I’ve never really understood the group’s presence in Toronto. Racism is a broader problem than black vs white because Canada’s a more diverse place. My big question has been: why do black lives apparently matter more than Pakistani lives, or Arab lives, or Chinese lives or LGBTQ lives?
The last one was at centre stage on the weekend. Pride Parade organizers invited Black Lives Matter to take a position at the head of the parade. And they used it to make a political point in stopping the parade for 25 minutes and issuing demands which included dis-inviting police from taking part in future events. The organizers agreed if only to get the event moving.
It was bad form on the part of Black Lives Matter. They were invited to take a place of privilege in the parade, and they used it to steal attention for themselves. It was selfish, and it took away from whatever points they were trying to make. They were like the dinner guest that brings their own food and eats it at the table.
Pride has evolved from a political movement into a celebration of what it means to be yourself. We should be talking about how proud we are that our leaders are recognizing it. A Prime Minister, Premier, Mayor, and leaders of the opposition were all at a single parade. We should be patting ourselves on the back that another party has gone by without incident. Instead we’re talking about Black Lives Matter. We should be revelling in the fact we live in a country that allows a Pride parade.
Our institutions should be reflecting modern Canada. Police should be allowed to participate in parades like this in order to promote themselves as part of the community.
They need to do it for themselves too. Police work in general has a more macho image. It’s important for them to demonstrate this isn’t the case anymore. Police forces are more open, and accepting. They need to be able to show their own officers who might be part of the LGBTQ community that it’s okay and begin to put in place support systems.
The beauty of pride is its inclusiveness, and a certain stubbornness to stand up for your beliefs. Giving into demands flies in the face of this.