Last night at ap. 8pm, we were asked to leave the Lone Star Texas Grill at 930 Dixon Road, Etobicoke because our baby was “too loud”. We were seated on the main floor in a booth and there were quite a few babies in the restaurant who were making the noises that children normally do. Nothing excessive, certainly nothing offensive and yet, the assistant manager waited until just after we were served our meal to approach the table and inform us that about 12 patrons had complained that our baby was too loud and that he would pay for my meal if I would leave with my son. My son is 1 year old.
Seated at the table were myself, two of my best friends and my oldest daughter who is sixteen. We were having a farewell dinner for our friend, Pte. Georgina N. Hamilton who had just graduated that morning after completing an 8 week Level Three Qualification Course at Base Camp Borden. She is a new Supply Technician with the Canadian Armed Forces and was leaving for Nova Scotia following our meal.
At first, the assistant manager who shall remain nameless for now approached us, stood at the end of our table and proceeded to communicate that he simply couldn’t have my son disturb the other patrons in his establishment as they are “…running a business.” He claimed that people were getting up and leaving the restaurant leaving their unpaid bills behind.
Yes, he claimed that my 1 year old baby, was making enough racket in a family restaurant during dinner hours that it was best if I left with him. He didn’t offer to reseat us. He didn’t offer to come down to my level at the table and speak to me quietly or privately. He didn’t smile in that “I know how kids are but, I just have to let you know what other people are saying” kind of way. He calmly informed me that it would be best if I left with my son and that he would gladly pay for it.
He avoided eye contact with the other guests at the table, he avoided speaking directly to them. He also made it clear that he would only be paying for MY meal and no one else’ as though he expected me to leave and my dinner party would carry on eating as if nothing had happened. One of my friends had already pre-paid for her meal so that to ensure she wouldn’t be late making her airplane departure.
The entire time the gentleman was at our table, my son didn’t make a sound. In fact, the restaurant was eerily quiet. We didn’t get loud. Nobody overreacted, we simply advised that if one of was being asked to leave, we are all being asked to leave and that all bills would be covered and for obvious reasons. When I mentioned to him that social media outlets can tell a good story, he then agreed to pay for all of our meals. Just as we’re gathering our things to leave, we heard a baby on the level just above us squeal loudly. He ignored this until we pointed it out and asked if he would be approaching their table too to ask them to leave the restaurant; He calmly said, “If I get complaints about that baby, then I’ll approach them too.” and he walked off as we ushered ourselves toward the front of the building where we then collected the business card of the general manager.
The only difference between my squealing baby and the other squealing baby was that my son, and the people seated around him are Black.
I am not naïve, yet although I am completely wide awake and understand how the world operates, I can’t help but be sickened that things like this still happen in 2013 and in my beloved Canada of all places.
I am waiting to hear back from the General Manager for that restaurant. After explaining to him this morning what happened, he explained that he would “investigate” and get back to me. I have spoken to the Human Rights Commission Tribunal for their advice in the meanwhile as we wait to see how this unfolds.
I had to share. I had to write about it; It’s what I do.
Tell me dear reader, do you think it’s fair to demand justice in the form of an apology. Demand the employee receive Sexual Harassment And Racial Prejudice training (S.H.A.R.P) as it pertains the code of the Canadian Human Rights Commission AND a monetary donation to Blacklit101 Education program fund? Doing nothing IS NOT AN OPTION.
What are your thoughts about this very un-curious incident?
I’m really interested to know your opinions on this. What are some of your stories? How did you feel? What did you do?
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
Franz Fanon in the Wretched of the Earth said, “The last battle of the colonized against the colonizer will often be the fight for the colonized against each other.”
Rwanda’s unrepentant refusal to talk with the DRC based, Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, eat many heads up in the region. Of late, the world evidenced the tug of war between Rwanda and Tanzania after President Jakaya Kikwete proposed round-table talks. Again, despite all misunderstandings, we need to face it that the conflict in the Great Lakes needs to be dealt with. For better or for worse, nothing human is forever. For how long will we live under fear and conflicts?
Currently, the US is in dialogue with the Talibans in Afghanistan. Israel and Palestine have recently resumed peace talks. This means that any conflict, be it protracted or otherwise, can be resolved. Reconciliation is the only way forward wherever there is conflict. Rwanda as well as DRC needs to move forward given that FDLR rebels will never live in DRC forever.
