Monday, January 18, 2010

For us to live the dream, Malcolm X-rated must die.


Last night I did my first web show for Raging Stallion's MEN Live website. I was a last minute replacement, for my friend Tony Aziz, who was ill. It was only coincidental that it happened to fall on Martin Luther King weekend. One of the people online asked if or how, I celebrated MLK. Which I was pretty much at a loss to express. Although I'm very familiar with Martin Luther King Jr.'s history, and his impact on America..... celebrating his birthday is a whole new thing for me as a Canadian transplant. So, perhaps a blog post about race.... is the best way to honor him.

Some may believe that Canada is this fairy-tale world, where racism does not exist, or that black people as a whole have an easy road. Let me set the record straight. My parents immigrated to Canada from Jamaica, shortly after MLK's assassination. At that time in Toronto, there was a large influx of immigrants from around the world, as the Canadian government tried to increase it's population, so that the country could grow in both national production and economy. Different from America's policy of making a 'melting-pot' and diluting ones culture, Canada set a standard for letting immigrants celebrate their culture as much as possible, with the hopes of making the country more multi-cultural. However, Canadians... as anybody afraid of change.... resisted. My parents could hardly find anywhere to live, except for the slummiest parts of downtown Toronto. Were taunted mercilessly at the unsafe factory jobs they had to take... and endured the physical pains and humiliation for a dream that they had for their children. Myself growing up, experienced a little lesser amount of racism, but still had to work twice as hard on grades.... so that my teachers wouldn't proclaim to be a special needs child, and segregate me with all the other colored children in remedial classrooms. As my peers grew older, the institutional segregation wasn't necessary anymore. We peeled off from hanging out with others that were not in our own racial click, and were taunted by our own community if we chose otherwise. I was definitely one of the taunted.

Perhaps it was because I read so much growing up, and lacked an ability to be athletic as a child, that I found it strange to associate with those that didn't really like me.... only because of the basis of my skin color. I found those that wished to call me an 'Uncle Tom' for hanging out with white people, completely strange. Especially since I had read Uncle Tom's Cabin, and if you actually read the book... Uncle Tom was the biggest symbol of personal sacrifice to save others. What I came to understand at a young age, is that racial segregation does nothing to move a society or a country forward. It's not lost on me that the porn industry has it's own version of segregation too. Whether from the studios that choose to rarely, if at all hire models of color, or the bloggers who might disparage models for working with them. I refuse to be a Malcom X-rated model that shows anger and frustration over being passed up frequently over being cast, by directors that never notice that they not only don't have any colored models; but no colored crew members either. Nothing is gained if we stay in our opposite color corners, and never try to meet or understand the other side. Nothing is gained if we don't try to understand those in our own culture, who can embrace all people, and not stay glued to the community in which we feel safer. Nothing is gained if we don't take a chance, on living an inter-racial dream. And In my humble opinion.... that's a hot future.

6 comments:

  1. EXCELLENT post, my old friend...

    You're absolutely right; as Canadian children, we're taught about prominent European and American (some Canadian) figures--but only the "safe" ones.

    It wasn't until I was into my twenties when I started to learn about this amazing man.

    From adversity comes strength.

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  3. You say that you "refuse to be a Malcom X-rated model that shows anger and frustration over being passed up frequently over being cast, by directors that never notice that they not only don't have any colored models; but no colored crew members either.".... My question to you is this: do you ignore those facts? How do you deal with that inequality of the situation. Surely those sobering facts don't make you happy. I find it strange when some minorities take pride in not becoming upset with the status quo. Sure it will make the White folks like you more (when you ignore reality), but it doesn't change the situation for the better. As one of the chosen few Blacks in the industry, what do you do to improve conditions for other ebony studs who desire to get where you are?

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  4. Peter: Surely you can see by the fact that I write that statement, means I'm not ignoring it. However, showing anger and frustration over it does nothing, and it hasn't succeeded in changing the status quo. The only real solution is to create websites and production studios that incorporate diverse talent both in front and behind the camera. Other studios always pay attention when a piece of their money pie is taken away.

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  5. One of the most amazing things I've learned is arguably one of the most obvious and simple things.
    You can't control other people, neither in thoughts or in behaviour.
    There is no good in getting angry with segregationists, because I won't convince them, any more than they will convince me that I'm wrong. All I can do is voice my opinion, and let them act accordingly.

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