No, Twitter. I won't delete my anti-racist stance.
I woke up this morning to an interesting email.
Frances, @onaagoshinanang on twitter, is someone I have never met but do admire.
She's a MASSIVE asset to the London Ontario community; as a volunteer, an employee, a civic leader, a voice for marginalized individuals, and as a mom. I've learned a ton by following her; about indigenous culture and persons, and also what it takes to try to be an ally and an anti-racist and a generally good person in 2020.
Back in late May, it popped up in my timeline that she was being harassed by someone in the comments under a CP24 post.
Frances politely pointed out to the person that the term "savage" is offensive to indigenous people, and asked them to please consider using a different term to get their point across.
The person's response was essentially "okay savage, whatever you say". I looked at their profile and they were very white, very bro, and very privileged. Their most recent tweets before going full blown racist were complaining to the TTC about the air conditioning level on Subway cars.
He wrote something dumb back and blocked me right away. I moved on with my life.
Seven weeks later, my account is randomly locked overnight and the only way I can unlock it is to delete the above tweet.
Sorry, Twitter. Not doing it.
It's 2020. The leader of the free world is a huge racist. Black people are literally fighting for their lives. Your website is chock full of anti-black, anti-indigenous, anti-PoC rhetoric beginning in the most important office in the free world and working down from there. You facilitate a cesspool of hate and bullshit and are too busy worrying about dividends and share prices to come up with a cogent and comprehensive way to enforce your own rules and policies with any modicum of timeliness or consistency.
And you want me to relinquish my stance that I took against anti-indigenous racism by retracting my position via clicking the delete button myself?
Not going to happen.
I've been on your platform for over seven years now. I've encountered some brilliant, insightful, kind hearted, amazing people and learnt a ton in the process. I've listened, reflected, amplified, and grown as a person because of those I've interacted with.
But, you've tracked, collected, and sold my data the entire way. You've also let some colossal turds spew hate and filth at every turn. I have a severe generalized anxiety disorder, and some of the harassment I've received on your platform has been very triggering. But I'm a big boy and can handle it. Can't keep this dog out of the fight.
When I see it, I say something. Offline or online.
When I was ten, I witnessed a fellow student in my class mocking my Korean friend Jongwook by following him around on the playground singing "Ching Chong Chinaman" over and over again while making his eyes into slants.
I told him to stop. He laughed at me. I picked him up and slammed him into a mud puddle. He stopped. And cried. And told the playground supervisor. I was sent to the office, and told to apologize. I refused.
The principal called my dad to come pick me up. My dad was a police officer and worked three cities away (totally normal in Lower Mainland, BC). He let the principal know that as a single father he wouldn't be leaving work and driving an hour and a half to bring me home for this, and that he was an effing moron for even suggesting it. Instead I sat in the office for the rest of the day and read a book, zero tolerance policies for violence and all. When my dad got home that night, he let me know that I would NEVER be punished for defending someone against targeted abuse. I had the green light to defend others from harassment and harm whenever I needed it, and he was proud of me for knowing that what was happening was wrong and doing something about it. He personally pledged to me that I would never face any consequences or repercussions from him for using my confidence, strength, and stature to defend others. And he meant it. He died in 2016, but I've carried that lesson my whole life and will pass it along to my children as well.
Moving on from there, I kept growing. Both in stature and in confidence. I eventually worked in jobs where I was the first line of defence against evil on behalf of good. I saw opportunistic bullies, womanizers, monsters, and racists try to use their drunkenness or someone else's drunkenness as excuse or reason to exercise their power or will over weaker individuals in some really gross ways. And I always stepped up and went down swinging on behalf of those who needed and deserved. it. And that will never stop. Because it's the right thing to do. So, Twitter. You're a multi billion dollar corporation, full of high priced lawyers and executives. Not just a single father trying to get by. You should get this even more than my dad did almost 30 years ago.
What side of this anti-racism movement do you want to be on? The one where we uphold protected grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act? Or the one where you follow suit of my school principal in 1993 and try to punish me for standing up against racism?
I'm not deleting my tweet and retracting my position and compromising my morals and the fabric of my character just to continue to allow you to profit off of my personal information and the data I generate that you track and sell.
If you delete my tweet, there's nothing I can do about it. It's your website. But if you think I'm deleting it in order to continue to participate on your platform, then I'd suggest not holding your breath. It's not going to happen.
Try to be more of the solution, and less of the problem.