Category Archives: help

Being profiled

Surviving Racism

Racism and racially profiling go way back to the first encounters with colonialism. Because racism is entrenched in the current system, which is what upholds power in Canadian society it is not so easy to point out racism, or see for some.

For others, it is unbearable, long and intense. People may feel they are polite in not acknowledging that racism exists. Preferred treatment can be noticed in the way some children are treated and others are left out, or blamed unfairly for things, disputes, etc.

Preferred treatment, who gets attention and for what?

Who gets monitored? 

Who can walk safe?

Who cannot?

Which child gets more attention: negatively, or positive?

Start by paying attention.

Windigo Illness

Is racism is said to be a form of a mental illness as well as colonialism which is what Jack D. Forbes examines in his book Columbus and Other Cannibals? He writes about the wetiko or windigo illness documenting the early experiences in colonialism especially about the soul and the cannibalistic nature of colonialism. Why is it important noting 500 years ago? Because depending on what side of history you are on, either the system has worked in your favour or against your favour. Unfortunately this is determined by many things, and the concept that everyone has access to the “same tier” is certainly not true.

This is not to say that just because it has worked in your favour that the stories of colonial fatigue, intergeneration impacts of the Indian Residential School which is a direct result of family members surviving these institutions and acts of genocide, and other colonial related trauma, also impacts your experience, and is also an extra burden and hardship.

Parents having to stand up against children or adults who were threatening their children and how fighting off racism is like an act of fighting off a hurricane itself because it impacts each and every part of your life, and very much an act that shatters.

The stories for racism don’t seem to want to be examined because how does one truly give a voice for racism in a society where racism is seen as not a problem, not an issue.

When it has become unsurmountable and you have realised no help was coming, maybe you seen a news story of a similar issue, and finally found the courage to break your story, your silence.

Your child need you in the highest most best place, and importantly a place of peace so you can do the best job possible in raising emotionally safe and healthy children.

STeP OnE: Accept your Vulnerablity with the intent to heal is  first – Make healing your priority 

The truth according to Bene Brown is that “vulnerability is not weakness, and is our most accurate act of courage.”

Clearly where you are and the stories that go along with where you are will tell you alot about the experiences you may share, or that you may experience. For me, the fact that I am an Indigenous woman in a city, but can maybe pass off as other racialised groups, at times, though, where feelings of despair exist, it makes it hard to have these conversations.

While yes,  there are good pockets of people for sure, but the glaring reminders of not fitting in exist.  As someone who grew up without super obvious hate growing up, at least not projected to me, it has been quite the experience to navigate. Turning to principals for the most part has been not so helpful. Some have not even understood the dynamics of residential schools, the intergenerational impact, or the concept of racism itself. Desperately lacking is the courage to expose the injury.  Others in positions of power may feel there are a tonne of resources for Indigenous people to see help for this, or that it really does not impact ones spirit or being, but it is well documented, racism can make you very very sick. You can research this yourself if it applies.

Much like, if you are suffering domestic violence, you cannot expect that anyone will just understand. It takes two things: another survivor of the same incident, OR a highly trained individual who is educated on the area of concern you are addressing.

STEP TWO: You gotta validate the problem – You need to give it a name

Hint: It is okay to call it racism. It is okay to say, “yes my child or my family is being racially profiled”s. Then its okay to call it out. Note: calling it out can mean bigger problems though.

The problem: “I am the target of racism and so is my family”. The solution: I need to resolve this issue of racism so that I can protect my children and live in a  peaceful narrative, and home environment that fosters good vibes and love. Though if I have a problem with racism, it attacks on all levels of my spirit, soul and self which I will describe later on in.

What does racism look, and feel like?

Children as we know are as pure and sacred as can be. They are truly impressionable. They know when their parents are out of alignment. This can come from many things, but racism itself is a rather different stress as impacts each and every facet of your life. It would be safe to say that, if you are experiencing outright racism in front of your children than your children are being racially profiled. Because who in their right mind acts this way in front of children, with such little emotional intelligence, a hate fuelled individual. 

