Fear of violent racism haunted Brandon McBride throughout his life.
Like Ahmaud Arbury, a 26-year-old runner from Windsor, Ontario, said he was once haunted by the streets of the Mississippi with people holding guns and shouting racist insults.
As with George Floyd, he said he was outnumbered by police officers who threatened violence against him for no apparent reason.
“For a long time, I thought something was wrong with me. Why am I feeling this way? Why are these things happening to me? For a long time people told me: “Hey Brandon, you should not tell these stories to people.” “It will ruin people’s days,” said McBride.
“So I kept it all a secret. But I see that sharing with each other – sharing these things – can really, really help people. ”
The death of Arbury, a black man who was shot dead while jogging in Georgia, and Floyd, a black man who died on the lap of a white Minneapolis police officer, has sparked worldwide talk of police racism and police brutality in recent weeks.
McBride joined other Canadian athletes Aaron Brown, Hamick Bingham, Christabel Netty, Melissa Bishop-Nriag and Damian Warner in a panel organized by CBC Sports Anson Henry to discuss their experiences with anti-racism in sports. Bishop Nriagu, a lone white member of the group, has a black husband and daughter.
The group agreed that now is the time to speak out against racism. Natty and Bishop-Nriaga called on Athletic Canada to support the Livestrong movement to draw attention to racial inequality in their sport.
“It could be one of us,” said McBride.
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Natty, 29, won gold in the long jump at the Pan Am Games and 2018 Commonwealth Games. Surrey, British Columbia, a native took 20th place in this event at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Netty said her agents turned to marketing companies only to be told that “they are not moving in that direction” or “they are not working with field activities.” She later finds out that they picked up a less successful white athlete.
“It’s real, but it’s hard to think that nowadays I also encounter this. I never wanted to think that I had to do more than just my grades, because it’s a sport. In fact, this should not apply to your skin color. It should be about your training, “said Netty.
“We are not comfortable going there”
Bingham was the 100-meter champion of the country in 2015. She participated in the 2016 Olympic Games as part of the women’s 4×100 relay race, which took sixth place.
A 26-year-old girl from Brampton, Ontario, said she joined a running magazine to become her athlete after her victory in 2015. However, the magazine later returned to Bingham and told her that she did not match their appearance.
They placed a white athlete who won another event on the cover.
“Inwardly, I looked like:“ Well, why didn’t I fit my appearance? “I kind of learned it as my complexion, because I was darker. And I just discovered this trend that we did not take into account, we neglected the beauty of the color scheme, ”Bingham said.
Internationalization, as in Bingham, is what Brown pointed out as part of his experience in fighting hidden racism in Canada.
Brown, 28 years old, won bronze in the men’s 4×100 relay in Canada. Torontonian is also the current national champion at 100.
He said that there were many times when someone told him: “You speak well for a black man” or “all black men steal, but not you.” These micro-aggressions add up and cause psychological damage, Brown said.
“Does this look like what you mean for a black man?” Are you trying to say that most blacks speak poorly? ” Brown said. “I think that these things pervade the whole society, and people don’t really classify it as something racist, because they don’t directly tell you about it, and it’s not like just speaking and calling you an n-word” .
For Warner, this was the first time that a racist insult was used against him as a child who has remained with him to this day. A 30-year-old child grew up in a mixed family in Stratroi, Ontario, with a black father and white mother.
The decade won bronze at the 2016 Olympics and repeated performances in the last worlds. But he still recalls the day when he was a child.
The incident occurred when he was going home from school. He said that in the small town there are no other blacks, which sometimes makes him awkward. There were preconceptions about who he was because of the color of his skin.
Warner told his mother what had happened, and she explained the origin of the word and its meaning. Warner remembers how he felt emotion during the conversation, and said that his white brother came late and repeated the word.
“I just remember getting angry because I just realized what that means. And it’s quite hard that I was angry because at the same time he did not know what this means, ”said Warner.
“My mother made it very clear that this word will never be said, and you should never use this word against anyone else. And to this day I have never said this word and I will never say this word. “
When the Bishop of Nriaga builds his family, she begins to study how mixed relationships can be perceived. A 31-year-old middle-distance runner from Eganville, Ontario, said she receives messages from people on the Internet telling her that she should not have married a black man and that her daughter does not belong to this world.
Now that racism has seeped into her daily life, Bishop Nriagu said the conversation could not end at this moment.
“I think that we need to talk about this every single day, until it is fixed. Because this is my husband, these are all my friends, my teammates, this is all our future at the forefront, and we need to really unite and make a difference right now. “