I understand how Kigali feels, especially when it remembers the magnitude of the sin that FDLR committed during the 1994 genocide that wiped out about one million Rwandans, Tutsi and moderate Hutus. I know how traumatizing it is to revisit such history. Importantly though, reconciliation is inevitable shall the region aspire to have peace and prosperity. Africa’s still dependent on its former masters and other rich and developed countries. How come now that such dependent continent is embarking on creating more conflict than reducing them? Again, history is always written by survivors. Methinks Rwanda should search its soul to see to it that the conflict is solved so that life can go on and write a new history of reconciliation.
Rwanda won’t be the first country to embark on reconciliation. Blacks in South Africa suffered more than any country under the Apartheid regime. Nelson Mandela who spearheaded fight against Apartheid was jailed for long. Again, after realizing that conflict can be used constructively to avoid more destruction, Mandela was the first person to forgive Apartheid regime after understanding the way it felt about what it committed. Through talking to each other, both parts in South Africa were able to read each other’s way of looking at things. In the end, South Africa made a precedent to which almost every peace lover refers to. African sage has it that, those who fight are the ones that cooperate. No way can human beings live without differences, conflicts and all sorts of things as far as misunderstandings are concerned. On this ground, it makes sense to call upon Rwanda and FDLR rebels to talk peace, instead of harbouring hatred and vengeance. Such stance won’t solve any problem. Instead, it’ll double if not triple them.
It defies logic, for example, to presume all Hutus as genociders. How if at all those born during or after genocide did not partake in this megalomania? Hutus who did not partake in the crime feel betrayed and victimized. Those judged wholesomely feel that they’ve the duty to cleanse their names. Those born in DRC, just like those who took over after Genocide, who were born in Uganda, think that they’d go back home. This is where it boils down to scheming to deal with current Rwandan regime either peacefully or violently. This is not the situation a country is supposed to live in. Why don’t we want to learn the menacing danger refugees in Uganda caused to Rwanda? Suppose DRC stabilizes and supports FDLR to take on their home government as Uganda did? This means that another calamity is in the making. This is why it becomes inevitable for two sides to talk and reconcile. How if at all, genocide was the work of a select few in power by then? Rwandans need peace. And peace will come from reconciliation.
I know verily that Kigali would like to respect the dead. Again, as Gerard Prunier put it in his book, The Rwanda Crisis; History of Genocide, “Respect of the dead does not preclude the efforts to understand why they died.” Such take helps us to seek truth and peace in order to avoid repeating the same in the name of preserving and honouring the dead.
Prunier goes on saying that Hutus and Tutsi were not created as cats and dogs. Allowing the conflict to shrive amidst Rwandans is but faulting God’s goodwill of endowing us with higher and bigger brains that make us humans and not animals. Sometimes, due to ignorance, fear and confusion, man can commit sacrilegious things that even an animal can’t commit. Again, once this happens, sane minds must intervene. This is why the international community formed Arusha-based ICTR. This aimed at punishing the guilty and redressing the offended. Now, if ICTR and Gacaca did punish the guilty, why then presume all Hutus as killers?
After all, genocide can be said to be the product of European eugenics, especially John Speke by proxy, that created Hutus and Tutsi for their reasons of exploiting them. It is absurd and indifference to keep on, for example, calling the 1994 genocide, genocide against Tutsi. So too, it’ll be nonsensical to keep on alleging that all Hutus committed genocide. To do away from this danger, Rwanda must willingly talk to rebels instead of feeling that the international community is forcing it to talk. The upshot is those situated out of the conflict, see it better than those involved in it.
Recently a friend was ranting to me about a segment of The O’Reilly Factor he had watched, where a conservative African-American radio talk show host, David Webb, was commenting in agreement with O’Reilly on the George Zimmerman
fiasco verdict. My friend made the statement that Webb was a nothing but a “white man in black skin”.
He then went on to inform me of a survey he had seen which stated that 70% of white people in America agreed with the verdict. I asked him, how many black people did he guesstimate also agreed with the verdict. The question caught him off guard and he struggled to answer… “maybe 1%”. I told him it was probably closer to 70% than 1%.
I also told him I totally disagreed with his categorizing of Webb and that he was indeed a “black man in black skin”. There is one group of people who hate poor black people more than white people do… and that’s the black middle and upper class. They are quite adept in their use coded intellectualized language in their condemnation of their less fortunate brothers and sisters. Which is why despite their political affiliations, cultural heritage, gender or sexual orientation, many in the black middle and upper class are more sympathetic to the white supremacy based thinking on black criminality of a Bill O’Reilly, a Sean Hannity and even a Barack Obama.
