Why would a Canadian woman post something about an American holiday? Let me tell you a story. In another life, as a teacher, I taught To Kill a Mockingbird both as a student teacher and as a substitute. One of the many things I remember while looking at student essays, especially one about comparing and contrasting bravado and courage, a few students wrote a variation of the following:
Racism is over.
Each time I stood stunned knowing it was not over, not over by a long shot. I still remember hearing about a classmate who didn’t get the n-word but another word from the basket of deplorable epithets. This was in the 80’s. The same people believing racism has finished will often cloth their own bigotry in words like ‘why can’t those people get a job’ or ‘Can they just get over residential schools/the holocaust?’ I learned racism never ‘went away’ it just went into a dark corner.
Now it’s crawling back into the light.
Want proof racism is not finished? A recent rise in populism on Canadian campuses. If it’s not racism, it’s homophobia; If it’s not homophobia, it’s silencing women online. Those things we thought we finished with have not finished with us at all. Today reminds us we are not done yet and what happens down south, will happen to us.
For Martin Luther King, Jr Day, I immediately thought of U2’s classic song ‘Pride In The Name of Love.’ However, it’s always good to remember to listen to those groups still grappling with racism, it’s something I learned from a librarian from Winnipeg Public Library. The other song was a natural choice, the theme from Ava Duvernay’s film Selma. ‘Glory’ rightfully leads off Music Monday. In end, you call me an idealist. I would rather be an idealist than a populist. I am an idealist who knows we are not done yet. Not by a long shot.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!