something. And then if there's children within eyesight of a cop, those they send that report into child welfare.

And then, and then that phrase, they're known to us, they're known to us. And it could be completely benign, like what you're describing, it's parents that are using the police to parent their child, or because you can't, or because your neighbor can't problem solve and calls the police on you all the time. Right. And yet, that little phrase, they're known to us, they're known to us. And that gets interpreted a very particular way in child welfare.  Now try it now try to get rid of this, now try to get rid of the social worker, something, something must Something must be going on, something must be going on. We don't know what it is yet, but we're going to find out, something must be going on.

And that's, you know, when you know what you even say, you know, you've got a, you know, you got help, you know, the one time that you, you know, you needed them, and they were helpful to you. And I know, you know, Kerry and I had had a good experience, you know, you know, in our working relationship, but wouldn't it be nice if they were non carceral systems where people could get that kind of support. Just because just because we got a little bit of help here and there from the systems, that's how they suck us in. That doesn't legitimize them.

Kerry: 

It's so interesting, like, I've just been really listening to you, Angela, and your story. And first, I just want to mention and witness you, as you've moved through the process. You know, I'm, I feel it very deeply, because your story, you know, has been very similar. There are some tendrils that make a lot of sense, in my own experiences with having to deal with the police as well. And I know that it's just that commonality, that space of being Black and dealing with, you know, officers, and that system is a factor, it's just what we have to do as people of color to grapple with the space.

I know even till this day, and I like you had have like this very conflicted relationship with the, with police, because literally, they they have saved my life when I was in a very detrimental situation. I however, it took, I had to go 20 times before I got it there. There was a lot of disregard in some of it. But when I finally got it, it came through and it won for me. So I have this conflicted space, but I also and even now, when a police officer drives past me, I flinch. It is I am still dealing with some of the residual because as I've had that positive experience, I've also had some very negative ones where you know, the neighborhood I live in presently presently. Is is all white. There's myself and another family, there's probably a subdivision about 500 houses, there's another family, there's an I just found out one moved in. So there's three of us out of about 500 houses.

And we used to very often notice officers just driving by, sitting at the end of our line that was involved in the system and had some things going on. But since that cleared up, and it's been about a year, now, I've noticed that there's no more officers anywhere in the vicinity of where I live, whereas about at least three times a week, one would sit somewhere, and we're a very quiet crescent, it's a very quiet little crescent, cul de sac, it doesn't make any sense that they would be here on the regular, you know, so, um, you know, those experiences are, are really hard. And I could tell there's, there's so many I lived, I have our came from a family where we had five young men, teenagers, and it would be without fail. One of those young men, and my husband, somebody would be stopped by the police at least once a week and asked for ID

Angela:

and, and that whole thing, right? Like that, that whole space of public humiliation to be stopped outside of your house to be, you know, and it crosses over from, you know, that sort of involvement, but from the police and the, the taking on of the role in say retail, right? So it wasn't very long ago is about three or four years ago, I was walking into a store. On my way home from work, I was walking home, and I thought, oh, that place has some funky shirts. I think I go in there. And I was outside looking on the rack. And the store owner came out. And he looked at me and he says, Yeah, I don't think we have anything in the store that fits you.

Kerry: 

You know, I had an experience in one of our local stores recently, my daughter and I, this was before the for this last lockdown. We were in a drugstore. That's what I'll say, in our region. And we were by the makeup section, looking for a lipstick I think it was and we got the exact same response. I was looking for our particular red. And they were like, Yeah, we don't have it. But then when I looked around, I was like, it's right there. And they were like, No, we don't, we don't have it. And I was like, but it's right there. That's exactly the color I looked it up before it got here. And she was like no, because it had to be they had it behind the case. And she was like, No, that's not it. Sorry. And because I was like, I'm gonna leave this to Jesus moment, I was having to leave it to Jesus moment. Instead of instead of, you know, I just I just decided I was going to leave the store.

But that is the reality of some of how we have to exist. And in fact, there's another one more story before we we can you know, move on. I have I mentioned to you that there's another family that moved into this area. And she she bought a house on the street. That's pretty it's really a private kind of section of this subdivision. And you know, the houses were this neighborhoods about 30 years old, most people don't move so she just recently purchased and you know what have stood out like, you know, she's new. She was bought, bought her groceries, opening her front door trying to get in and a car drove past her and slowed down, took a big old look then sped off and sped away. within about five minutes. She was taking the her you know, stuff out she has three kids so you know you're gonna have a whole pile of stuff. within about five minutes. Two officers pulled up at the front door and said they had had a report of somebody breaking into this house.

