Why Canada Should Give Asylum to Black Americans

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I read this story recently about Kyle Lydell Canty, which only gave the idea of this post more ammunition. He is a US citizen who resided in a Vancouver homeless shelter. He went through the process of claiming refuge from police brutality. He personally prepared and presented his case on October 23rd. He cited the UN who condemned the States in 2014 on the issue of police brutality. Naturally he gave his own examples and experiences during police interactions and he also talked about well-known cases like Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The IRB (Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada) have already made a decision and denied Kyle’s claim and he is now back in the US. This was a mistake on IRB and shows attitudes towards the issue of police brutality.

The IRB shouldn’t have dismissed his case, they should have made his application as serious as the Syrian crisis. Canadian government is planning on bringing over 50,000 Syrians by the end of 2016 with most of the public’s approval.  News outlets are bombarded with ISIS terror, their acts of beheading, kidnapping and murder. The media showcases stories that come with these images on a daily basis. This helps keep the public fearful while building public support for humanitarian causes and military intervention. The truth is, narratives of Nigeria with Boko Haram and Somalia with Al Shabaab are not given the same amount of attention for obvious reasons.

Now whenever major news outlets cover police brutality, they always humanize officer Jake and vilify the Black victim. This conveys Black victims deserved unjust punishment no matter the circumstances of the situation. Conditioning like this is so deep that people properly conditioned can even look at Tamir Rice as disposable.  Media is a big factor in making people develop a normalcy attitude towards Black people suffering, around the world. The lack of empathy shows a deeper problem with society and their relationship with the media, psychologically.

The IRB shouldn’t have thought of this case as isolated. IRB had a chance to set precedent for future Black Americans coming to Canada for safety but failed completely. If the IRB accepted his claim, we would have had a steady stream of Black Americans looking for a alternative to the systematic American life. Police brutality continues, so this has potential for a mass exodus. The fact that Kyle Lydell was seeking refuge from a “1st world” country should say something about the tenacity of whats going on in the States. IRB decided not to face facts and acknowledge the United States system is volatile for Black and Native people. This is an example of how little the UN’s weight is compares to the States.

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It’s funny how IRB completely ignored Canada’s history giving refuge to Black Americans. This solution makes sense when you stop to think about the history of Canada in relation to race struggle. This was one of the final destinations connected through safe passages part of a journey called the Underground Railroad. This was one of the many acts of rebellion that challenged racial superiority. Harriet Tubman freed over 300 slaves at a time Canada was more progressive in terms of human rights. Other heroes who should be remembered are Mary Ann Shadd, Josiah Henson and Jermain Loguen, who helped slaves arrive here and start new lives. They contributed to the community and helped build them stronger.

This scenario of a new life in Canada wasn’t perfect and wasn’t smooth, they faced discrimination and road blocks finding work just because of the color of their skin. That didn’t slow them down to make themselves better and make their communities better. They also welcomed incoming Black people as they came to Canada for the first time. Canada still shows a certain degree of progression or else Kyle Lydell would have never thought of coming and staying here.  Situations like Africville and the resurgence of KKK that sprouted in Ontario are a reminder that racism is worldwide for Blacks. Certain parts of history have ways of reincarnating itself, both good and ugly. The advantages of watching history repeat itself is learning from mistakes and advancing towards a better future in the technology age.

If it ever came down to a crisis, all Black refugees coming from the States should be given automatic acceptance. That acceptance should come with proper temporary housing plus a work permit so they can start looking for their own income. With the power of social media, it’s plain to see how often Black Americans are being terrorized by police. Life expectancy is cut down because of police interactions as well as quality of health, mentally and physically. In 2015 alone, 102 unarmed black people were killed by police.

What we should also take into account are the assaults officers administer outside of using a gun or taser. The results would show the same trend of Black people receiving the worst treatment. The rate of safety between Back people and police is undeniable, half of Black millennials in the States know  a victim of police brutality. It’s not just looking at recent numbers, look at rough estimates for KKK lynching era which is about 3500. Not including other means of murder that was committed, or even the terror people had to endure if they weren’t killed right away. KKK members, family members, and sympathizers have gone on to infiltrate law enforcement and courts.

The justice system should have been another part of Kyle’s claim. The number of officers who are set free or either have charges dropped after a shooting is yet another indicator that the justice system is not fully served for Black people. Only 9 charges have been laid in the 102 cases of unarmed black people killed by police. A lot of white conservatives wonder why there is no outrage when white people are shot by police, the answer is clear. Justice will be served, so there is no need to march for justice or protest a corrupt police state most of the time for whites. They allow the law to bring justice because they actually believe it will work. Special cases like Zachery Hammond, police sympathizers ignore it completely because if they have to acknowledge cruelty can come from police, then they have to admit that police are at least 3 times more cruel to Black people.

Something awoke inside Kyle that motivated him to start a new life in Canada. It’s very inspiring to see Black consciousness waking up in different forms and trying to do something to better themselves and people around them. This won’t be the only solution and definitely won’t be the last to America’s race problem.  Kyle should have received refugee status and the panel’s decision shows how much denial is still going on about race relations. You have the narrative of the Underground Railroad being part of Canadian history yet the miscarriages of justice being ignored today.

Mary Shadd

Mary Ann Shadd

Peace and Blessings to All.

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