ROAD to EQUALITY podcast

Episode 8 with Zolile Mehlomakulu (Video, Audio & Transcript)

May 24, 2021





ZOLILE:

Hi everybody… My name is Zolile Mehlomakulu… That is a South African background, South African heritage name. It actually originates in the Xhosa tribe. My father is from South Africa, my mother is from Markham, Ontario, but she has roots in German and British descent. So I’m giving a little bit more description today about… Not only social justice… In the world today and my opinions on that, but also my reflections on what has happened specifically to me with social justice and, you know, race treatment over the years…

So let me… I guess I’ll give you a little bit of a background history to begin with… You know, I grew up in a very… Progressive but also conservative small town… Kingston, Ontario, great little city… There was a lot of tensions surrounding… Different races and different categories of people at the time… What do I mean by that? There were almost indirect areas of segregation. There were Black neighbourhoods, upper-class White neighbourhoods, and this was in the ’90s, so there was a pretty significant divide.

And to talk a little bit more about where I grew up specifically… My parents were hard-working physicians… And they were one of the first families to move into an upper-class neighbourhood in the early ’90s, and let alone, that was its first area of friction, I would say. You know, looking back now as a grown adult, I was ambivalent or unaware at the time, but we were definitely treated a little differently compared to the other kids, the other parents, and the other social events that were in the neighbourhood. It was mostly working professionals at the time, and we were really… I was a really open child. I was raised to treat everyone equally, no person is better than the next, so to speak. And I really found that my brothers who were also, you know, visibly… Minority or had visible, I guess you could say African features, they also had been raised the same way. And growing up in that neighbourhood, yes, we had, you know, certain privileges, certain understandings… And opportunities, you know… Maybe we went to a private summer camp, maybe my… Like, my oldest brother went to boarding school and we went on vacations, and we, you know… What would be considered the upper-class lifestyle at the time, and little did I know, but we were also a little bit alienated too, like I mentioned earlier…

How did that happen? Basically, when my father… A Black man… Moved into that neighbourhood, there were immediate protests, like, verbal protests from the community organization, the Neighbourhood Watch… “How could we have a man who is of colour living in our neighbourhood?” This is in Kingston, Ontario in the ’70s, late ‘70s… Yeah, late ‘70s… “How could we have such a thing?” And obviously, you know, I wasn’t around at the time, but the amount of… Disgust was remarkable.

I could not believe hearing those stories as an adult. I was so naïve as a child with that, and growing up, you know, I started to witness or notice a little bit of discrete racism, but it wasn’t totally in up-front. And what do I mean by discrete, is, you know, maybe because I have a unique name for this area of the world… Not unique now, you know, Canada and Toronto is very diverse… But I was… Whenever somebody, you know, mentioned my name… Zolile… It would be like, “Oh, well, you know, Well what kind of name is that?” It was almost like, “Ha ha, that’s a ridiculous name.” And I’m like, I am not the one… My response was always “I’m not the one who was the person who chose what my name would be. This is given to me as a gift by my parents.” And I grew up with, you know, Matthews and Erics and Dans, you know, very Anglo-Saxon, Western Europeanized names. And here we are, you know, as this South African family in this upper-class neighbourhood with two parents who are working professionals.

We were very rarely invited to any social parties… A, Mostly because I thought at the time, it was like, oh, well maybe they just… Maybe the house is full. Maybe they’ve invited as many people as they can… But I quickly learned, it was like, well, they have a foreign last name, and a foreign first name, automatically our human nature will tell us, OK… We arrive at certain conclusions… Can they speak English? Do they speak English fluently? Do they understand Westernized culture?

And this was still in the ’90s, and I was really naïve, as I said earlier. But I started to really pick up on how those discrete pieces of racism were shown by not only my neighbours… Some friends, family members were great. But I also remember, you know, I had family visit from South Africa for the first time, first time meeting them… I think I was maybe six years old, seven years old… And I had been raised, as I said earlier, not to see colour. I see a person by their character, who they are, what they’re all about, what type of values they live by, and a small little story… It’s a little bit on the intense side, but I’ll try to keep everything composed, is… Our next-door neighbours… We lived in a cul-de-sac, and our next-door neighbours… There were three large houses, two White families on either side or across, and… They saw, you know, this huge… There were about… Maybe about eight or nine of my family members from South Africa that came to visit… Uncles, aunts, cousins… And they saw this huge van and a Black family pull up, and little did I realize at the time, I was… As I said, I was about six, seven? They called the police. They called the police…

It was Christmastime. My family from South Africa, the first time… This… Keep in mind, as a six-year-old, seven-year-old child, this is the first time being exposed and introduced to your ancestors, your family, the people that your father has talked about your whole life and is a part of your heritage and nationality… Your next-door neighbours call the police because they have certain opinions and connotations about people of colour.

The first time introduced to them that night, they arrived from the airport, and a police cruiser showed up and they’re like, “Oh, is everything OK here? We heard such and such and such.” The officers, from what I remember… Many years ago now by this point, I’m jogging down memory lane, but… From what I remember, the officers were really, really professional. It was Christmas season, really friendly…

As I said, my oldest brother who’s 10 years my senior, I could tell something was a little off… It’s such a vivid memory, like, I’m able to recall this… He seemed a little off in the situation because I think that at his age… So if I was 6, he would have been 16, 17… He knew something was going on, something was happening. And how did we come to realize that it was our next-door neighbour… They actually approached us the following few days after… “Hey, we saw some people going into your house. We called the police just in case.” Like, oh… And it’s like… Now as an adult and how far we’ve come as a society in Ontario and Canada… Now as an adult, I’d be like, what gives you the right? And yes, I’ve known these people my whole life, but what gives you the right to call an authority figure based on the way that somebody looks? Like, you can ask a group of 1,000 people, they would still question that today, you know?

Granted, that was in the early ’90s, and… Opinions and what we saw on TV and in movies was that, you know, people of colour, no matter what their professions, were dangerous. It’s plain and simple. They were dangerous, threatening, they might have guns, they might be robbing…

Our neighbourhood is very far away from the main city of Kingston… Maybe about 20, 25-minute drive… Very secluded, very safe, never, never whispers or stories of break-ins or, you know, armed robber, whatever, arson? Never. Nothing… So all of a sudden, now you feel unsafe? Like… And then, you know, maybe I’m reflecting on it in the moment right now because things are a little heated as a sensitive subject is… You know, what could have happened to you? As that next-door neighbour, how could you have been threatened in that moment? What is that? Were they going to rob you? Were they going to speak poorly of you? Like, were they going to break into your car that’s safely parked in your garage? Like, I’m just wondering, what is the calculation in your mind to immediately hop to an authority figure? You didn’t call us. You didn’t knock on our door. You immediately jumped to, like, the Mount Everest of conclusions and took action on that. So that’s kind of the… The background, the story… And that’s, you know, where I’m coming from…

I grew up my whole life in Kingston… The city has definitely evolved from a professional standpoint, from an economic standpoint… Social classes… There are many diverse populations there now who all have equal opportunity… But I just recall, you know, bits and pieces as I was growing up that I should have really addressed. Maybe it might have been with friends or family members, employers that I should have brought up. And, you know, kind of what does that mean about what things that I should have brought up…

So I’m going to go back into the employment side… So my first job was in Kingston, you know, homegrown, and I was a lifeguard. I was a lifeguard, and at the time it was… Well, at least that location was a female-dominated position, which is totally fine, which is great… But again, little did I know, but some of the female, White… I worked with an all-White staff… Really friendly people… I worked with an all-White staff, and little did I know, but one of them actually, whenever we were paired on shift, because there would be two staff members, if I remember correctly, that open, and then two staff members that close, and then kind of people come in sprinkled up throughout the day. So you know, her and I were… One time we were paired closing, and again, like, it is beyond me because, like, you know me, you’ve met me, you know my family, you know my history, and you know where I go to school… She felt threatened that a tall Black man was on shift with her… And closing, that she felt threatened based on what she had perceived through maybe media, or maybe… I don’t know… Maybe her family told her, whatever, that she would maybe… I don’t know, maybe be assaulted, sexually assaulted… Theft, I don’t know.

So that was our first shift, and a manager had approached me after and said, like, “Was everything okay with,” you know, such and such… And I was like, “Yeah, we just did our jobs.” Like, I’m a very type of person where open-and-shut case at work, and I compartmentalize that at work, and then I’m an entirely different person outside of that realm. And I was just… At the time I was maybe 17, 18, which is when I started to pick up on, you know, these discrete, racist cues… And I was just blown away. I was like, what? Why and how could I do such a thing? Like, I’m here to work and make sure that our customers have the best possible experience…

So I kept on at the position and I enjoyed it, and everyone else enjoyed it, but we… That was just, like, a little area of friction between her and I, and that was really the first time that I had been exposed in a workplace… I’d seen it on TV, but that was the first time I had been exposed in a workplace to direct racism and stereotype.

So circling back to the storyline of where and how I grew up, and what… You know… Racial inequalities and treatments that I experienced… History lesson… History lesson, that’s where we were, is kind of trickling into high school era now… Thankfully my brother went to high school with me, so we had a lot of topics to relate on… We grew up in a not only academic family, but we also grew up in an athletic family… Dad played sports, brothers, all boys… So the first sport that… I was drawn to… I’ll talk sports first and then kind of dig into the actual social cliques of life in high school… The sport that attracted me most was actually basketball, but the sport that I was the best at was volleyball, and, you know, sports at a teenage age is, you know, very impactful. You know, you learn leadership skills, team building, unity and working for one common goal, so to speak. But how this kind of intertwines with racial or discrete racial treatment and stereotypes… Stereotypes is really the factor… Is… Oftentimes, you know, in games, I was one of the better players… Not so good now, but one of the better players. And the other teams I remember would sometimes… “Hey, like, shouldn’t you be on the basketball court? You’re a Black guy… Shouldn’t you be playing football?” You know… And I’m like, “I like what I like.” Like, “This is my sport.” And that’s what I would say. By this point, I’m 16, 17. I had a voice, I had a spine, I had a backbone, and I would speak up about these things…

So that’s kind of the sports side… My teammates, you know, had my back… They were all very inclusive… We were a team building… And some of the best, you know, sports memories that I’ve ever had, actually. And I did always sometimes notice, you know, some confusion that people had about, you know, what’s this guy who looks, you know, visibly light-skinned or Black? What is he doing playing volleyball, or, like, a White-dominant sport at the time. So that’s kind of the sports side.

Digging into, like… The social cliques… My high school was, you know, very progressive, very forward-thinking. A lot of the friends and family who attended my high school… Were the offspring or the sons and daughters of university professors, and they all preached the same thing, you know, inclusivity, being forward-thinking, and… I was one to always fit into most groups… But still, I had some, you know, whispers and places where… People would be like, “Oh, what? What is your name? Zo-lee-lee-lay? Zo-zo-la-la-la? Oh, I’ll just call you ‘Zee.’” It’s like, no. I’m specifically learning your name. You are also going to respect mine and learn mine… And you know, people would throw off all kinds of nicknames… Zee, Zo, Big Zo, Big Zee… It’s like, no. My name is Zolile, OK? Your name is Josh, your name is Samantha, your name is, right?

And there was always a common running joke that I remember from junior year all the way to senior year, that it’s like, “Oh, you Black guys need to stick together,” at our high school, which in total, I can remember there were probably… On the count of my hands, I could count six to eight through my entire career, high school career… Six to eight, you know, Black students, and… We all faced the same things. All really likable, all really great people… But we all faced the same things. Like, oh, you know, when is… “When are you going to basketball practice? When are you going to participate in sports?” And it’s like, no. Like, I’m here also to… You know, build up friendships and relationships with other people. Still invited to, you know, parties and birthdays and events like that, which was great.

Now one particular… Incident… It was an incident… Stood out to me where there was, you know, blatant, clear… Well I should have, looking back, fully reported this teacher, fully… And at the stage where life was and society was… You could say yes, he would either be completely suspended or fired.

So I took a law class, and… You know, law, it covered the entire spectrum… Social class, finances, things like that… We’re going to take a look… We’ve got a little sound situation here, but… It seems to be OK.

So anyway, a teacher stood out to me that singled me out. Thankfully I was, you know, that “aww-geez-shucks-aww-gee-golly-whiz” kind of guy, and I played it off. But I was really into sports, and I would wear, you know, sports jerseys to school… Most of the kids or most of the students, you know, a little bit more preppy, collared shirts, dress shirts sometimes… No uniforms. But I would sometimes wear, you know, basketball jerseys… Really loved basketball… It was a clean look, and… In this law class, he was speaking about crime and crime rates, and who was incarcerated the most, and who was this, and who was that…

So a story came up about… Crime rates, and, you know, what races were incarcerated the most. So he had me… I was in a jersey that day… I’ll never forget. He had me stand up and say, like… I will never forget the words… “Look at him, class,” in grade 11, class of 30, 40 students? “Look at him. Wouldn’t you arrest somebody who looks like that?” That was the total of it all. Wouldn’t you as a teacher, an educated, working professional… As a 16, 17-year-old kid who’s very impressionable at that age… “Wouldn’t you arrest somebody who looks like that?”

And yes, maybe, you know, I might have had, like, a flashy watch, a basketball jersey, maybe sweatpants or dress pants which was, like, the mainstream of what, you know, hip-hop and… Rap artists looked like at the time, and… I kind of just, you know, I did, like, “Oh yeah, you know,” that’s… That’s how… “This is who I am. This is what I preach. This is how I live.” But looking back, after that class, either I should have… A, immediately been like, “Excuse me?” Like, “What do you mean by that?” And completely called him out in the situation, or as soon as the class ended, been like… Pulled over my professor… I remember his name, Mr. Davies… “Mr. Davies, what did you mean by that comment earlier? What were you trying to convey?” Like, “How is that academic-related?” I should have done that. That would have been B, or C, gone straight to the principal being like, “Excuse me, this is what happened today. I feel this way, I feel that way about the whole situation.”

So that was, like, really my first exposure. A lot of kids who are, you know, Black, Hispanic, Asian, they have that first… Aha moment, they have that first needle or a knife in the side… And I would say to me, that was my first real time on my own. My parents were not there. My brother is not there to… You know, defend… My friends are not there. That was my first, like… I’m completely vulnerable and I cannot control how I look… Like, this is who I am as a person. This is how I express myself. So that was my first real-time situation… Obviously I can’t do much about that now. I don’t even know if he’s still practicing teaching at the high-school level, but… That was my real vulnerable moment…

But altogether, the high school… Experience was very, you know, eye-opening from socially… Really all-inclusive mo… For the most part, with the majority of people who I grew up with, I’m still in touch, in contact with those people today. Obviously that sends a message on how much I value and how… How much those people value me, which is amazing to see, and amazing to feel at this time. So that’s kind of the high school era…

Moving on from high school, you know, I… Sports were a big part of my identity, but they weren’t my entire identity… What was my identity at the time was, really I took a piece of what my parents did as physicians and helping other people, and I saw how satisfied those people were with being helped by a physician… “Oh doctor,” you know, “you saved my daughter’s life, you treated my son, you did this…” So I decided, you know, I’m going to try to emulate that and do the same… And I applied for a physical education position or application at university. I actually got accepted to Brock University in St. Catharines. That was late 2000s… Yep, 20… 2009, 2010…

So I began my journey as a post-secondary student, and… If you know the history of St. Catharines, it is also a highly Anglo-Saxon Christian… My terminology is “whitewash.” But immediately, the people that I’ve roomed with, my roommates… They welcomed me in. We were all from small little towns… “Hey, my town’s smaller than yours,” “Hey, no, my town’s smaller than this,” and we made a really great laugh of it… And it’s in its entirety… And they actually defended me a lot of situations.

So one that stood out to me mostly… Well first of all, actually, I’ll discuss, you know, kind of the demographic… St. Catharines is kind of like the epicentre of Southern Ontario, and you have… Students from all across Southern Ontario region, Niagara Falls, Chatham-Kent, even as far as Sarnia, Windsor… That all kind of convene at Brock, and these are mostly, you know, farm kids, or kids who grew up in small town… So I’d say, like, the demographic was majority White… But there were, you know, foreign exchange students… International students… So there was diversity there, which is great to see.

But, you know, one particular incident stood out to me… I was in my early 20s… And I loved, you know, a little bit of a romp, a little bit of a… Bar scene…I wasn’t a bar star, bar scene… And we were in line one night at a nearby pub, super cheap drinks. My buddies are there… This is, like, second year or third year, actually, and… I was a little bit taller than most people in the… In line, so you know, I stood out and a couple of other people stood out too. And I was actually… Knowing that I was going to be, let’s say “loading the tank” that night, so I decided, OK, let me get my Gatorade and electrolytes in now… Another vivid memory that I can recall as early and as fresh as it happened yesterday…

So I was sipping on my Gatorade in line, totally legal, OK? And it was common practice for the students to mix their drinks in line, slam their drinks so they do not have to expend or spend more money in the bar… So I can understand why the security and police did so…

So this was one of the hot spots of St. Catharines, and we’re there, we’re there pretty early. I’m sipping my Gatorade, getting my electrolytes in, hydrating… You know, all that good stuff. I’m laughing with my buddies, “Oh, how many girls are you going to talk to tonight?” “Oh, how many girls?” You know, having a laugh, and… I feel, like, this, you know, little… It wasn’t even a tap… I still remember, Like I said… It wasn’t even like a tap. It was like somebody nudged me… Like, they pushed me, and I kind of, like… I look over, I’m like, OK, and I just go back to laughing with my buddies… And it was a security guard, and not like, “Hey man,” you know… “What’s up? How’s your night? How’s this?” Immediately, “What’s in the drink?” This, like, authoritative combative guy, smaller than me… Maybe… You know, it was couple of years ago, but maybe… Maybe here? And… “Hey, hey buddy, what’s in the drink?” And I’m like, “It’s my Gatorade.” And I kind of do one of these to just show him, and, like, if you want to hold it, like, I’m not going to try to hide it from you. And he’s like… “Is there booze in that? Got drinks in there? What are you trying to do tonight?” And immediately, like, I had already had predrinks before, so yes, there was maybe a little bit of alcohol aggression, and… My buddies are still laughing, they haven’t really clued in to what’s going on over here on this side. I’m still kind of, you know, I’m not even facing him. I’m just like, whatever man, you’re, like, you’re trying to obviously get a rise out of me. You’re trying to fire me up.

So he kind of buggers off, I go back to laughing with my buddies and I’m still sipping my drink. And then… I feel, like, another nudge. Not even like a… Like, “Oh hey,” or come and approach me and speak to me respectfully, face to face… I feel, like, another nudge, and it’s a police officer. So the guy who was the security did not trust in my word. And I was the only one, the only one he was talking to in that line, because the… Like, security will go up and down the line, make sure, you know, people aren’t throwing up or sneaking stuff in, whatever. And I was the only one he was talking to, and I was the only person of colour in that line at the time… And I get another nudge, and it’s a police officer. The security guard had thought that I was doing illegal activity in the line by sipping a drink… Sipping a drink, so much so to call over the police who are supposed to watch for people’s health, they’re supposed to focus on people’s safety, not what some kid who’s 21 who’s having a drink in his hand… Baffling to me.

And it was baffling to me at that time because I had the conscious thought… I had seen what was going on in the news. I had seen what was going on in the States, incredible… And my buddies now by this point had turned in because they saw two cops. They were like, “Whoa man, what’s going on?” And I’m like, “I’m just having a little drink.” Like, “Can I help you guys?” Like, “What do you need?” And these guys are White, male, middle-aged, 35, maybe 40, officers, OK? Think, like, 2011, 2012… This is all before any kind of major, you know, George Floyd protests, any kind of Breonna Taylor protest, what have you… Very light… So he’s like, “Oh, we heard that you might be having some illegal activity here by having this drink.” You are trying to expose me by having a small alcoholic drink? What is going to come of that? What is going to come of that? Like, maybe I might get sick, maybe I might be a little bit too tipsy. It’d be different if I had a knife, a gun, if I was threatening other people, if I was combative.

So these guys… And he’s got his hand on his holster, and I… My buddies now are fully clued in, fully involved, and they’re like, “No sir,” like, “we’re just here, we’re having a good time, we’re relaxing,” you know. “It’s this guy’s birthday, that guy’s birthday…” And he’s got his hand on… Because he had seen and may have been told by his superiors, I can only imagine, that tall, athletic Black men are dangerous in St. Catharines… I’m a student having a good time after a stressful week of studying with my buddies who I like, who like me, who might go in and try to dance with some girls. That was it. And now I’m being interrogated by two officers holding their pistols up front, right in front of me, and I’m slightly buzzed… Like, what?

And so what he does… I’m just like, “Yes sir, no sir…” I just take the drink… Because what I had been now raised to do, and after watching, you know, a couple of things on TV, is immediately de-escalate… I take the drink, I just put it down on the ground. “There. Hey guys, it’s gone. Is that cool? Is that good?” And I’ve got my hands, like, I’m not trying to do anything… I was like, “Hey, is that good?” And they’re still in my space, and… I just remember, like, the one officer, he may have been… He might have had, like, what is it called… Napoleon complex… He, like, bumps me with his chest… Gives me, like, one of these… Like, bumps me with his chest, “Yeah, hey, don’t ever try to do that again.” I’m like, “What?”