Angela:

*sighs*

Patty: 

Right. So nice to feel welcome and safe.

Angela:

In 2021,

Kerry: 

and I think, you know, when we speak about these incidences, we're recognizing that there there's been some sort of shift, I think, you know, some people have that felt really brazen, in the realm of watching what has happened in the United States, and when Trump was in power, I almost think that there was like a refueling of this space, where, you know, people thought they can be bright and outright with with some of this racist dialogue,

Patty: 

For sure, he normalized it and empower them. And I admit, I had there was a woman on Facebook I was engaging with, she had made a comment that, you know, it was so easy to, you know, she'd give this to Trump, you know, having it out in the open, where we could see, we could see the ugly racism. And I was trying to get her to understand that one if she had just been listening to Black and Indigenous people all along, right. None of this is new. You know, Standing Rock and Ferguson, I never tire of reminding people Standing Rock and Ferguson happened on Obama's watch, having a Black man in the White House, did not save Black people did not save Indigenous people having Deb Haaland, she might be a great pick, but having her as the head of the Minister of the Interior, whatever they are, will not save the Indians. Right. She's not even the first Ely Parker was right first. Curtis came after him, he was a vice president. So she's not the first and but you know, these things, you know, these, these things don't save us.

And yet, you know, she didn't, she didn't get what I was trying to tell her is that having it out, and normalized and empowered, is killing us. People are literally dying. Because as you said, Kerry, these white supremacist feel empowered, they can act on it, they think, you know, they don't have they don't have to be in secret anymore. I like them better when they were secret, and not burning shit down and shooting everybody. Please go back underground and keep your shit to yourself. I know you're there. I know, you're there. The racisms still happen. The police are still who they are. The systems are still in place. But I like you better when you're quiet. And you're not in my space.

Kerry: 

This is not doing us a favor. When you're working in that kind of stealth, you understood that there was maybe a semblance of a chance for a consequence. But when you are just bracing with your stuff, that tells us that we have now stepped up into a level. Now, when you're outright like that, there, there is that sense of of knowing that we I've for me, we've crossed that boundary, you know, where we got to really almost level up now. Because the reality of the truth is, if you're if you can feel so bright with yourself, then that means that there's an inference that the system is working on a level that is keeping us you know, having to be directly in this confrontation.

And yeah, and I'm I'm recognizing though I'm enjoying some of the dialogues. I was looking up I've been watching a young woman, Kim Foster, from For Harriet, she's she's a YouTube, a young woman, brilliant, brilliant young woman. She talks quite a bit about pop culture, but she's a feminist. And she's a Black feminist. And she is very much about dissecting these kinds of issues. And she had on and did an incredible talk about restorative justice, with I'm just looking it up but she had this incredible talk. And what they were talking about is completely pulling down and decriminalized, not just decriminalizing, but abolishing the system and what it could potentially look like when we you know, replace it or, you know, whatever that realm would be knowing that you know, going in with the understanding and the knowing that it's kind of a trial and error space, you know what I mean that you we may have to try many things before we could reconstruct or create something that is going to value and create real sense of justice.

Because what what was mentioned in it, and I thought it was powerful is that she was saying that, you know, for many people, especially they were talking in particular about using it in domestic or intimate partner violence. And that's something that's near and dear to my heart. But what she was speaking about is that for most people, sometimes you get that sense that feeling of completeness, when you, you know, your your partner has been punished, and it's punitive. But a lot of the time, in those kinds of systems, you still come out, even if your partner goes through it, without that sense of feeling completed, that you really have had justice served. And what I thought was so brilliant about that conversation was what she was interested in, the lawyer that she was speaking to, was interested in creating a space that was based upon what the want of the person who had had the injustice done to them, what would be their idea of justice, you know, for some, it may be, you know, you lock them up for 50 years, and, and that be one end of it. But for others, it might be the apology and writing the right. Do you know what I'm saying, um, maybe it's you paying for my counseling that I may need, because you've caused me this harm. Maybe it would be, you know, paying these damages. But what I thought was so wonderful was that it gave the options, the idea of really going with who, and what my desires and wants would be, after I've been through a space like that, versus it being, you know, a system that throws everybody in and may, you know, not deal with the needs at all, in fact, or create huger chasms for people who are going through those spaces.

