It's unfortunate, but true, the word racism and Nova Scotia have always gone hand and hand. From the Africville days to current times, the stench of bigotry has been in the air since forever.
Racism comes in many forms and fashions, ignorance doesn't really hold back or set limitations. The criminalization and high rates of incarceration among African Nova Scotians are real statistic's. In the most recent carding survey within HRM, it's reported that African Nova Scotians are 3 times more likely to be stopped by the police than white people in the region. The province of Nova Scotia really doesn't think this is a problem, but half the people being carded don't even have criminal records. That's definitely a problem for the African Nova Scotian community.
So as long as we're dealing with systemic racism issues, we're definitely going to be dealing with racism on an everyday level. The issue Lance Sparks had with someone scrawling a racial slur on the hood of his car, wasn't handled the best way.
Every single day, someone is faced with some sort of racism, it's just an unfortunate fact that we have to be aware of. It isn't even surprising anymore when I see these stories in the paper. African Nova Scotians deal with these issues too often, but this is the world we live in!
I was more surprised that Lance Sparks hasn't been through a racial issue of this degree in 12 years! I quote Lance Sparks when he spoke of his students,
I have to say, it threw me off a little, the way the article in the news ended! But I also see It as a great learning tool, when you read between the lines. Sometimes people need to look at situations from another persons point of view, for example the children. Those same children face racism in their everyday lives too, on so many levels.
I also know from my own personal experiences, that when you face racism early and often, you start to become numb to it, and it really doesn't affect you as much! The best analogy I can use is, it's like getting punched in the face. The first time you get punched in the face, you don't know how to feel. It's surprising, it can hurt both physically, and mentally, or you might not feel any of these things. But, if you keep getting punched in your face, it starts to be less surprising, doesn't hurt as much, and life goes on.
Also, some people don't know how to speak about that type of situation. Not everyone is a social activist, and it's really not their responsibility anyway. Hey coach, just because the black high school kids were not the first kids to text you, it doesn't mean they don't have your back! All it means is they were not the first people to text you!
After reviewing the security tapes from the school, it was found the writing on Mr. Sparks vehicle, didn't even happen on school property. It's horrible that it happened, but also, it's good that it didn't happen on school property!
They say, it takes something to happen for people to learn, and this situation definitely qualifies as something. After going through this situation Mr. Sparks now sees there is more he can do for his community. That can never be a bad thing. Let's empower our youth, and use this as a teaching tool.
Here is what I took from the story...
One racist action, can affect more people than the person it was intended to hurt! Look how many people have a part in this situation. Coach Lance Sparks, the Dartmouth High School basketball team, Dartmouth High School, the police, and even more people than that.
But the situation serves as a great segway to speak about racism in a constructive way. Lance Sparks had his eyes opened in a real way, and with the opportunity he has to engage with the youth through the Dartmouth High School, he has a chance to make a real difference.
So hopefully, this negative situation, can be used to create a positive conversation on how to deal with racism, especially for the kids sake!