Writer in Residence

On Racism 2 of 3

By Dane Swan


Part 2


If silence is no longer an acceptable act, we can no longer be silent as publishing houses receive government funding while making little to no efforts to have authors who reflect the nation's diversity. After years of artists, musicians, and authors of colour migrating en mass to foreign lands (including the Nation of Trump) so that they can have a chance to be recognized, signed or published; waiting for people of colour to contact publishers who receive government funding is no longer acceptable. Let's hold these publishers to account. Silence is no longer Canadian. We must make noise.


When multiple publishers, who receive government funding, repeatedly publish the same 2 or 3 people of colour as each other – in some perverse merry-go-round – and call their presses multicultural and diverse we must make noise.


When literary series, that also often receive government funding, refuse to book authors of colour with any regularity, when people of colour are blackballed from the community without legitimate justification, when authors, poets and spoken word artists of colour are treated as nothing more than a sideshow we must make noise.


Erasure is no longer acceptable. When the methods of BLM and INM are used by the general population to mobilize masses, we recognize where we learned these methods and pass them on with acknowledgement. We no longer allow publishers and media to erase the work of minorities to fit a fictional narrative. We do so with full-throated roars, for silence is no longer Canadian.


This is no moment to be cowardly mute. No moment to laugh as conservative thought is replaced by hate speech and low intellectual fascist corporatism. No moment to assume that merely being correct is enough when hate is such a potent elixir. Be loud. Scream. Stomp feet. Silence is no longer a Canadian trait. We must make noise.


Hate is out there. Hate is real. It is not a fictional boogie man that Black people, or Muslims, or Asians, or Jewish communities made up. There are people who want to hurt others for reasons I will never have the mental capacity to explain. They see us as a sub-species -- no matter our achievements. We are to be tolerated, not respected. We are to be crushed when we step out of line. We are tortured like bugs when arrested, instead of given our day in court. We are to be hunted like game as silent onlookers do nothing.


So are you Canadian? Will you make noise?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Dane Swan is a Bermuda-raised, Toronto-based internationally published poet, writer and musician. His first collection, Bending the Continuum was launched by Guernica Editions in the Spring of 2011. The collection was a recommended mid-summer read by Open Book: Toronto. In 2013 Dane was short listed for the Monica Ladell Award (Scarborough Arts) for his poem "Stopwatch."