And we know that, you know, like, especially in a space like domestic violence, a lot of the times an officer is probably not necessarily the first point of contact, or are the best point of contact, right? Wouldn't it be great to have somebody who has the training, understand what is happening, because we know, for many people, you don't leave on that first try or those first incidences, and dealing with the whole scope of what happens when we're moving through a situation that can be so layered in the way that we look at it?

You know, I just, I just when we talk about this conversation, of being, because to me, we're talking macro aggressions. And a lot of the ways you're right, the micro and the macro pulled together, what what is not, I think, often address is the deep layers of ongoing trauma that these exposures cause us. You know, it is it's ongoing, it's, it's, it's just like a, you know, it's like the, the this heavy load that sits on our shoulders in every moment, I never know, like, the other day, an officer pulled up behind me. And I remember just doing this my instant sense, and everything's good. I'm not worried. But until he went around me, I'm like, ooh. And it shouldn't, I shouldn't have to have those sensations. And that's still after having a positive look.

But I remember the 20 times that I'm, you know, my 12 year old, got pulled over over the space of five years. You know, like, I remember those incidences, I remember having to take the the numbers and the badge names down of all of these different officers when they were approaching us. I remember an officer, like we were in the middle of an emergency situation, and trying to defuse it amongst our own, amongst a group of Black kids and my husband getting hauled down and put in on the ground, even though he was the one that was being able to mitigate the situation. But you know, the colors all the same. And it's, it's those experiences that have left that imprint in the space of this. And I just really think there has to be a better way that we can engage and create different spaces for this. I'm all for abolition, like abolish, abolition. abolishing police and and that system, it doesn't serve us in the best way? And what would it be to allocate these funds into, you know, the work and the trauma work, especially amongst our communities that have been marginalized, we so don't get access to some of those resources that would help us go through and create the healing that we still need.

Patty: 

And that's that that's actually one of the big critiques about restorative justice work, is when you put it back on the victim to say, okay, you know, you, you know, what do you want? What do you need, what you're getting what you're what you're getting from them as a trauma response. You're getting your get your, and you're making it there, you're making everyone's healing the victims responsibility, particularly in domestic violence cases. But in any case, where you've been wronged when now, you know, so there's other model models out there where somebody takes responsibility for the wrong door. And the purpose then is healing. So the person who's taken responsibility for the wrongdoer is basically working with that person. And when they come together, it's basically How's everybody's healing going? Are we there? Do we still need more time? Do you feel safe? What do you need to feel safe? You know, and, and, you know, and then those people are the ones that are saying, okay, you know, what this, he's, he's still got a lot of work to do, she still got a lot of work to do, we're not there yet. And so there's space for the victim to talk about what they need and how they need to feel safe. But the ultimate, you know, the, the ultimate burden of restoration or healing is on that other person and whoever is responsible for them. Because it is a trauma response, we've dealt with a lot. We've dealt with a lot, particularly when we get to that place. And so I'm not opposed to restorative justice work. But there's just been a lot of critique around that model of putting it all on putting it all on the victim.

Kerry: 

Well, I believe that a part of that discussion, and I love that we can have that conversation, because I think it's very individualized. And I think that the the idea that one model fits all, is it a part of where this fails? For me, you know, what I mean? Where the system has failed, is that my response and even how I'm going to show up in my trauma may not be the same as somebody else. Right. So I think that, you know, there's a lot to flesh out. I think that it would be, as we said, that idea of recognizing that there isn't going to be a one necessarily a one sock fits all. But But I love the idea of having those conversations, and figuring out what will work what what, you know, what,

Patty: 

what does, what does this situation need? What are the harms that have been done and what does this situation need?