Taken from the Ontario Human Rights Commission:

There is no fixed definition of racial discrimination.  However, it has been described as any distinction, conduct or action, whether intentional or not, but based on a person’s race, which has the effect of imposing burdens on an individual or group, not imposed upon others or which withholds or limits access to benefits available to other members of society.  Race need only be a factor for racial discrimination to have occurred.

Additionally

There is no fixed definition of racial discrimination.  However, it has been described as any distinction, conduct or action, whether intentional or not, but based on a person’s race, which has the effect of imposing burdens on an individual or group, not imposed upon others or which withholds or limits access to benefits available to other members of society.  Race need only be a factor for racial discrimination to have occurred.

 VALIDATION to our experiences. Validation of a problem and identifying that there is indeed a problem and awareness to the extent, the injury associated with, and the next measures to take.

All problems, need validation. Then the appropriate steps to follow.

Discussing The Issue at Hand

Discussing racism is not a topic you’d like to discus with your eight year old. Eight year olds are full of love and adventure. 

  • They want to to climb trees.
  • They want to know that clouds are made of cotton candy.
  • They want you to wear that dress, because you are their momma.
  • They love you beyond anything, anyone.

As children grow older and can identify and start to sense power structures shift, or energy for that matter. When their mother is struggling to be heard, say in a direct racially motivated situation, which are sometimes so deeply layered even the children can sense the danger of the mother, yet, the others around, not so much. Children by nature sense injustice. The learned behaviours of ignoring which is learned from parents is a sad case of how we turn a blind eye to the truths.  When a mother is impacted, or caught off guard, children can sense this. Children then grow to be hyper vigilant. Some feel this is just a part of growing up. I feel its untrue and our children DESERVE a childhood and peace. Children have a right to feel safe. It is up to us mothers and fathers to also give children their inherent right to be free from bullying, racism and harassment.

My observations & the knowledge that was brought forth 

I had first noticed my children were being picked on by an elderly neighbour when they would come and run home to tell me, that they were looking at them. At first, I thought it was nothing. But I know my kids. They don’t lie. We have a very honest relationship. When a child brings home any story they are TRYING to communicate what it is. Something has triggered them to come home and tell you. It is your job as their parent to DEAL with the matter.

How do you deal with an adult who is being disrespectful?

Flag

  • First of it, is it true?
    Observe yourself.
  • Test it too; ask your child to see if it happens again, than when they  come back you go to the site, and observe.
  • Is your child being racially profiled?
  • Is this happening to any other children or just yours, boom your answer.
  • What other acts or actions are taking place possibly against your child?
  • Is your child being treated differently by other adults?
  • Are you their mother or father being treated differently by other adults?
  • Would and when would you consider that, if this is true, there is now a toxic environment which you are now in?
  • When and how do you know you are in a  toxic environment?
  • Because our direct neighbour installed a huge privacy fence,  I could not see the direct neighour glaring at my children. It would not be until I left my yard that I could observe these acts. Then these same acts done to me.

Question to consider? If it happens more than once, consider it becoming a toxic space.

CREATING TOXIC SPACES

There are rules however in engaging in creating a toxic environment as protected under the Ontario Human Rights code, and each and every location may or may not have a code to protect their family from, which essentially lays out the rules in which if harassment or racism as we are talking about this, exists, you can draw from their rules on what is and is not racism or harassment. Because this person was also of power where we lived, it became more difficult because “other” people never seen this side of her.

Other clues of problems

  • What are the vibes in your location? 
  • Do people where you live treat you nice? 
  • Do other adults respect your children, respect can be shown in different ways,
  • Are heathy habits being shown to your children or yourself?
  • Are you welcomed?
  • Do you feel your children are treated fairly like other children?
  • Or, do people act in unsafe ways around your children?
  • Would you have someone  to go and talk with if you needed support?

The beginning of racial profiling 

  I noticed also the way I was treated in certain situations, ignored, left out, never respected in conversations, looked at as if I was the trouble maker, that,  my emotional safety was being eroded. I noticed preferential treatment towards certain children. It then occurred to me this could be the start of racial profiling and that perhaps these experiences were unique to us. One neighbour said our children swore at her. I never believed this. Another neighbour alleged our child destroyed something of his. I later knew this was older children blaming my then six year old for something he was not even capable of. You can imagine then how these adults approached me, in a rather upsetting manner. Year after year, other things occurred. I try to reach out to professionals for help, I kept all conversations and complaints written down. I lost track because I did not know what or how to proceed. Racial profiling is not exactly talked about.

