This is going to be a long post, because it’s been a full week in the news already, and it’s only Thursday, and I’ve got a lot on my mind.
This American Thanksgiving, I imagine there are a lot of conversations going on at a lot of family dinners about the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in cities all over North America and the world. I know we’ve been having those conversations at our own dinner table.
Whatever your views on this particular case, the fact is that black Americans are statistically far more likely to be killed by police in the USA than white Americans, and that’s a big societal problem that goes far deeper than any one case. (Here’s one look at the numbers, thanks to Jim C. Hines.) I sincerely hope the heightened awareness of the problems that has come out of this leads to positive change.
I’ve been feeling for the parents particularly this week. As a parent myself, my biggest worry is keeping my child safe. I’ve been thinking a lot about the parents of teens and young adults of colour in the States, whose base level of fear for their kids has to be so much higher than mine is. I don’t have to raise my child to understand that she might be seen as a threat because of her colour or that the default position of the world around her is to see her as a risk and that that puts her at risk. Parenting is difficult enough without that extra worry, and I wish no one had to suffer it.
If you’re struggling to understand what it is to live with that heightened sense of danger, and you have any knowledge at all of Star Trek, Mary Robinette Kowal offers a useful analogy on her blog.
In other news, former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi has been arrested and charged with sexual assault and is out on bail, ordered to live with his mother. The women who came forward to tell their stories about Jian deserve our thanks. Without their voices, this would not have happened, and Jian could still be working at the CBC, a public figure with access to young women anytime he wanted. It’s extraordinarily brave to speak up about a crime for which our society seems unable to avoid blaming the victim, and I’m proud of all women who voluntarily put themselves on trial on the public stage by doing so.
Finally, I was very saddened this week by the death of Pat Quinn, former player, coach, president, and GM of the Vancouver Canucks. I’ve often thought that one of the reasons so many people are drawn to their local sports teams, apart from the sport itself, is because of the sense of community they provide. The teams are like our local gladiators, someone to root for, for a community to get behind, when our modern world provides so little opportunity for that kind of large-scale connection with our neighbours. Pat Quinn pretty much single-handedly brought that back to Vancouver in the late eighties and early nineties, an era when hockey was as close to dead as it ever has been in this city, and the echoes of his influence are still heard in the city today. My thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues, and all the people whose lives he touched through hockey and otherwise.