Community Perspective Piece " My Understanding," by KANIZ WILLIAMS

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Kaniz is a student, studying living in Toronto, Canada. He has shared his photography and statement addressing social issues from his perspective


“The should not do that” “it is wrong”

If you are white - frankly if you are not black. You have no business telling me how you believe I should react. You have no business telling me what you would do if you were in my situation. You have no business telling me that black people are making the wrong choices. For certain you have no business trying to make a joke of the situation by saying “if he says I can’t breathe then he can breathe”. The only business you have right now is to help the community and I’m sorry but your suggestions? They’re not helping. How can you suggest to a fish how to swim when he’s swimming amongst sharks and you’re walking in a luxurious neighbourhood?.

“The quiet ones”

I want to disclaim that once again this is from my perspective and not the general story of everyone nor feelings of every black person in the world.

In regards to those that were quiet (oppressors and non-blacks only) about the , I was forced to believe that they had still not grasped the idea of privilege. The concept that the way this ridiculously shaped world had progressed their voices were heard louder than the likes of mine were. The lack of understanding of this privilege was something that drove me crazy.

Now social media became a platform that forced everyone to speak, it bullied those that were silent and forced them to be active. We as a community need to stay together and understand that people heal differently and deal with trauma differently. As a , we must allow each other to heal in a method they wish and are most comfortable with.

The looting

I think the looting is very much where the generations mix Ideas and their responses differ. Many members of the older generation(parents and others), believe that the looting is extremely counterproductive and frankly useless. I personally have a combined assessment of the situation. My personal take on the looting matter is simply that one does not have the right to dictate how people facing trauma should deal with the trauma.

As a black Nigerian boy, I am not going to sit here and tell you that I fight the same battle as African Americans in the United States. The huge war that I am involved in is the war on systemic racism and institutional racism; that is the war every black person fights. The current battle spiking in the United States is that of police brutality and abuse of power.

Deeds for self-preservation

Social media has become a very terrified hitman. Institutions, people, companies and everyone really becomes vulnerable. Now with everyone being vulnerable, many do what they can to stay “safe” and also feel safe within themselves. Anything that comes out of people’s mouths that have been either called out or have been sketchy in the past has a sense of self-protection. Are they only speaking out now to preserve themselves? Protect the image? This is another layer of accepting apologies and dealing with the racially related apologies, I have to double-check myself and realize that I do not have the privilege to be that naive in accepting apologies and statements for what they are because the double-edged sword is always a possibility; are you apologizing to me to give yourself another pedal stool to stand on to make yourself feel better? I guess that is something we individually work on and assess depending on the situation.

In an attempt to self preserve ourselves many black youths search out a group of other black people. To provide them with a sense of support, a way in which we are able to unapologetically be ourselves. An environment where we do not need to educate our friends every day of our life. A setting in which there is no ranking and a minimal difference in privilege. Through this period, I have found a group of people I have been praying for, for years. People that relate and understand the baggage that comes with being black; but also people who would never change that heavy baggage for any reason. So when you see a group of “black girls”, “black boys” or black people; don’t clutch your purse, don’ hold hands, rather understand that they have found their safe space. Funny isn’t it? You feel threatened in that 5 seconds you walk by us, we feel threatened anytime we are not with our people.

Racism is a war and police brutality is the current battle we face. African Americans are at the forefront of that battle and I support them in every way I can, as we continue to fight the war of racism.

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