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Tundè Balogun: On media reports on Mulgrave Park and white supremacy

Mural by Jarus in Mulgrave Park, Halifax, 2017. Photo by Coastal Elite, Flickr

Before we begin, we need to define what white supremacy is. White supremacy is a belief of superiority –in all realms- based on race, and the bedrock of this belief is anti-Black racism.

If you would ask a white person to give an example of a White supremacist, usually, though not always, they would refer to a neo-Nazi like individual who is part of a hate group; who wears a bomber jacket, jackboots, probably has a swastika tattoo and says things such as “White Power” or “No Immigrants” and other white supremacists’ talking points.

If you ask a member of intelligent Black society to give an example of a white supremacy, we would tell you it’s a white police officer who consistently street checks Black people. Another example is a white teacher who filters Black children into special education, or a white supervisor at a job who does not hire Black employees. 

Some of the excuses for these actions given by a white supremacist would be that Blacks are the ones committing crimes, Black children are not able to keep up in the classroom and Blacks are not as “qualified” to do the job. Again, it’s a firm belief that Blacks are inferior, and in some intrinsic way deserve the treatment we are getting. And rather you are a white person who practices white supremacy or not; you do profit from it by way of white privilege- the main benefit of white supremacy.

To answer a question, you’re probably already asking- No, not all white people are white supremacists; there are many white people who do not have this mindset. The second question: No, you don’t have to be white to be a white supremacist oor practice white supremacism. There a plethora of examples of non-white people who live by this code on a daily basis.

Since we now defined white supremacy, we must understand the apparatuses of how it operates. First, the administration arm of white supremacy- the government, including municipal, provincial/state and federal governments who set policies to maintain white privilege. Secondly, the financial arm of white supremacy- corporate America/Canada that uses the laws set out by the administrative arm to finance the lifestyle of the recipients of white privilege and its benefits. Third is the enforcement arm of white supremacy that protects the institutions and recipients of white privilege.

Now, with the aforementioned institutions of white supremacy, it is imperative to have an apparatus which creates a zeitgeist that perpetuates the ideals of this system. Hence the white media, the propaganda arm of white supremacy.

See also: Tundè Balogun of the Objective News Agency: I am a firm believer in people telling their own stories

That brings us to the crux of this post, a recent article published by the CBC. One of its reporters did a story about artists across North America descending onto the predominantly Black community of Mulgrave Park to paint murals in an effort to “beautify” the neighbourhood. 

The reporter spoke to some of the artists, with them saying the following: “It’s often disappointing to see the conditions of Mulgrave Park” -“Steps are broken, walls are broken. The basketball court is pathetic. For a community that produces most of the athletes in the province, that should not be the way it is”.- “The most important thing though is they don’t want barren brick walls. It’s not something you want to raise your kids around.”

Now, if you have not read the CBC article, you are encouraged to do so as we will be breaking it down in great detail. 

For those familiar with Mulgrave Park, you know that it is a public housing, low-income area, most of its residents are descendants of those forcefully removed from Africville. You may also be aware that Irving Shipbuilding is directly across the street from Mulgrave Park. Therefore, you are also mindful that The Objective conducted a six-month investigation on how Irving received a $30 Billion contract to build Canada’s new Navy Fleet.

Residents of Mulgrave Park have for years complained that no one from the community had been hired, even though there are currently almost 2,000 employees, many of those being paid in excess of $30 per hour to sweep the floor and $80 an hour for welding positions. Our team interviewed politicians from all three levels of government including former Conservative Defence Minister Peter McKay –who helped write the contract, former Liberal Cabinet Minister Scott Brison, current NDP MLA Lisa Roberts, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, Liberal MP Andy Fillmore and City Councilor Waye Mason among others. 

Some –believe it or not- had no idea that Black residents of Mulgrave Park were not given an opportunity for employment at Irving, and all conceded –in their own way- did little to nothing to ensure the Black residents were able to partake in this massive project economically. 

Our team even went as far as speaking to the Irving PR officer who openly exclaimed: “Shipbuilding is a white male-dominated industry.” This intensive investigation exposed the open economic racism within the award processes of government contracts in Nova Scotia, and the adverse effects it had on the Black community of Mulgrave Park.

CBC’s article spoke of nothing of what the Community is going through economically. Nor did they speak of, or ask questions to residents of how their lives have been hampered through the construction of the Navy Fleet. 

Till this day the residents have industrial high powered lights beaming through their windows at all hours of the night. There was a major rat infestation caused by the blasting to construct the Wharf when the shipping contract was approved. Many residents are receiving tickets for parking in their own community as spots are now reserved for Irving. All this, and much more under the final humiliation of witnessing a sea of Irving workers flood into to their community for good paying positions, while many Mulgrave Park residents work several menial jobs and visit food banks to feed their children.

All of the above-stated facts are important, for if you look at the main picture of CBC’s article it shows two artists painting a mural, and the backdrop is the Irving Shipbuilding facility. 

With all the resources CBC has at its disposal they have done –to our knowledge- two stories in the past five years on the plight that is Irving on the community of Mulgrave Park. With The Objective’s meager budget and resources, we were able to conduct an investigation that no other news outlet was able –or willing- to do.

We must now think to ourselves why the CBC would write an article about “beatification” of this neighbourhood while foregoing the real issues and problems faced by that community. The answer is simple and can be summed up in two quotes stated in the article:

“I feel like sometimes these communities don’t get a lot of attention and they’re kind of last on the list in terms of budgets, things of that nature,”

“To be able to come here and beautify some walls and bring colour and life and excitement, it shows that they’re not a forgotten community” the artists said.

These are what we in intelligent Black society call “Trick Bags” or symbolic victories versus real ones. For anyone reading this article whom is not familiar with Halifax and Mulgrave Park in particular, they would think it is a ghetto with graffiti everywhere, and residents that don’t take pride in where they live. Thus the community needs outside help to clean the mess they themselves have created. If CBC’s editorial staff allowed an artist outside that community to speak about budgets and people being left behind, it would also be fitting to speak about a community totally shut out of a $30 billion project.

For those who may be shocked by the CBC’s actions, you must understand that they are the “public” broadcaster funded by the government. They are the Fourth Estate, the propaganda arm of white supremacy, and by definition not in the interest of the Black community. We are not attacking the murals in the community- we have used them in our documentary about Irving and Mulgrave Park. Also, the journalist who wrote this article is by all means a solid reporter- and this is in no way an attack on them personally. It is to highlight the agenda of a national propaganda broadcaster masquerading as “public” news outlet.

It matters where you get your information from, and it matters even more what they say- or in this case, what they don’t say. It is important for us to tell our own stories, for when they print their stories that subliminally undermine our communities, we are the ones that must live with the consequences. 

This is why Black Media is so important. 

Tundè Balogun started The Objective after seeing how the mainstream media portrays and stereotypes Black people and their communities. Follow the Objective News Agency on Facebook.

See also: CBC engages in whitewashing Nova Scotia’s legacy of slavery

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One Comment

  1. My name is David Ladouceur and I sit as co-chair of UNIFORS Aboriginal and Workers of Colour Atlantic .I do not dispute the contents of this article I can inform you that the payscale you have posted for welders is highly exaggerated. As a representative of the union within the Shipyard we have recognized the lack of marginalized people and have been a driving force to rectify this situation although at this time there is a long way to go, we have seen the implementation of the Pathways to Shipbuilding program which opens the door for our communities. If you would like to reach out I would be more than happy to listen and share you can find me on social media David Ladouceur

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