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Member since: 2002
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The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I’m black

(Image: Markian Lozowchuk)

BY DESMOND COLE | APRIL 21, 2015 AT 12:28 PM

The summer I was nine, my teenage cousin Sana came from England to visit my family in Oshawa. He was tall, handsome and obnoxious, the kind of guy who could palm a basketball like Michael Jordan. I was his shadow during his visit, totally in awe of his confidence—he was always saying something clever to knock me off balance.

One day, we took Sana and his parents on a road trip to Niagara Falls. Just past St. Catharines, Sana tossed a dirty tissue out the window. Within seconds, we heard a siren: a cop had been driving behind us, and he immediately pulled us onto the shoulder. A hush came over the car as the stocky officer strode up to the window and asked my dad if he knew why we’d been stopped. “Yes,” my father answered, his voice shaky, like a child in the principal’s office. My dad isn’t a big man, but he always cut an imposing figure in our household. This was the first time I realized he could be afraid of something. “He’s going to pick it up right now,” he assured the officer nervously, as Sana exited the car to retrieve the garbage. The cop seemed casually uninterested, but everyone in the car thrummed with tension, as if they were bracing for something catastrophic. After Sana returned, the officer let us go. We drove off, overcome with silence until my father finally exploded. “You realize everyone in this car is black, right?” he thundered at Sana. “Yes, Uncle,” Sana whispered, his head down and shoulders slumped. That afternoon, my imposing father and cocky cousin had trembled in fear over a discarded Kleenex.

My parents immigrated to Canada from Freetown, Sierra Leone, in the mid-1970s. I was born in Red Deer, Alberta, and soon after, we moved to Oshawa, where my father was a mental health nurse and my mother a registered nurse who worked with the elderly. Throughout my childhood, my parents were constantly lecturing me about respecting authority, working hard and preserving our family’s good name. They made it clear that although I was the same as my white peers, I would have to try harder and achieve more just to keep up. I tried to ignore what they said about my race, mostly because it seemed too cruel to be true.

In high school, I threw myself into extra-curricular activities—student council, choir, tennis, soccer, fundraising drives for local charities—and I graduated valedictorian of my class. Despite my misgivings about my parents’ advice, I was proud to be living up to their expectations. In 2001, I earned admission to Queen’s University. I was enticed by the isolated, scenic campus—it looked exactly like the universities I’d seen in movies, with stately buildings and waterfront views straight out of Dead Poets Society. When I told my older sister, who was studying sociology at Western, she furrowed her brow. “It’s so white,” she bristled. That didn’t matter much to me: Oshawa was just as white as Kingston, and I was used to being the only black kid in the room. I wasn’t going to let my race dictate my future.


It looks like breakfast is going to be interesting...

Did you know that National Puppy Day was earlier this week? Get this Friday Puppy Fix to celebrate



Damon Young, 3/23/16

Wendy Bell is a lead anchor for WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh’s ABC affiliate. I’ve never met her in person before, but I know many people who have. And she’s generally regarded as a pleasant, kind, and professional woman.
And, like many otherwise pleasant, kind, and professional White people, Wendy Bell is utterly clueless about race, White privilege, and how her privilege contributes to her tone deaf myopia in regards to race. This was made clear earlier this week, when the anchor took to Facebook to share her thoughts about the massacre in Wilkinsburg.

Now, before I continue, I want to note that what I’m doing today isn’t coming from a place of outrage. I am more exhausted and sobered by this than angry or offended. I do not wish for Bell to be fired. Plus, if possessing White privilege and existing unaware of that possession was just cause for termination, the White unemployment rate would be 394%. America has a unique talent for mass producing Wendy Bells like they were sheet metals or hot dog buns. Instead, I’m just using her words to articulate how virulent (and damn annoying) this particular strain of back-pattingly well-meaning Whiteness can be.

***Also, after receiving criticism for her post, Bell edited it. What exists on her Facebook page now is not what was initially published. This piece, however, will reference the original.***

"Next to “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times,” I remember my mom most often saying to my sister and me when we were young and constantly fighting, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”


Puppy and baby pack bonding...

I just stumbled on Politifact...

And I noticed how many of The Donald's statements were outright lies, including a great many Pants On Fire. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/

And to my amazement, this truth deficient carnival barker is way ahead in the GOPer primary.

I can only take from this that right wing Republican voters are people who crave being lied to. Just tell them one RWNJ falsehood after another and they'll eat them right up. It's pure madness.

Ahhh, such is the echo chamber in the Conservative Bubble... Facts are not allowed.

Who are we, really?

Taking it easy...

I still don't understand them...

So anyway, the wife reminded me that her old PC laptop, running Ubuntu, was hosed...

I don't know anything about Ubuntu or PCs, I'm strictly a Mac guy, so, WTF?

Anyhoo, I figured out that the best thing to do was reinstall the OS, because, what the hell else am I going to do? It took me a couple of tries to burn a new start disc, but I eventually got that done and then used it to load the OS. Needless to say, it worked.

The Sony Vaio is up and running again. Yeah, I had to wipe the drive and reload everything from scratch, but now my wife has her old POS PC laptop again.

Ain't I a good husband, or what?

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