'It's all around us': N.S. mother shares her family's experiences with racism
HALIFAX -- Amid growing calls to end systemic racism and discrimination, a Nova Scotia wife and mother is speaking out about the racism her bi-racial family faces on a regular basis.
“This is my beautiful family. They are not the same colour as me. The colour of their skin is not the only thing we don’t have in common,” wrote Lisa MacIsaac in a Facebook post.
“All 5 have lived and experienced racism in our little corner of the world. My anger and hurt runs deep because these are MY people. They have LIVED it, I have experienced it.”
Since Lisa shared her family’s story on social media earlier this month, the post has garnered hundreds of shares and comments.
She says she felt compelled to speak up after the death of George Floyd -- a Black man who died when a police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee against his neck for almost nine minutes -- and the subsequent protests and rallies that have erupted across the United States and in Canada.
“I think it had been on my heart for a long time and as things progressed in the States, especially with George Floyd becoming so apparent in his death on social media, it was time,” Lisa told CTV News.
“People were willing to listen and it was time to share my own experiences and I think most people think that it doesn’t happen here in our part of the world in Halifax, in Beaver Bank where we live, but it’s all around us and I think that was the whole point of my post.”
She says she never experienced racism until she met her husband, Micah. She recalls her first experience with racism when they went grocery shopping in Sackville, N.S., 20 years ago.
“We were going through the grocery store in Sackville and a lady in front of us said, ‘Stay away from me,’ and she used the N-word.”
While that was her first experience with racism, it wasn’t her last.
The mother of four details a number of incidents involving her husband and children in her Facebook post.
Lisa says her husband has been pulled over by the police and questioned whether he has drugs. Her children have been called the N-word at school.
She says she has warned her sons to keep their hoods down when walking through their neighbourhood in Beaver Bank, N.S., and to keep their hands out of their pockets when at a store.
She says her daughter has had mud rubbed on her at school and her son has been asked why his skin is dirty.
“I have wiped tears, hugged, advocated, prayed with and had endless conversations. But enough is enough,” said Lisa in her post.
Her husband, Micah MacIsaac, says he has experienced racism for almost 40 years. Many of the questions he had as a child, he’s now trying to help his own children answer, decades later.
“You know, the discussions are, ‘But I’m being kind and I’m being nice and I don’t understand why this is happening?’ And it took me back to when I was a child, that it’s very difficult to find an answer for that, but that really is what racism is,” Micah told CTV News.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, unfortunately. There’s just some times that people will pre-judge you and treat you unfairly until the hearts and minds of people change.”
He also says the Black community is “exhausted” from fighting against racism and discrimination and it’s time for others to step up and join the fight.
“It’s really not going to be up to me and what I do. This is really the time where it’s on others. It’s on people to become allies,” said Micah. “We’re prepared to do what we can do, but we can’t do it alone.”