Several days ago, a hate crime was committed in Port Colborne, Ontario. Someone, or likely more than one person, broke into a family home, destroyed much of the house, and spray painted an anti-black racist slur across the walls of the bedroom of a 16-year-old girl and her younger sister.
Because the white 16-year-old girl is dating a black 16-year-old boy with whom she goes to school.
For more than two decades I’ve had people tell me again and again that racism doesn’t exist in Niagara; that Canada is so tolerant.
Even when I’ve shared stories of the racism I encountered whilst dating the father of my children and then the racism I encountered upon and since having my children, people still have the gall to tell me that they are isolated incidents; that racism doesn’t live here.
Well, guess what?
Racism lives here.
It lives in Port Colborne. It lives in St. Catharines. It lives in Niagara Falls. It lives in Canada.
It. Lives. Here.
Why is this hate crime also a feminist issue? Because beyond being obviously racist and being shockingly violent in nature, what with the destruction, it is about white female purity.
Someone (really, lots of people) is afraid not just that this white girl might be too close to a black boy, they are afraid that this relationship will continue and she will have his children. They are afraid that she will sully the white ‘race’ and make it less pure.
Women are the reproducers of race. When white women partner with non-white men, the value of whiteness is up for debate. Whiteness can’t be superior anymore (for those who believe it’s superior) if white women are running around with non-white men.
I’ve been called names I won’t repeat here for having partnered with an Asian man. I’ve been told I should be ashamed of myself for having “mix breed” children. I’ve been told “it could be worse,” knowing full well they meant “he (or they) could be black.”
This is one of many awful things that was left as a comment on a blog I had prior to this one:
“Mixed race kids are known for being f[***]ed up. Not sure what you expected exactly producing such genetic trash?”
Genetic trash. My children. Because their white mother and Asian father fell in love and had a family.
Now, when people question me about the maternity of my children, I respond with “are you trying to find out who I’ve slept with?” because that’s exactly what they’re trying to find out. They want to know if I’ve done a good and generous thing and adopted them (an assumption that’s been made dozens and dozens of times in 12 years) or if I did a bad and disrespectful thing and slept with an Asian man and birthed the children myself.
On the flip side of so many people thinking I’ve adopted my children, because of their Asian-ness, I have a friend who more than once has been questioned about her children, because of their black-ness. One time, as she and I were chatting, she said to me, “I would love to know how people know that your children are adopted and mine are not.” Of course, it’s the other way around. My children are not adopted and hers are, but you know why most people assume her children are not adopted? Because there is an actual body of research that shows that white families do not adopt black children, because of the racial stigma.
So, whilst I deal with racism on behalf of my children on at least a weekly basis and have had really hateful things said to me about my children and me, I’m still not dealing with the extremes of racism that black individuals and families are dealing with. I’m still not dealing with the racism that would have been dealt me if I had partnered with a black man and had children with him.
This hate crime was about putting that white girl in her place.
This hate crime was about telling that black boy to back off.
Don’t tell me racism doesn’t live here.