Kerry: 

There are some cases where absolutely, you know, like, I'm not speaking personally, but I was very glad that some people got locked up around my space, I was very glad it was needed, you know. And, and that was justice for me. But I could also see how, for some of it, there, we there, there could have been more, right. And I and I just wish that those opportunities, these dialogues were available in those spaces. And I'm very encouraged that no matter what the you know, we come up with, we're starting to talk about it, we're starting to offer new ways of coming up with something that's just different than a system that we know, feeds very deeply into a capitalist agenda of, you know, putting people in jail so that they can create goods and commodities, we at least we're starting to have those conversations. Now how that's serving us in the interim. Um, you know, that's, that's still the work in progress, I guess.

Angela:

I think that, you know, from one of the things that I continue to go back to, in particular, when I was going through the police legal stuff around my adoptive family, in particular, my job for parents, is that and we, I grew up believing that the legal system was a justice system. And until we as, as a community as a people can reconcile that, if we need it will make space to have those deeper conversations about what it could be. But we're not living in that world we're living in a legal system that doesn't create justice. So we need to stop thinking that that's what his purposes I don't think that that for me, I don't think that that's what the purpose is for that system.

So to talk about changing something, the conversation has to be a the broader conversations, and almost maybe from a from philosophy, philosophy perspective around really what justice and democracy is, what is it? Because we're not, we're not living that. And we're certainly not living it as it was construed, you know, from our Greek and Italian philosophers. And I just go back there because I have an interest in philosophy, I think we can have some greater discussions around democracy. And there's actually a really great the National Film Board put out a really good documentary called what is what is democracy. And it goes through everything that we're talking about in terms of our legal system and our prison system. And, and, you know, where is the space for the victim to have a conversation, a meet, and I don't know what that could be. Because I can sit down and say, there's no way that I could have a conversation with my adoptive parents, even though at one time I wanted that, because until somebody is able to recognize the harm that they've done to another, we can't have these conversations. And so what do we do in the interim? I do think that money should be taken away from the police and put into community resources that just makes sense, like this just not make sense like to have

Patty: 

How does that not make sense. It makes sense to everybody except police and people who want to keep their neighborhoods white. Those are the only people that it makes sense to, or that it doesn't that they want the police to keep having money.

Angela:

Right. But I do in terms of the micro aggressions and the macro aggressions when I was talking to a lawyer recently, who she's not she's my friend, she's a good friend. And she sometimes we have these discussions she's bring brings in it from a lawyer, and and somewhat of a justice perspective, cuz she's a human rights lawyer. But one of the things she was talking to me about in a situation that I then I'm currently struggling with and working through is what, when this all gets sorted out? What's going to be given to you like, are they going to provide you with some extra counseling? Are they going to, you know, pay for some days off? Like, what are they going to give to you for having to experience a situation for the last 20 months.

And I think that in these systems, what I'm learning is that it's hard to voice those things. When I watch my son, you know, you should do something about this. And he's like, it's wrong. So I'm not going to go up against the police. What do you think they're going to do the next time when they look at me in the system? And know? And fair enough, right? And when we have these systems, how do we voice our concerns in a way that doesn't continue to diminish and dismiss us in terms of, I'm not hurt? This is just not just? Can we can we change the dialogue around what the impact is that every time you get stung by that micro aggression be? It opens up that wound and continues and continues? And then you're 30 years later? And you're still dealing with the police that fucked you up when you're 14, right?

And so it is when can we have those greater discussions around justice and ended up democracy and inclusion from a macro level distinguishing against that, that does not those discussions does not fit into a capitalist market. It doesn't, because it's a it's some, the commodity of information shifts when we're talking about capitalism. So the information that we are processing and giving and discussing in that model isn't going to work for us. And I don't know what it is, I spent a week in February, listening to Black Buddhists Summit out of the states. So these are Black people that practice Black people that practice Buddhism, because they found within the Buddhist sect that there is there's issues around inclusion. And one of the one of the speakers that I really, really liked was when he was talking about the impact of microaggressions on a larger level, is that we as Black people, as people of color, need to find our ways to step back from that, knowing ourselves like so and he was encouraging Black people themselves to go to other countries to be around Black people to see that it's different there as opposed to what it is in the States.

Patty: 

Well, that your experience in Jamaica.

Angela:

Exactly, exactly. And one of the things that a friend of mine, my hairdresser said to me, before I went, he said, you're going to find a deeper strength within yourself, you're going to feel more empowered, you're going to feel more empowered to get out there and do. And somehow he's right. Like, I feel like, I don't feel as much of that there's something off with me feeling that you just kind of carry around on your shoulder, not not wanting to look at it, but knowing that it's there. It's not, it's not that I'm off. It's this community that I'm living in the society that I'm living, that's kind of off.

