Let me be clear: in this post, first and foremost I criticize myself.
I have noticed, probably just like you, that for the last few weeks there has been a lot of noise about changing racial attitudes. That is all fine and good. But I have not seen as much change in things people do.
As one of my favourite political commentators, Nesrine Malik of The Guardian Weekly said,
“Much of the change accelerated by the past few weeks has been centred on optics—corporations making statements about changes to their boards, brands, posting squares on Instagram. We may discover the only thing more detrimental to a cause than doing nothing is dong a tiny bit and thinking that’s enough.”
Summer Lee State Democratic Representative for the 34th District in the US said,
“We have to talk about what is a community partner. Community partners contribute, they participate, they are active in your community, basically they’re a neighbour. If they’re not doing all that they’re your colonizer.”
I have some friends who are different. They are community partners. And they do it quietly without a lot of fanfare. They are, as the Good Book says, “neighbours.” One of them quietly participates in an organization that helps—actually helps—homeless people, most of whom are Indigenous people in Winnipeg. Another friend works helping immigrant people from Central and South America, who come legally across the southern US border, claiming asylum, by providing them with assistance with things like food and clothing when their detention centres are deliberately kept near freezing by the authorities. These people do real things. They are both entitled to the honorary designation of mensch.
I wish I could be more like them.