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observations | white protest v. brown protest

Sometimes it's hard to describe micro-aggressions because they're so subtle that it can feel like a mind-game. Did that really happen?

Last week on the radio I caught a news clip about how some mothers from White Rock had shown up at their local hospital to protest the shutting down of their maternity ward. The radio announcer cut to a clip of a woman who sounded frustrated as she shared something along the lines of, "If they shut this down, that means the next nearest hospital is 25 minutes by ambulance."

The story rounded out with the announcement that Fraser Health had convened and announced that they would pull their resources in order find a way to staff the almost-shut-down ward. Victory! All in a half-day's work.

That's right - the protest was scheduled from 10am to 2pm and consisted of a variety of community members including expectant mothers and hospital donors. They planned to do a second protest a few days following, but as it turned out, that would not be necessary.

And for people unfamiliar with the demographics of White Rock, it's a generally middle to upper middle class area with an 80 percent white population. This is relevant to know, though not outrightly included in any reporting.

So the reason I share this story is because the experience of hearing this news cast felt very much like a micro-aggression. Very subtle. Or perhaps there are those who can identify with this feeling and would not describe it as subtle at all. As I sat their listening, driving along, I felt my shoulders retract, my jaw tighten, and a sting in my belly.

This has nothing to do with the cause or the victory. Truly, I understand why these women want their hospital to stay open. Who wouldn't? I'm happy for them that they got what they want. It's the *meanwhile* that upsets me. Meanwhile, Indigenous land defenders have been holding it down on Wet'suwet'en Territory for years now against a pipeline that is being built without proper consent, though their efforts have had very little effect on the part of government action to support them. And most recently, a group of 29 were arrested for defending the land, the waters, and for some of them their homes and livelihoods.

That's all I'll say on the topic for now. There are more examples of *meanwhiles* that could be brought to attention but I feel like you get what I mean. It stings to see how quickly bureaucracy can move for the causes that appeal to them. And it's telling how slowly they move for the ones that don't.

photo taken on St'át'imc Territory

Jun 14, 2017

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