Kerry: 

I love that. You know, it was interesting. You mentioned Patty, earlier when Obama got in, I remember speaking with some,

Patty: 

Yay we’re in a post racial world! The racisms are over!

Kerry: 

That whole idea that, above all, there's no more racism. And and that was kind of a conversation I was having with some of my American friends. Right. And I was, we were kind of, you know, yay, celebrating. But, um, for me, and I remember my husband and I to we were like, Yeah, this is great. And it's, it was so monumental for them, but for myself and for and for my husband, we come from Antigua, and Barbados, right? Where there have been Black Prime Ministers all day, every day. You know what I mean, so the experience of this was monumental. And of course, it was amazing, you know, for whatever it was worth or wasn't worth, you know, whatever. But that that piece of, of what you were saying, Angela really resonates with me in that regard, because they're, each community has the experience of, you know, in the diaspora of what it is to be in our Blackness. I know when I go to Antigua, everybody looks like me and then some, the shopkeepers are all Black, you know, if you had a white teacher, something was weird. Whereas in our experience, if you had a Black teacher, something was weird.

Patty: 

I don't think I ever had a Black teacher. I can't. I think in college, in college, I had one Black teacher in college, and, you know, university, it was at Niagara University. So that would have been my third year I, but I didn't think of a Black teacher in high school. I know there wasn't one in elementary school. I can't think of one in high school. I don't think I had one when I was in college. But even but even just, you know, to continue dragging the Obama years, the movie Get Out. Right? Well, you know, when you had said, you know, we're talking about Obama's election and the movie Get Out where he says I would have voted for Obama a third time if I like that movie was written during the Obama administration. That's when Peele was thinking about it and writing about it, so he's not, it's not about Trump level racists it’s about white liberals. The people think they're the good guys.

Kerry: 

That Trumps now

Patty: 

That’s who he is skewering in that movie and nobody gets it they all think that they're not like that. You can vote for Obama as many times as you like. You can have one you know you can have brunch with your Black friends.  Racists always have Black friends, it blows my mind it's always the same one I think there might be two of you out there that are friends with all this white foolishness

Angela:

Oh, it's when your white friends tell you sincerely you know Angela I don't see colour, and I love this person I do I see her good and I and that's where I have to go always is actually you know I just don't see your color I don't understand and I just and and I you know after the third time hearing that I just said okay, look, look, if you don't see my color, then clearly you don't see me, you don't see my experience. You didn't hear it when I told you about the guy giving the monkey sounds when I was crossing the street. You didn't hear it when I was told that that you know stop going into a store. Clearly you don't hear those things. But those are my reality. So if you can't share my reality on some leve,l at least have some empathy for it. We can't be friends

Kerry: 

like stop the erasure. I love that.

Angela:

It's it's the erasure and that's that's that is the that is the that is not micro that is macro. That is to to not consider that, you know, your heritage, whatever that like, I have enough struggle not knowing my heritage. I don't need somebody else putting that shit on me. Whether you love me or not, like, you know. So God love them but man, fuck off?

Patty: 

Well, yeah, I mean, we navigate these things in our relationships and in our friendships, and then when we try to bring them up, then we're dealing with the tears and the anger. And the you're always on me. And why do you say this? And then, you know, I didn't mean it that way. And it's like, well, could this not be about you for 30 seconds.

Kerry: 

White, to deal with that space of white fragility is almost as exhausting as the actual micro aggression. But yeah, it is work. That, you know, that's that, you know, for me is the question. Do you find Angela, that you pick your battles? Do you pick your battles with this? Do you find that Patty?

Angela:

I do.

Patty: 

Oh, for sure. For sure. There's so many people that I don't bring it, I don't bring it up to and really for anybody. If what if we do bring it up to you? That is such a gift that is such a gift, I mean, it is it, we're demonstrating trust, we're demonstrating the belief that you want to do better, we're making an investment in this relationship. Because we're not bringing it up. I mean, you're doing it, I can promise you, you're doing it. And if we don't bring it up, then you know, if we're not having these conversations with you, that reveals a lack of trust and a lack of investment in the relationship. So if we do bring it up, put yourself aside for 30 seconds, listen to what we're saying, listen to the fact that we're saying we believe that you can do that better, we believe in you, you just need to listen.

