The Hate that Plows Through Us

I’m trying to process this…this event, tragedy, mass-killing, hate crime, this act of madness. I’m trying to process this, but it hurts in the most horrible way.

Police say driver ‘intentionally’ crashed into Muslim family in London, Ont., killing 4.

A man just weaponized his pick-up truck – a vehicle long stereotyped by people of colour in Canada and the United States as the ride of choice for racist “rednecks” – and plowed through the bodies of five individuals, visibly Muslim.

My grandmother, my mother, my daughter, and myself – we all died. They are my family because they’re all of us. We see ourselves in them as we walk down the street in our visible minority-ness; our less-than, not quite normal-ness; our exotic, not yet adapted-ness. We see ourselves in that family every time a young white man in a pick-up truck plows down the road, staring us down and then roaring the engine extra loud as he passes by, perhaps to say: “I could kill you with this machine.”

At least, that’s what we think he’s thinking.

I thought I was being crazy. Literally every time I cross the street, I’m wondering, “Will someone try to kill me with their car?” I’m not kidding – this is a thought I have in my head. I think it because I’m aware of how my appearance triggers hate in some people, and I’m not alone in this thought.

And then it happened to me, to us, we were murdered by a kid in a pick-up truck. The horrible “what if” manifested, and we all felt it.

Our son survived, he’s 9-years old. His life was spared by accident. It seems the monster wanted a strike, but one pin remained standing.

A monster – that’s my gut reaction. That’s what I want him to be, to make it easier to hate him. To hate him the way he hated them. I’ve demonized him the way he demonized us – the division between us grows wider: demons on both sides.

Who is this, Nathaniel Veltman? Where is he from? Is hate normalized there? Has anyone stood up to him in the past, to counter his narratives, to expand his circle of regard beyond those in his tribe? How could the hate have grown to such a degree that he was willing to end the existence of an entire brown-skinned family — and nobody saw this coming? Nobody thought, “this guy seems a bit extreme”?

I just want to know that the people I love and the friends I hold dear recognize the signs and symptoms of racism when it appears, in themselves and in others. And I want to know that they will confront it by allying with its victims and educating its perpetrators.

My friends, know that familiarity extinguishes fear and breeds affection. Get out there and get to know those you’re most afraid of.

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