Truth hurts. People cannot speak their minds nowadays without others over-analyzing what they have said and “go off on different tangents”. I’m talking about the response I have received from my latest blog entry, the “Subconscious Prejudice”. Most have missed my point to put it lightly. Moreover, some said I was “ignorant”. What? Really? I attended university, speak three languages, and have a near genius IQ; I extend my middle finger to those people; yes that is so lady-like. My concern here is for those who have been eluded by my point and purpose of the article. I could care less about those who did not realize that what they referred to as “ignorance” was my writing style. I tend to use cynicism and humor, and nothing is funnier than generalization and stereotyping people (I watch too much of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart). However, some people even went as far as calling me racist, and some leapt “as high as the ceiling” and said that there is no such a thing as racism in Canada. Try telling that to the black hockey players. Do you not remember the banana peel at the Flyers/Red Wings game at the Labatt Centre in Ontario, or the minority kids’ struggle to “fit-in” in hockey that was just aired on CBC not long ago? We do not have to go as far as Ontario; let’s stay right here with our own former Oilers player, George Laraque, and his new tell-all autobiography, “The Unluckiest Tough Guy” and how he chronicled growing up as a victim of racism. He wrote about how his elementary school bus driver called him the “N-word”. Yes that happened…HERE…in Canada. I do not understand why people become angry and deny its existence. Pretending it is not there will not obliterate it. We need to face and address it. There is racism, discrimination, prejudice, and whatever you like to call it, right here in the True North Strong and Free, and it seems to be more prominent in my line of work. We need to stop burying our heads in the sand and wish it gone.
Nonetheless, my topic was not racism. I was talking about prejudice in physique competitions and modeling; there is a big difference between the two. But now, you leave me no choice. I am just gonna have to talk about racism; there is no turning back. Like Chris Rock said, “racism will never stop; it’ll only multiply”. I want to know why is it that white women go to great lengths and spend as much money as possible to acquire “booty” and full lips but this society still considers a black woman who has them naturally, less attractive? Why do I not see women like me in the sport or the beauty magazines that I read? Why do magazine editors choose not to put models, especially women of color, on their covers? Some editors have been reported to go as far as saying, “black doesn’t sell”. Are they saying that whoever is buying the magazine is interested in the color of the person on the cover and not the contents of the magazine? What are the implications of the answer to that question? Walk into a newsstand, randomly pick 3 Canadian sport magazines and tell me how many Asians, African Canadians, Hispanics, or even East Indians are on the covers, or even featured in them. One of the leading fitness magazines in Canada has this annual issue of the hottest Canadian fitness models. In their first issue, published in 2010, they included less than 10% of women of visible minority (one black model, yes the token). Yet, Statistics Canada states that in 2006, 4 years earlier, (stats are taken every 5 years and the results for 2011 will be out in Feb 2012) visible minority women made up 16.4% of the female population. Is this not a diverse country and do we not pride ourselves in our multiculturalism and shove it in peoples’ faces every chance we get? Where is the diversity in the Canadian fitness industry?
Even when I look at the American magazines, I can count on one hand the number of black models and athletes that I have seen on the covers or inside their pages this year; despite the countless number of hard-working, attractive African American models in the industry. In the beginning of his modeling career, one of the top fitness models in the world was told by an editor that the magazine would be happy to give him a spread but cannot put him on the cover because he is black. Yes, that happened in this day and age when the leader of the free world and the president of the United States of America is a black man.
This was my point, and that was what I wanted everyone to consider. I am not one to run around blaming the color of my skin for my shortcomings. When I decide to do something, I give it my best, and when I fail I am always clear on the cause, and my race, so far, has never been one of the reasons. Being a dark-skinned female does not define who I am; it is only a part of what I am. I am a proud Canadian and very fortunate to live here. I pay my taxes; therefore I refuse to travel and compete in the U.S. Sometimes I feel that I do not enjoy all the privileges this country has promised me, and I do not want my children to feel the same, so I had to say something. If I do not speak up, who is going to do so on my behalf?