DOCMENTATION AND REPORTING

I’m urging you though, to keep an ongoing journal and document the processes and experiences. From here, sadly you build your case. You can take things in a few directions: do you want to pursue a Human Rights Complaint? Is it worth your time and energy? At what end will it impact you? Do you want to move? Can you afford to move?  Is there a safe pace you can share your reporting with and too? Can you share it with the management of where you live? The authorities? The Ontario Human Rights Commission. Moving from toxicity is important. The one thing about life is you may not be able to change those around you BUT you can change your approach, or your postal code if that helps.

GET SOME WITNESSES OR VIDEO SITUATIONS

If you can video situations or record this will be of your benefit because it is your proof. If crime against your property exists, this is worth documenting as well. Any property crimes need to be documented too. Having witnesses will help. In fact, having good social support will go along way, that includes with anyone who you socialize with including neighbours, and others who you exchange time with. You can also speak to organizations in your community who can help, including political leaders, city representatives, and advocates, even university professors. These experiences of talking and sharing will help you in your next step as well, which is to heal.

NEXT STEPS- HEAL FROM THE TOXICITY  AND ASKING FOR HELP

As previously discussed, knowing your rights, for example, from within the Ontario Human Rights Code or any code for that matter.  Racism is draining spiritually and psychologically which can impact your health, your purpose, your everything. Finding like minded individuals will help you to shift and heal.

Know your right to call out professionals to their professional representing organizations. Use your experience to teach others. Leave nothing out.  Learn about Toxic Socialization. Toxic spaces. Align yourself with positive framework and activities. Sometimes we end up in worse situations because of the lack of opportunities of those around us. Sometimes we get blamed for others shortcomings. Why do people chose to hurt or create toxicity, while other blindly follow. Healing from the toxicity is your best measure.

KEEP YOURSELF SPIRITUALY STRONG

Spiritually heal. Protect your space with what makes sense for you. Build a village to support your family because when you are in a high vibration place you will also meet others who are in that same place. Create calming spaces in your home where peace is encouraged and keep fighting or disagreements the low. Realise that shame and guilt are low vibrational feelings, so strive for being creative, and for keeping busy with new ideas, books, purposes, visions, inspirations. Find places to help your time to pass if that is the case. Go to those place. Identify safe places. Go there when you need to. If there is a an immediate threat, such as you being followed, harassed, call authorities. Ask for help.

Right environments are “sufficient.” That is, right environments provide for all physical, psychological, social, intellectual, and emotional needs. Specifically, right environments are loving, nurturing, violence free, stress free, competition free, and pain free. Plan to leave.

CONCLUSION

  • Identifying what and how racial profiling can look is hard. It will catch you completely off guard. A gentle nodding of agreement that it is so embedded within society it nearly makes it hard to detect because its so shocking.
  • Listen to your children if they tell you stories where they do not feel welcomed or connected.
  • Notice the trends.
  • Don’t engage, or engage in ways to build a case for yourself
  • Get security if need be
  • Help them to understand it is never their fault.
  • Learn to shift and to build peace for your child.
  • Giving your child comfort will reinforce that bond between you.
  • Change up the space your in, ” not your circus not your monkeys”

Resources

Blueprint for Transforming the Lives of Children: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595088/

Be Worried About Boys, Especially Baby Boys

Allan Schore discusses the harmful effects of stressing baby boys. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/moral-landscapes/201701/be-worried-about-boys-especially-baby-boys

Paying the price: The human cost of racial profiling

//www.ohrc.on.ca/en/paying-price-human-cost-racial-profiling/impact-racial-profiling-aboriginal-community

ABORIGINAL EXPERIENCES WITH RACISM AND ITS IMPACTS

https://www.ccnsa-nccah.ca/docs/determinants/FS-AboriginalExperiencesRacismImpacts-Loppie-Reading-deLeeuw-EN.pdf