Regardless of their eloquence, when you break it down, it’s black on black hate speech… steeped in self-hate. Whether it’s the comments of David Webb, Don Lemon, Barack Obama, The Conservative Black Chick, the article below by Project 21 member Derryck Green… all are reflective of the internalized “divide and conquer” strategy within the African-American community.
Race Fatigue by Derryck Green
Help me, I’m suffering from acute race fatigue!
After gavel-to-gavel coverage of the George Zimmerman trial, I need a break. After all the post-verdict anger, lamentations and inane discussions about what it is to be a black man in America, I’m exhausted.
After watching President Obama liken himself to Trayvon Martin, I’ve had enough. All this talk about race seems intentionally shortsighted and disingenuous. It simply implicates whites and infantilizes the black man. And those needing to hear straight talk the most are shortchanged by the soulless profiteers of the racial grievance industry.
I’m tired of Trayvon Martin being compared to Emmett Till – which, by extension, projects a racial ethos similar to that of 1955 upon contemporary America. Martin was no Till, period. Martin was not some kind of martyr. Please, already.
I’m tired of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being photoshopped into a hoodie. This is nothing short of repulsive, and it denigrates the memory of Dr. King’s contribution to racial justice. Our nation shall forever be in debt to Dr. King. The same cannot and should not be said nor insinuated about Trayvon Martin. There is no comparison.
I’m especially exhausted of hearing condescending white progressives encouraging blacks to maintain a false narrative of victimization. The embarrassing demonstrations increased racial fatigue because those engaging in them did so at the expense of their dignity and credibility. These people – willfully or through neglect – ignored the facts and evidence of the case in a grandstanding attempt to make whites feel responsible and guilty for perpetuating racial discrimination. At the same time, whites feel obligated to perform penance of indeterminate length – defined by the racial grievance industry – without assurance of absolution.
Meanwhile, black-on-black crime is much more destructive and prevalent than a “white Hispanic” killing a black male. The charade is disgusting, and I’m tired of it. The Zimmerman trial wasn’t about race. The FBI’s investigation found absolutely no evidence of racial bias.
Martin was criminally profiled. In the 14 months prior to the fatal Martin-Zimmerman confrontation, the Retreat at Twin Lakes apartment complex was burglarized eight times – with all suspects being roughly the same height, build and color as Martin.
Thus, Martin wasn’t stalked or “hunted down like a “rabid dog” because he was black. As noted during the trial, suspicion was raised because of Martin’s behavior and because he fit a very specific criminal profile.
Blacks aren’t helpless victims abused by “the system.” The facts prove it. The reason that blacks – specifically black males – are disproportionally represented in the criminal justice system is because we commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. Period.
According to FBI statistics, of the 2,938 murder offenders counted in 2011, 1,803 offenders were black. The total number of black murders in 2011, regardless of age, was 2,695. Of that number, 2,447 had black offenders. Blacks are complicit in their own demise. The system that blacks fear, which they claim is out to get them, is – in reality – blacks themselves.
In other words, there are too many black and progressive fingers pointed outward and not enough pointed inward. This is because there’s no political capital to be gained by doing this – no emotions to be exploited and no one to morally indict as racist.
Does racism exist? Yes, of course. But no one race is responsible for all – or even most – of it. Does racial discrimination exist? Yes, again. And there always will be on this side of heaven.
For blacks and their enablers to continue to foment this notion that racism is America’s number one problem, however, is self-defeating, immoral and perpetuates a lie. Too many blacks have no idea how irresponsible and embarrassing they look in all of this. And I fear, very soon, they will be called on their Dream-killing commodification and idolization of race.
By then, I hope I’ve recovered from my race fatigue.
I learned the hard way that often times when our children are reporting to us with conflict or having “issues” with their teachers, we as parents ought to believe them. Here’s why, many teachers simply do not have the wherewithal to effectively deal with the cultural differences that naturally exists between themselves and their students. After all, teachers are only people; Mere mortals and life can condition them to have prejudices and preconceived notions about Black people just like anyone else. However, when this spills over into the classroom, teacher-student conflict can easily contaminate the learning environment.
This is why I believe that discipline is of the utmost importance. A well behaved student can make the difference in how the teacher relates to him, her and their peers. When our children are not busy living up to the negative stereotypes, it’s a lot harder for the facilitator to justify his or her prejudiced attitudes and behaviors. Classroom management can be organized and structured around pathways for successful learning which is inclusive of all students.
