Silence is Violence

It must be nice to be white and unaffected by Colten Boushie’s death and his murderers acquittal. And I am not talking to all my white friends and allies. I know a lot of you, especially in Saskatchewan or who are from Saskatchewan, have stepped up and made it very clear that you know the verdict was unjust. And that makes me feel safer with you. But the inverse is also true. I feel LESS safe with people who haven’t said anything or taken a side publicly. And that’s sad.

It makes me wonder what they are protecting. If they really just don’t think it matters, if they don’t know their Indigenous friends are crying and grieving and raging right now, or worse, if they don’t care. OR even more worse, if I am one of their few or only Indigenous friends. I wonder about their friends and family, if they are staying silent because they know it’s going to expose someone on their friends list as a virulent racist, if they don’t want to rock the boat, if they just want this to pass by unnoticed and unmentioned.

A young man was shot in the back of the head at point blank range while he was sleeping, and even tho the murderers testimony was full of inconsistencies and blatant lies (who reaches for keys through a window with their left arm? Try it! Make a video of it. I want to see) an all white jury in front of a white judge declared him not guilty. At minimum he needed to get manslaughter. AT MINIMUM. There are people who have car accidents causing death who get convicted of manslaughter. But a man holding a gun that he has fired three times DOES NOT. That’s fucked.

AT MINIMUM you need to say something. At minimum you need to make at least one post denouncing this. That’s the baseline for being considered any kind of ally. Because we are noticing. My friends list is full of Indigenous people talking about this and feeling all kinds of really awful feelings right now. Like fear. People have overheard white people joking in Saskatchewan about being able to kill Natives now. We all know, no matter what we do, how well we play the game, we are always in danger of a bullet in the back of the head. And this isn’t the first time this has happened in Canada. And it won’t be the last.

Silence is violence. We are watching who on our friends list are commenting and stepping up and sharing anger and sorrow and grief and rage, and who is not. And it’s very telling. And what it’s saying isn’t good.

6 thoughts on “Silence is Violence

  1. Many Canadians are afraid of the “Indians.” So they overreact to protect themselves, or stay on the sidelines out of fear of getting involved. That’s the only plausible explanation I can find for the mean, nasty, sometimes murderous attitudes toward First Nations people. I’ve seen this fear over and over again among people I worked with and among strangers. It’s based on old movies, not reality. There is no real relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada. There is only this myth.

  2. I have denounced this murder and will continue to do so. My thought is like yours: at a bare minimum, this was manslaughter. And Gerald Stanley’s story doesn’t pass the smell test. I am saddened, sickened, and enraged. And ashamed that this happens in this country called Canada. People say this is not about race. Well, the guy who stole over a million dollars of his friends and neighbors’ farm equipment is a white man. He was caught and he got house arrest. My condolences to the families and loved ones of Colten Boushie.

  3. Sorry I meant to say I love your writing. Also maybe you don’t want to publish my comment because I shouldn’t have said where you used to work. You can change it or delete it or whatever you want.

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