This is a hard blog to write. And I can’t even find an appropriate image.
I was all set to write about happier things, like the new Gerber baby, but…
The verdict in the Colten Boushie murder trial is heartbreaking and infuriating – and, sadly, not surprising. It’s one more story in a large volume of injustices against Indigenous People in this country.
Colten Boushie was killed on a farmers’ property. Shot in the back of the head. The defence suggested it was an accident. The verdict on Friday was not guilty. Protests were held across the country on Saturday, in support of Colten’s family and denouncing racism.
Another Example of Racism
How do we go from a verdict to accusations of racism?
It’s simple, really…
It’s a fact that we experience the world differently, see things differently, and are seen differently because of who we are.
We don’t live in a country or world where everyone is seen, heard and valued for who they are.
If you need proof of that, walk down a city street and see how people interact with someone who is homeless, check out the disproportionate number of Black men who are carded by Police, or visit a reservation and see if you can drink the water.
Racism is still alive and well in this country (and around the world).
So…if the jury is all white in a trial of a white man accused of killing an Indigenous youth in a country where systemic racism exists, we can’t be naïve to think that it is fair. Because of how racism, systemic racism and unconscious bias work, in order to have a fair trial, there should have been Indigenous representation on the jury.
What difference does representation make?
A representative jury doesn’t mean the verdict would automatically have been different. But what it does is say “I see you. I hear you. I value you. You need to be part of this process and we know why.” It lends some fairness to a flawed process; flawed because in a country where systemic racism lives, it also lives in the justice system.
Other examples of systemic racism at work
There is more, of course.
You can read more about how Colten’s family was treated on the night he was killed, to see what racism looks like in practice; how people can be treated so differently simply because of who they are – in this case, in the context of policing. When you read it, ask yourself if things would have played out in the same way if Colten and his family were white.
And Shree Paradkar outlines other injustices in this case in her (as usual) on-point article in the Toronto Star.
This is not a new story, and it’s not a surprising story, but it’s a heartbreaking and infuriating reminder of the reality we are staring at: that we have a long way to go towards reconciliation – and there are many systems to examine carefully and dismantle in order to get there
And how we proceed is just as important as what we do and don’t do.