Observing ourselves with compassion when getting called out for racism

I spent a bit too much time on Facebook today and one of the posts that got me going was this conversation about how white people are unaware of their racism, and they get super indignant and butt-hurt when a person of colour points out that something we said was racist. Don’t worry, happens to me too. Happens to all white people… unless you’re

Why So White, Z99?

It was about two or three months ago that I started noticing Z99 wasn't playing that many songs by colored artists.  I'm in the car listening to my radio to and from work, as well as on the drive home and back to work for lunch.  They're high traffic times.  The music is mostly white- I'd say 95%- which hasn't been more out of step with the demographics of Regina since colonization.  There are colored people everywhere now, especially within the last ten years- in addition to Aboriginals, immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are studying here, looking for work, learning English, learning our customs and our way of life.  They're rebuilding after fleeing their country, they're on scholarship, they're working towards their citizenship, they're just brought here by virtue our robust economy.  I love it.  If anyone remembers Regina in the 80's, it was a whirling dust cloud of grasshoppers, literal tumbleweeds- not just metaphorical ones- and cowboy hats.  We were also considered the armpit of Saskatchewan.  In the 80's, it was an embarassment to say you were from Regina and what would we have given for the cosmopolitan, worldly demographics we have today?  But what is the problem?  They learn English or they get their financial legs under them, and they leave for more exciting cities.  Such has been Regina's plight- we can't keep immigrants.  So today as I was driving home for lunch, I heard one of Beyonce's new Lemonade singles, and I had to write a letter to Z99 to point out the occasion of their first black song that I'd heard in a while. 

Hi Z99, I might be missing something, but I noticed you played one of Beyonce's new songs this morning... the first black artist I've heard on Z99 in a LONG time.  I've been paying attention over the last three months, and maybe it's because I don't know the race of all the groups and singers out there, it could totally be, but I'm pretty sure 95% of what you've been playing has been white (at least the times I'm in the car).  I'm thinking there have to be more black artists on the top 40 than that.  We have to be careful about making sure all these new Regina immigrants feel welcome by honoring their groove if you ask me.  Cassity, you probably won't remember, but Cece and Lorri should- back in the 80's, Regina was full of boring white farmers and now that we've got so many colors here, many of whom are opening businesses, and we have a chance at becoming more cosmopolitan, what better way to welcome them than to play music that reflects them a bit better?  I know you have a certain spectrum to abide by, fair enough, we wont' get into that now, but I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find other black artists besides Beyonce to play at high traffic times.  We're not scared of colored people like they are down in the states, so we can afford a bit more flexibility in terms of grooves... and skin tones.  Just on my way home for lunch, from the south end to downtown today, I saw 3 black people on Albert Street- do you know how different that is from 10 years ago?  That's huge!  There are colored people here now and we need them to feel like they belong in this city- let's please make them feel a part of Regina by playing non-white bands and singers.  We need these people to help make Regina a rich, vibrant city.

Has anyone else noticed the whiteness of Z99 or is it just me?  I went through their Sask Top 30 just now, and we have 1) Ruth B, a black Canadian singer, 2) Magic which is fronted by a Palestinian-Canadian singer, 3) Tyler Shaw who looks perhaps a bit Asian, and 4) Drake.  5) Zayne is a quarter Pakistani.  When I got in my car after writing the e-mail, I noticed they were playing Weeknd, so I guess that counts.  What do brown people think of their mix?  Is this good enough?