Angela:

Right? And thank you, because that is so true. And it is tiring. And, you know, with, you know, I been in a book club for 15 years, and there's two people of color in the book club. And I decided, ironically, in Black history month that I'm going to take a take a break. And it's not because the women aren't lovely women. And it's not because we haven't had some of these conversations over the years. It's the ongoing issue around primarily reading works from white writers. You know, and when you look at that, in the whole scheme of things in terms of our lives, like I didn't grow up with having,  Patty, I'm, you know, we none of us grew up in Canada, having people of our culture reflected in our materials, right. And so, I've been reading this really, it's, I'm reading it very slowly. But it's a great book, and it's by David Mura. It's around craft, narrative craft, writing around race and identity(A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing).

And so he talks about how, you know, when we're reading, and unless it's a Black person, Indigenous person, an Asian person that's actually identified in the story, the assumption is the person's white, the story is what always, and I've known that, but when you're actually reading it, and going holy, and not swearing, and then I put the book down, and I have to go in and just process that for a minute as a small but what does that mean, and the whole context of your life is that since you were young, that's what it's always been. And so that, you know, the micro bits of Indigenous history, true Indigenous history, I'm on the third time doing this course around cultural, Indigenous cultural safety, third time, because every time I learned something new, and I cry, because of the parallels in terms of what you know, that's my son's history, that's his father's history. And, and then there's my history, that's erased as well. It's that's the biggest those micro, macro aggressions, so I had to lead this group so that I can take space to focus on Black and Indigenous writers in Canada. I'm taking the next year. And that's all I'm reading.

Patty: 

Hmm. The thing that I really got out of the history was in Native studies, there's gaps where Black people should be in Black Studies, there's gaps where the Native people should be. Yeah. And so we need to put these histories together and have these conversations together. Because like I said, at the beginning, because and I know, you know, we're just kind of wrapping up. Black and Indigenous are useful categories in terms of talking about race, but they're not mutually exclusive.

Angela: Yes.

Patty:

They're not discrete categories where everybody is either one or the other. There ends of a continuum. And there's lots and lots and lots. Yeah, so useful categories to think about, but not discrete categories, not mutually exclusive.

Kerry: 

I am chomping at the bit to get in. But right now, unfortunately, my focus is to be on all kinds of sex books. But once *laughter*

Angela:

I might jump ship, I might jump ship.

Patty: 

I'm sure Black and Indigenous have sex.

Kerry: 

So I love to hear how you are managing to bring this infusion. And it's so fitting for this conversation. Because, like, as we as we were talking about, those are the spaces to which we can heal, when we pull those kinds of panels together, when we start to, you know, mesh, any mesh the histories in such a lavish and luscious way and bringing a fullness to the experience and stories of us. I think that that's powerful, and offering up this place for us to finally start the process of moving through this.

And Angela, I just want to thank you for coming on for just giving us such a beautiful piece of yourself. And your story, as usual, you always do that. And and in just bringing a light to how we're all affected in this space. I appreciate you so much for that.

Angela:

I appreciate you guys for the openness and just to have this space, right, like, you know, Kerry, and I talk a bit outside of here, which I'm grateful for. But I'm finding, you know, so many years of having the absence of people of color in my life that I'm wanting and gravitating more and more to that because I think we all need that understanding and that place where we can feel that we can be real. And it's it's taxing not to be able to be real. And I find that my circles as I get older are becoming smaller, because you know, it we have to heal from the daily day. Right. You know, we deal with this in our workplaces, as you've talked about Patty and I made a may or may not have alluded to, you know, in our volunteer circles in our relationships, it's it's hard work. It's hard work. And to find that space of being still.

Patty: 

I thank you so much, Angela. I'm always so happy when you guys …

Angela:

you know the we were aligned. We were aligned together and ungrateful to I get so excited. I get nervous and then I get excited.

Kerry: 

But we're fine, not you.

Patty: 

We have good conversation for call girl so we will link up Okay, all right.

Kerry: 

Bye bye. Have a great night guys.

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Medicine for the Resistance
Medicine for the Resistance
An Afromystic and Anishinaabekwe talk about everything
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