The Inadequacy of Everything

Dear reader, I want to ask you, how are you sleeping?

Are you tossing and turning all night long, your mind running over and over the same thoughts? “A statue of a 17 century slave trader was toppled and thrown to the sea.” “The city of Minneapolis has announced it will disband its police force.” “Is this change?? It feels like change.” “My son, his skin is the lightest of browns! How do I start to teach him about the privilege of his skin?”

On and on and on and on for the last two weeks, this is my mind at night. I am a non-black person of colour. My skin is light brown and my hair wavy. I am the product of mestizaje, the mixing of white Spanish Europeans, the native peoples of el Zulia, and black slaves, that took place during the birth of Venezuela. For years I have tried to understand how racism and discrimination based on skin colour and cultural background played a role in my life as an immigrant in Canada. This is not the subject of this reflection. 

Spring

You may think that because Canada is a northern country of long and harsh winters, our smells are only of cold, frozen earth, snow, and ice. Or maybe what comes to mind are the bland smells of a clean, safe city: the smell of a coffee shop here, the concrete mix of new construction there, the pot from your neighbours’ balcony as soon as it’s warm enough to open your living room windows.