Friday, October 18, 2013

Courage-less in Kamloops




We had two local acts playing with us in Kamloops at The Dirty Jersey.  One was a young man who didn't get a very good introduction from the sound person before I met him.  He is a student here from Pakistan and he is also a great songwriter.  The other was a group of older boys (couldn't even call them young men) and from the moment they walked in they had all the stench of arrogance and privilege young, white boys do when they're used to not having to worry about how they benefit from our social and political system.  

I instantly disliked them, but remembered to check myself before I was unnecessarily rude to these people I knew nothing about.  Plus, I told myself, these boys don't know yet who they are, so how could they know about the world around them?  What I started doing was explaining away all the reasons why I shouldn't say something.

Then the racism and discrimination started.  These boys wouldn't call it that.  They would call it 'joking' or 'teasing'.  Most people could not even properly define what racism is, so how could these boys understand what they were doing, I told myself.  It was all happening to the young Pakistani man.  I looked at him while this was happening, hoping he would have the courage I didn't have in my youth the stand up to that kind of bullshit, but he laughed it away like I did.  I was instantly transported back to my youth.  I was constantly discriminated against for my background.  I was called Mexican (there isn't thing wrong with being from Mexico, but when you're not from there and people use that word as a general term for Latin Americans, then it's racism), the food I ate was ridiculed (until people tried it), I learned to dislike my culture and move away from it, I learned to try to be more 'white' and that I should be trying to impress white people to get ahead in life because 'they had it all'.  All of this ran through my mind as I watched this young man get verbally abused.  I was furious, but I didn't say anything.  I made all the excuses possible because I was scared to confront that in my life.   

It was something I had come in contact with recently with my friend group.  They are mostly white, and they are all from what we could all call good homes.  One of the guys in the group has been taking out his frustrations and lack of purpose on me for years.  It doesn't affect me in the way it used to - I know better then then to think it's about me.  And the problem really isn't that.  The problem is that the others in the group, specifically the other white males, encourage this behaviour by not saying anything against it and laughing at it.  Can I really call someone a friend if they're willing to laugh off verbal abuse and discrimination?  What kind of person am I if I don't talk to them about it before deciding I no longer want to enjoy their company?  This had all been on my mind in Kamloops and I was paralyzed.  I let it all happen again to someone else.  

I felt disappointed in myself, but it served as another valuable lesson in reminding myself that I have the power to speak up against that kind of shit.  So I will try to remember my courage next time.

And for all the white people reading this right now - It would help a lot if you backed someone up when they stand up against racism.  

For all the men reading this right now - This also applies to sexism and homophobia.

And since all of you are people, we can get to a point where this is a natural reaction to discrimination, whether is be the above mentioned, ableism, weightism, classism, ageism, etc.  THESE ARE ALL REAL THINGS, PEOPLE!!!!  I am asking for your help so I don't feel alone when I have to fight against words and attitudes that keep me from being who I want to be.  If you have never really felt that on a constant basis, you're lucky, and I could use your help next time.  


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Picture time.  There isn't a #FindCody in this post specifically, but he is hidden nicely in one of these pictures.  #FINDCODY!!!!!!!!
This is me in Kelowna at Mount Knox.  It was such a lovely trail and a good physical and emotional workout.  I'm feeling so healthy these days in all the ways.

One of the summits.

This double rainbow almost caused so many accidents.  It was huge though and stunning!

We get to Calgary and my mom is there too.  It's always so great to see her!  She never gets to see me when I'm in full tour mode, and I think this help relieve some of her anxieties about how I do away from home.  She likes to worry about me, and that always means lots of hugs and FOOD.

LOOK AT THIS DOG.  His name is Yoshi.  He is so adorable.



Have a wonderful day, friends.  And remember to look after each other.  



Remember to eat a treat today.  They're really good for you.  I miss Asian City's bubble tea right now.   

3 comments:

  1. Haha this article is complete joke.

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  2. Thanks so much for your candor about your experiences of racism, specifically in the context of the music industry/community, Ricardo. I can't help but be reminded of Casey Mecija's farewell blog post in August (http://ohbijouband.tumblr.com/post/58425133293/goodbye-ohbijou-notes-on-music-labour-and-the) where discusses the state of racism and sexism as she and her bandmates experienced it in the music scene.

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  3. Ricardo, I am so honoured to know you! Not only are you an amazing musician, but an amazing person, too =-) THANK YOU for writing so honestly about your experiences and observations, and inviting others to take a stand against racism (and sexism and homophobia), as well. It is only when all of us realize that treating people with respect and dignity is infinitely more important than a few cheap laughs that we'll truly be human. I'm sharing this blog post =-) Thanks again!!

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