Colour me cynical
Black History Month has this city jacked up with all things black. You have untold numbers of gallery, library and school outreach actions, Kuumba, NFB screenings, theatrics about often overlooked African-Canadian inventors and a "free, bilingual and fully searchable online gateway," the Black History Canada portal.
There's also a growing movement to establish a Museum of African Canadian History in Toronto to provide some concrete acknowledgement of what African peoples did to help develop this country.
Only a fool would argue that the resplendent February fanfare noir is entirely suspect, yet the yearly outpouring also serves as a reality check to and reminder of the marginalization of black contributions – beyond sport – throughout the rest of the year.
For some of us, it's a bit of a task to just bask in the good vibrations while the bloody spectre of 2005 still looms in the negative sound bites fired without reservation over radio, TV and dinner table, in judgment of the illusory "black community" monolith.
If one more person asks me what to do about the gun business, I just may go off my own damn self.
If the discourse is supposedly about societal ills in general, then why no similar queries about the chronic white corporate criminality and political corruption that also made a headline or two?
The barbs and arrows of loudmouths and talking heads are one thing, but randomly pinning this shit on all of us isn't going to solve this mess. It just precipitates further alienation.
We're talking about abhorrent deviant behaviour that has left every black in the city as somehow complicit for not being able to curtail it. The underlying implication is a politically correct version of "What's the matter with you coons?"
Well, it ain't us black folk, it's those criminals doing the killing. Got it?
I've attended many a (black) community meeting over the years, trying to figure out what gives and what can be done.
Back in the day, the talk was of the generic "black-on-black violence," not specific to guns, and underperforming sports "role models." There was always a paucity of youth in attendance, along with no-shows from city officialdom. The gatherings were largely a waste of time, preaching to the converted. It was painful.
I stopped going, becoming of the mind that if these cats want to blast among themselves (think of bikers before their private beefs spilled-over onto public streets), then leave them to it.
Fast-forward to 2006, and the urban blitzkrieg had me back at the town hall gatherings. Full wind was quickly knocked right out of my sails.
Times have changed, but the song mostly remains the same.
At one meeting in particular, I could have sworn I was in a time capsule with much of the open-mic dialogue being tangential at best, ensuring a brusque wrap-up -- as always at these things.
Like a broken record, one speaker after another emphatically opined that a re-commitment to houses of worship, a ban on rap music or a return to the days when one could physically assault other people's children even for rudeness, never mind for criminal intent, was a way maintaining order. The last of these skewed views was also espoused by a school official in a whimsical recollection. It's no wonder the joint was almost entirely bereft of youth, though a goodly number were milling about a nearby plaza. Sound familiar?
Cop Chief Bill Blair and a contingent meant to show the changing face of modern policing were there in force, announcing an intent to throw more cops at the problem.
By all means, hire more cops, bring in a Yankee man of the cloth with an alleged miracle notched on his collar, beat your neighbour's kids on your way to church, whatever it takes to get guns off the street.
Tell me again how many pieces are on the street because of lax security on the part of black gun "collectors." But I digress.
I'll leave the wailing and gnashing of teeth to those convinced they know the quickest way to salvation.
And enjoy the positive black history spread while it lasts.