Parents, please encourage your learner to use their manners and the “home training” that we work so hard to instill within them. Remind them that is our onus as parents to advocate on their behalf when conflict arises. If the child is in a position where they feel they must self-advocate, teach them to do so assertively yet politely until the adult care-giver can intervene. Not only does this show the teacher that the child is valued and supported, it reinforces to the child that they are safe and protected. It also helps to preserve balance in the classroom as no teacher will take being undermined or disrespected lightly which can lead to burned bridges even if the conflict was encouraged by the teacher to begin with. This can lead to a myriad of BS which ultimately distracts from learning.
With September fast approaching, set aside some time to sit down with your child and talk about the expectations that you have for them in terms of their performance, attitude, citizenship and behavior within the school environment. Having an open dialogue and establishing parameters for their conduct and deportment can help to better prepare them mentally as well as alleviate any uncertainty they might have toward their role in the classroom and that of the figures of authority they will have to deal with every day.
Back to school preparation is about us as much as it’s about them. Help them to establish goals, milestones and objectives for the new school year. Nurture their ambition, I promise you, it will help you to not only support their educational needs, it may save you some really nasty headaches down the road. It’s ok, you can trust me because I’m speaking from my own experience as an educator and as a parent.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
As a new school year fast approaches, I’ll be posting articles which may help students and parents get ready to put their best feet forward this September. Although anyone can learn from this particular post, I emphasize that this is for Black students simply because of the reality. Expectations for Black students reading and writing abilities are much lower than the median for their non-Black counterparts. That’s it folks. In terms of literacy, our children are expected to naturally fare worse than their peers. I want to change this phenomenon.
Even without formal instruction, young learners will gradually learn the correct structures and rules of the English language. When a child is learning to read, they may use a variety of strategies to decode and understand the text but, in accepting this rule, we are first assuming that the student already has a good “grasp” of the English language. In terms of writing, we typically tend to gauge our child’s functioning skills by connecting that it is a reflection of how well they speak. This is a common mistake that many of us parents make. Although verbal skills and written skill are correlated, good speakers do not automatically make good writers. We all know people who speak effortlessly but give them a pen and they can barely string two sentences together. How about those of us who would simply die of embarrassment if people saw our writing through the lens of the autocorrect or spellcheck tools.
Many factors influence what determines good writing. Here are a few tips to help us parents support our children’s literacy needs. Getting into the practice of incorporating the things below can help develop writing skills.
- Good writing is clear and has an easily identified point.
- That point is supported with information.
- The information is clear, connected and logical.
- The words are appropriate and the spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure are correct.
That’s it, four little tips to help our learners excel. In writing, practice might never make perfect but, it does help us to become better.
After the writing task has been assigned, it is helpful to begin with the basics; What are you writing and who are you writing for? Is it an essay? Short fiction? Book report? Research project? Thesis? Once the task is determined, identify the audience. Ensure that the target audience (teachers/peers/instructors/professors) can easily understand what they are reading. We may live in a ROFLMAO, SMH, WTF? Techno-social-media-short-form world but, in the realm of formal education; Spelling, grammar and punctuation all matter.
A learner who is in the habit of taking their time to write and the to proof read and edit will generally submit better written material.
Being able to identify and then connect the audience or reader to the content is very important. Writing which conveys emotion or feeling and even invokes sentiment within the reader demonstrates skill. Being able to hold the reader’s attention is an equally effective skill therefore, wording is paramount. In my experience, my students often try to impress me by using big words which isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact I encourage it. I am often affected and pleased by the effort however; Using relevant wording will often win over an audience easier than lofty wording or, by contrast using dull wording. These provocative tactics can sometimes backfire in either case by insulting the reader’s intelligence. I don’t know about you but for me, that’s usually an automatic turn-off. Students should be encouraged to explore language but, not craft sentences around words they feel will help them to show-off.
Don’t forget the content! The subject or topic being covered is the star of the show. The content must reflect the criteria of the assignment. I can’t name how often I’ve peer edited and at the end of reading I had no idea what the point was. This is a dangerous ground. Sticking to the point can be hard but, it ought to be the central theme.
The difference between being a mediocre writer and a good writer is a matter of semantics. It has nothing to do with talent! Being an effective writer is in understanding your own voice, identifying your weaknesses and writing around them. It’s being daring and risking being open in what you chose to write about. It’s about taking the task of writing beyond the course outline and using the parameters of the paper to do everything the instructor requires of you to get that ‘A’ and also revealing who you are as an individual.
