How can the government of the United States of America, or Canada try to pretend that Black lives have ever mattered in their countries, or do today? Both countries have apologized officially for acts in their history that in today’s world are considered to be, offensive, unjust, cruel, racist to all. All except Black people. Both the United States of America and Canada have sought to reconcile, apologize, offer monetary compensation to the survivors and the families of survivors who have suffered and died needlessly and senselessly by their countries policies and laws. All except Black people.
To the governments of the United States of America and Canada, Black lives have never mattered, and still do not today. For some reason both governments feel that the mistreatment of Black people in their countries both in their past and present history requires no:
- official apology;
- attempt at reconciliation;
- monetary compensation to be paid to either the survivors of slavery, or their families.
The Canadian government has officially apologized to the North American Indians, Jews, Chinese, Japanese and Sikhs, but nothing resembling an official apology has ever been offered to Black Canadians for the atrocities that their ancestors were forced to endure upon their arrival into Canada, or for the inequality, racism and injustice that their families continue to endure in today’s Canada.
The Canadian government has instead chosen to remove from its educational curriculum all mandatory teaching of Canada’s involvement and participation in the selling and owning of Black slaves in Canada. Choosing instead to portray Canada as some safe haven where American slaves could run to and find freedom, equality and justice. Unfortunately, this was lie then and still remains a lie as far as equality and justice are concerned for the ancestors of those Black slaves today.
My ancestors were:
- stolen from their homeland by slave traders;
- taken across the sea. Never to see, or be seen by their families again;
- never to see their homelands again;
- chained head to toe on wooden ledges, row after row, in the cargo hold of slave ships;
- forced to lie in their own urine, feces, and vomit for the duration of the sea voyage, which could take months;
- sold into slavery wherever slaves could be sold and were needed.
- renamed and so lost their identity and all ties to their families and loved ones;
- forbidden to speak the language of their ancestors;
- forbidden to practice their religion;
- forced to work from sun up to sun down for scraps of food and meager clothing;
- whipped, raped, castrated, by their masters;
- sold and resold like live stock. Breeding and pedigree important…feelings of animal to be sold, not necessary to consider;
- denied justice, human rights and civil rights.
Millions of my ancestors did not survive the trip and sadly I wonder if they were the lucky ones. They at least were spared the centuries of agony as slaves and knowing that any child that they brought into the world would be just another slave, with no chance of ever knowing freedom. For them at least the agony, humiliation, years of degradation, and the indignity of being treated and thought of as chattel was spared them.
Imagine being one of the women, or one of the young girls who were raped day after day until they finally arrived at their final destination where they were sold at a slave auction for more money based on the babies they now carried in their wombs. Imagine reaching your plantation, working from sun up to sun down in the fields, only to get raped at night in hopes that you would produce children for the master to sell.
Now try to imagine that you were one of the unaccounted for, but claimed to be millions of Black African slaves who:
- jumped overboard trying to escape, thinking they could swim back to their homes;
- were thrown overboard, chained, terrified and screaming, because they were sick;
- were thrown overboard, because the captain of the slave ship would rather lose his cargo then face the consequences for breaking the law.
Imagine now that your government felt and still feels that your ancestor’s treatment and enslavement was not bad enough to deserve:
- an official apology;
- monetary compensation.
All over the United States of America Black men are being murdered by White police officers without the guilty officers being punished. Video footage depicting the crimes are ignored, as are eye-witness accounts. As in the past Blacks are told not to seek revenge, keep it cool and try to understand that progress and change will come, but not overnight.
In Canada the provincial government of Nova Scotia bulldozed down an African-Canadian village located just north of Halifax that was founded in the mid-18th century. Promises to replace the evicted families houses were never kept, monetary compensation for the for many of the evicted was never received. The mayor of Halifax in 2010 did apologize for the government’s actions. The victims of the racist government action now have a park dedicated to the memory of their loss. This park is little more than a reminder to the survivors and their ancestors of how little, if at all, Black lives matter in Canada.
In the province of Quebec, Canadian Black people cannot get the Quebec government to stop using the word “Nigger” when officially naming government landmarks. The Quebec government has used the excuse that removing the word “Nigger” from existing government landmarks, would diminish the historical accuracy of said sites.
In Quebec, Canada, Black face performances are still considered an acceptable form of entertainment and part of Quebec’s cultural heritage. An art form to be proud of and passed on from one generation to another; no matter how offensive to Black people it is.
If this was your:
- immediate future and the future of your children and grandchildren, in both Canada and the United State of America;
Would you think that Black lives mattered to either government?
As a people the ancestors of African slaves lives unfortunately begins and ends with the knowledge that is who we are and all w will always be seen as to the governments of the United States of America and Canada.
Our, culture, language, religion and all that we were and could have become was forcefully taken from us: replaced even in freedom by those of our White masters. We are the only people on this planet for whom there is no going back home.
The deaths of innocent Black people at the hands of White police is an indicator that Black lives do not matter in the United States of America and Canada, but:
- how we have been forced to live;
- what was forcefully stolen from us;
- how we are expected to act like it never happened, is to me the best indicator of all that Black have never mattered to the government of the United States of America, or Canada, and still do not today.