Most weeks in the history of white supremacy are not good weeks, but this is a particularly bad week. Some lowlights:
In my hometown of Minneapolis, a white police officer lynches George Floyd while three other officers look on. The incident is caught on video, which is important because the initial police report does not match what happened in the video. Despite the officer’s history of violence against BIPOC people, no arrests have been made as of this writing. A peaceful protest is tear-gassed by Minneapolis police, only weeks after white protesters at the Minnesota State Capitol were not tear gassed, and armed protesters in Michigan were allowed into government buildings there.
There are now riots happening in Minneapolis. White commentators seem very concerned about property damage. White supremacists seem to be supporting the uprising, but for all the wrong reasons.
In Toronto, a black woman named Regis Korchinski-Paquet winds up dead when family members call the police for help getting her to the Centre for Mental Health and addition.
In Tallahassee Florida, police shoot and kill Tony McDade, a black trans man.
In Western Australia, a mining company wantonly destroys a 46,000 year old Indigenous cultural site.
In my town of Montreal, which is currently a global hotspot, COVID-19 infections continue to go up. The provincial government diverted federal funds destined for a local Indigenous women’s shelter. The curve has not flattened, and our emergency rooms are over capacity. Apart from long-term care facilities (which themselves have been defunded due to ageism), the most affected population in the city lives in Montreal-Nord, which is majority immigrants and people of colour. The current Quebec premiere ran for office on an anti-immigrant platform but recently said he’d consider allowing more asylum seeker in if they were willing to work in long-term care facilities.
In my corner of the academic world, it has become fashionable in some quarters to focus on black and Indigenous resurgence and agency rather than white aggression because the latter still makes white people the centre of attention. I totally get that. But the need to pay witness to the horrors and everyday violence committed as a direct result of white supremacy will not disappear until white supremacy does. It also seems resurgent right now.