On October 26, another student of Toronto’s Glen Ames Senior Public School was assaulted. Police have charged a 20-year-old man for making anti-Black racist comments and assaulting the student. It is the second incident this month that involves the same suspect.
This is another example of how far racism can go. When hate and anger turn its eyes on innocent children and youth, it shows that good intentions and talk are not enough. Moreover, when anti-Black racism is directed at children and youth, it is a direct attack on the basic unit of society: the family.
It’s unfortunate that society has yet to recognize the impact of language that is used when reporting incidents of hate. Vocabulary has a lot to do with how seriously people will view the incident and/or downplay its impact.
In a letter sent home to parents about the October 26 incident, the school principal stated that a student was approached by a man on his way home, made anti-Black racist comments, and then physically assaulted him. Thankfully, the student wasn’t seriously injured and the principal did ensure counselling supports were put in place for everyone at the school.
Anti-Black racist attacks on children and youth must be called out and condemned as we do with hate crimes. Children and youth are not only more impressionable but they are also more susceptible to the impacts of such toxic behavior. All members of the community must be willing to stand up and name this for what it is – a direct attack on the core values that make us human beings.
We know that the physical injuries were minor, but it’s important not to downplay the effects of what is a serious life-changing incident. Words matter and the impact of this type of physical and emotional assault could last a lifetime. As a community, we must all recognize the psychological and emotional effects on individuals whose world view has been forever shaped as a result.
No matter how you look at it, anti-Black racism is not acceptable. When it targets our children, it becomes even more critical because it is attacking our future. As a community, we need to come together and work towards eliminating the barriers that have held the Black community back for many generations. Anti-Black racism is real and we all have a role to play in ensuring that we eliminate it from society once and for all.
Chair –Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW)