E. has questions about what is happening in the US right now (and the supporting protests around the world).
He has MANY questions.
I am doing my best to answer them.
It is a fine balance between reassuring him that the situation here in Canada is not identical to that south of the border, while at the same time making sure he understands that we, as Canadians, cannot be smug or complacent (or think, as our tone-deaf premier apparently does, that we have no problems with systemic racism. He did backtrack almost immediately, but come on!).
Our work is nowhere near done.
I have been having conversations with E. about privilege. I have been teaching him that his white, cisgender*, male body has traditionally been the body in power in our society, that it is still often viewed as normative, that it is a body that can expect to be welcomed into every space, that it is a body that is given authority just for existing.
I hope he can be an ally, that he can use his voice, with all the power and privilege that will be attached to it by the accident of birth, to lift up others, to challenge authority, to effect change.
I take him with me when I vote (P. too). I teach him that voting always matters,
even especially when you think it won’t make a difference. I tell him how young people disproportionately don’t vote, and how older people disproportionately do, and how older people tend to be more conservative. “Yes!” he said. “It’s like with the election, how if all the young people who could have voted did vote, then the Greens would have won!”
He believes that Love is Love.
That Black Lives Matter.
That Women’s Rights are Human Rights.
That Climate Change is Real.
That saying sorry for the residential schools is a start, but not an ending.
There is so much dark in the world. I struggle seeing the way forward for him, for P., for their entire generation and the broken planet they will inherit.
But in his worldview, in his wholehearted acceptance of everyone’s humanity, there is light.
These kids are going to change the world.
*E. himself identifies as cisgender. His best friend identifies as transgender and switched to using she/her pronouns last spring. E. never, ever uses the wrong pronouns when describing his friend and was honestly shocked when he learned that transgender people encounter prejudice. Kids are amazing.