So the entire night now of going out and spending time in the club, that is completely written off. I am centred and bull’s-eyed on this man. My friends are now centred and bull’s-eyed on this man… “Hey,” my buddies are like, “you can’t do that, you can’t say that,” like, this isn’t… “We’re not trying to do anything, you have no…” You have no… What is the word? Purpose or intent on any threatening things that we’ve done… Like, in my mind, immediately I go into there… I’m telling him to his face, I’m like, “There could be people here who are carrying weapons, there could be people here who are sick, who,” like, “you are supposed to defend.” And I’m just going in on this guy, because you don’t touch me. Do not touch me. You have no intent. I have not exposed anything to you. But because he saw that a tall, athletic Black man could potentially be a threat, to whom? To whom at that time, realistically? Twenty-one-year-old kid at a nightclub… Like, what?

So you know, my buddies were like, “OK, we’re out, let’s get out of here,” and regrettably… Maybe not regrettably, no, maybe not… You know, my fire was already lit. I was fuming. I was like… Because you know, I had friends who had gone through the same thing, and I’m like, “You can’t do this to me, you can’t say that,” like, this, this, and this, “what’s your badge number?” I’m trying to take… Like, this is just before… Smartphones, so I’m trying to take a video of or a photo of his face and his badge number. I’m like, “You give me your badge number, you give me this, you give me that,” and he’s just bumping me with his chest, he’s like, “You get out of here,” like, “you better go home,” and my roommates and my buddies are all the way on the other side of the parking lot now, and they’re like… “Zo!” like, “Let’s get out of here, let’s go. We need you to go now, right now, let’s get out of here.” We haven’t even gone into the club.

And by this point, like, 30 people are just in on the situation. And now I can understand from the officer’s perspective, he has to act. Otherwise, it looks like law enforcement is weak. But that’s not the purpose of law enforcement. Law enforcement is meant to protect, uphold the law, preserve life… And here I am, like I’m this 20-year-old kid, and all of a sudden I’m leaving my house, going to this bar, hoping, you know, I’ll meet a nice, cute little girl and I’ll talk to her… Cute woman, cute woman… And I’ll talk to her, and now I’m basically fleeing the scene of, like, a racial injustice crime? Like, what? All because this guy who has been raised to think that people of colour and athletic, tall guys are dangerous? And I’m like, what? You don’t even know who I am.

So, you know, ultimately I brushed it off by the end of the night. You know, my buddies and I, we went home, we had a fun time, never went back to that bar again, by the way… But you know, kind of reflecting back, I wish I had taken seriously his badge number and his name, because I believe as public citizens, we’re… Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms… If I remember it correctly, we are able to ask and request for that information from law enforcement or any kind of public service person… So I should have gotten his badge, name… His badge and his name and his shift time… Because instantly reported, instantly… All from just sipping a Gatorade… Like, what?

So collectively, university was an eye-opening experience, like I mentioned earlier… I learned a lot of things about how to stand up for myself from a… Authority-challenging perspective… And I also understood too, like, what type of people to look for who have my back based on, you know, actual qualities and characteristics that I bring to a friendship, which is really cool… And I still am in touch with those guys that I was hanging out with and have hung out with. That was… It’s 2021 now. That was in 2010… Like, we’re going a decade strong, which is amazing to see. And we still laugh about that moment, which oddly, actually, one of my buddies, Jordan, he took up law, he’s a lawyer now in criminal law, which is really cool. I’ve always kind of asked him, like, why did you want to get into that field? Is there anything, like, related to what happened for us? I’ve never asked him officially, but… It would be interesting to find out and pick his brain.

So, you know, university was that experience. I would… Granted, I would choose Brock University 10 times over, great academic institution… But, you know, after university, I didn’t really experience anything in the way of… You know, racial stereotyping or injustice… Because by that point, you know, we were in 2014, 2015, and there was a lot of… You know, police brutality that was happening in the States… Namely, you know, Trayvon Martin, which I believe was in Florida in 2015… So, you know, people who may have been a racial-stereotype individual… They kind of, you know, faded back into the shadows.

So now that you guys have gotten a glimpse of my… High school career leading up to my university life… Surrounding racial injustice and stereotyping, not only through friendships, academics… Sports, police and law enforcement… Now we’re going to really cover the bases on what I consider and think about… Of the current situation in not only North America, but globally with racial inequality, racial and social injustice, and what we can look at leading up to the future as how we can really not only remedy the situation, but also educate the general population and those who are in places of authority, and how we can educate those people further. That’s going to be a little bit more of a discussion later on.

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