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  • Writer's pictureTaylor McNallie

Stop Using Black People as Your Talking Point While Never Making Us the Point

Yesterday I did a talk on ‘Social Justice in the Age of Social Media’ where I took time to share about the importance of journalistic integrity and what it does, and does not, looks like. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as prior to leaving the house for this talk, I had found - yet another - article that mentioned my name while sharing incorrect details of what I am currently going through. This is not the first time I’ve found someone to be using my name as a talking point while amplifying the voices of others.


Here are the basics of what I'm currently sitting with:


  • Since 2020, I have received 17 criminal charges due to my activism.

  • 3 Calgary Police officers have now sued me for “defamation” for sharing about their violence and naming them publicly.

  • In 2 years I have spent over $20,000 in legal fees, with another $20,000+ more to pay in the coming months.

  • I was sentenced to 30 days in prison, and have now spent time inside.

  • I will be on probation for the next 2 and half years.

  • My current conditions include not being able to attend protests.


Despite these egregious facts, despite people understanding my situation is dire enough to mention it when speaking on policing in so-called Canada, the only people who have reached out to me for an interview to help amplify my situation is Winnipeg Police Cause Harm (for which I am incredibly grateful for).


The article I found yesterday is a conversation between Taya Graham of The Real News Network and Brandi Morin, an Indigenous journalist who was recently arrested while covering the decampments in Edmonton, Alberta and charged with obstructing a peace officer. Due to Brandi’s work, appearing in publications and on networks including National Geographic, Al Jazeera English, the Guardian, VICE, the New York Times, Huffpost, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News and more, her story has received international coverage.



As you read above, Taya mentions that someone reached out to her about me. This is correct. A friend of mine reached out to Taya and her team in August of 2023 and had CC’d me in the email. We went back and forth a couple times to confirm a date for the interview but, ultimately, Taya never replied - not even when I reached out again in September asking for their support in amplifying the Stop the Stack YYC campaign as I prepared for sentencing. It's interesting to me that somehow an interview hasn't been possible to organize within the last 7 months but very quickly an article was able to be released about Brandi shortly after her experience in Edmonton. This is not to say Brandi does not deserve her voice to be heard. This is to point out how anti-Blackness and having access to resources - as Brandi does through her work with these various networks - often silences and omits those who are being impacted significantly greater. This is me telling you and showing you, once again, how Black people are being ignored as we continue to be targeted by state violence in the form of police, policing, and prisons.


Another thing I’d like point out is the way Taya talks about me and the conversation quickly goes back to “yeah, that is something Native people have experience” to completely sideline the experience had by Black people in this country. Police in Canada were created for two things: to remove Indigenous children from their homes AND to police free Black people. In fact, the emergence of policing and criminal law in this country came with the "abolition" of slavery in Canada in 1834. Even after the "abolition" of slavery, we also experienced segregation much like in the United States with examples such as legally segregated public schools in Ontario until 1965 and in Nova Scotia until 1983, preventing home ownership or renting to people of African descent, restricted employment for Black people, and racial restrictions on public transportation. In Toronto, over 40% of the children currently in the child welfare system are Black, even though they make up only 8.5% the city’s population. You probably haven't heard these numbers, nor think of Canada when you hear about police brutality and segregation. But this is the history of this country. The further we get away from these facts, the further we get from being able to create the changes we so desperately need. "Any Black person moving freely through public space could be understood as a possible runaway. So in that way, the association between Blackness and criminality was established even before policing was formalized."


Another thing I'd like to point out in this article is the way Dalia Kafi is referred to as a "woman of color." DALIA WAS A BLACK WOMAN. Not a “woman of color," as mentioned by Taya. She was Black. Name it, and name our oppression. We are not "people of color." We are a demographic of people who experiences a very particular type of racism called anti-Blackness, and every time we are removed from the conversation it upholds the harm and erases our plight.


"The public use of the term person of color (POC) seems to have become less about solidarity and instead about lessening negative connotations and implicit anti-Black reactions." - Joshua Adams


I am so fucking tired of Black people, particularly Black women, having to beg to be seen, beg to be heard, beg to be believed, beg to be acknowledged. I’m tired of being talked about, talked around, and talked down; tired of being good enough to be used as a prop, an example, and a pawn but never good enough to be centered in my own oppression and injustice. February is Black History Month, and I urge you - I beg you - to learn about the Black experience in this country and amplify our stories.


Black lives still matter.


"Anything that is done will always be practiced on Black people first, historically. The more people avoid addressing anti-Blackness within their organizing, the more these things can happen. Whether you like us or not, whether you care about Black Lives Matter or not, these things affect all of us. It affects everybody. What does solidarity and unity really look like?" - Taylor McNallie


"The only thing that I would add is: listen to Black women. I’ve been saying it and saying it and saying it. But they didn’t hear me. And this is what has happened. It’s only going to get worse and I know a lot of stuff. Whether you like me or not, I interrupt harm. If you want harm to continue, ignore me. If you want change and good things to happen while you’re organizing, there are at least two people in this city who have impacted change. And we’re being punished for it. That is the proof." - Adora Nwofor


 


"Taylor McNallie dedicates her time to seeking racial justice and collective liberation through education and hands-on work with both marginalized communities and accomplices alike. As the co-creator of Inclusive Canada, she provides education on anti-racism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness. She is also a member of the Walls Down Collective which provides access to no-barrier resources and care such as Harm Reduction, free food programs and an alternative to local policing."


Pay Black people for their time, energy and labor.

Etransfer & PayPal: tmcnallie@gmail.com



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