Most importantly and I share this with my ESL students, but the rule is as true for native English speakers; The best way to become proficient in writing is to read, read, READ! I can’t stress this point enough. Avid readers tend to develop broader vocabulary as well as learn to identify and use various writing mechanics.
Parents, please understand that a good writing tutor might save you money down the road. Learning the mechanics of writing in grade 6, 7 and 8 will prepare your child for his or her academic future. By the time your child reaches high school and written communication becomes a major component of learning, they will already have the skills needed to easily express their thoughts, world views and opinions through writing. To write effectively is to communicate effectively which often translates into better marks and better grades resulting in greater opportunities for bursaries, scholarships and other free money to put toward post secondary education.
It’s not that good writing requires formal education, it’s that formal education requires good writing.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
Although I believe not in the Bible, I like some of its wisdom. John 8:7 says, “He who is without sin among you can cast the first stone at her,”. Jesus was responding to a mob justice that brought a woman accused of adultery. He wanted to assassin the tendency of better than thou among Jews.
Recently, some quarters in Africa proved to act as those Jews in Jesus’ story. Some are now accusing the International Criminal Court of racism, selectivity and targeting black leaders. Is ICC really targeting anybody or it is doing its work? A couple of current and former African rulers are facing charges before the ICC. Indicted are two sitting presidents, Omar Bashir (Sudan) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya). One sitting deputy president William Ruto is also charged. Two former presidents, Charles Taylor (Liberia) and Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast) are behind bars waiting for their cases to be heard and determined. Suspects along with wannabe suspects and desperados are giving ICC a bad name by accusing it of racism and targeting African rulers. Bashir is charged along with his two lieutenants, Ally Kushayb and Ahmed Haroun. Actually, those people do not advance any legal and logical arguments. Instead they are yelling and politicizing ICC through duping their people to support their evil plot.
Other African indictees are Ugandan fugitive Lord Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony, along with his lieutenants and other rebel leaders from Darfur, DRC and the son of former Libyan strong man, Saif al Islam Gaddafi to mention but a few.
On the one hand, ICC has already confirmed charges against African who’s who, while in the other hand, it has already dismissed other cases involving Africans such as Henry Kosgey, Mohamed Husssein (Kenya), Bahr Idris Abu Garda (Sudan) and Calixte Mbarushimana (Rwanda). Also ICC has already acquitted other Africans such as Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (DRC). So too, ICC convicted Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (DRC).
Yes. Looking at the above mentioned people, it is true they are all Africans. Again, were they charged because they are Africans or just because they were accused of committing crimes ranging from rape, crimes against humanity, genocide and what not? It is important to underscore that ICC is a legally enacted instrument to deal with legal but not political matters. One would think that those accusing the ICC would produce logical evidence to prove their assertion. Instead, they are making rumpus unnecessarily. Recently Rwanda and Uganda led the choir of taking shots at the ICC. When this happened many asked one major question: Why now, not when African countries willingly and knowledgeably consented to and ratified the Rome Statute? Were they forced or duped into consenting and ratifying the same? Didn’t they know what they were doing? Did they know what they were doing save they didn’t know what would be the impacts of the ICC? Isn’t this double standard in the first place?
Rwanda’s Justice Minister Johnston Busingye was recently quoted as saying, “Africa seems to be taking the lion’s share of the ICC, for example, in the last one decade or so. So our position has really been this kind of justice is selective, and we do not want to have international justice being used as a tool, or being perceived as a tool to control Africa”. I concur with Busingye that Africa took a lion share in committing crimes. Is this ICC’s fault? The whole world knows that Africa has a big chunk of conflict globally.
It is sad to see people we thought to be of integrity such as Ethiopian Premier, Haile Mariam Desalegn jumping into the bandwagon of desperation. Desalegn was, in May, quoted as saying, “The process ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaw. The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity and ill governance and crime, but now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting.” Again, who is hunting who if African countries took their cases before the ICC?
Stephen Musau, chair of the Rights Promotion and Protection Center in Kenya however has the answer as to why African countries should not complain but instead put their houses in order. He was quotes as saying, “The failure is what led us to the ICC and that failure cannot be blamed on Kenyans. It is the state machinery, which failed to show the way in terms of how we deal with these issues and because we failed in that, we are supporting the ICC.”
By and large, all being said, we need to know that those accusing the ICC of