08.18.2020 08:57 AM

George Randolph is a good man

I know him, and I believe he is. Big heart, big brain, big dreams. Human.

Here’s his full essay in Medium. Worth a read, and worth a follow.

Excerpt:

During our Western Canadian Tour, the company found themselves in small town Alberta. Quaint, serene, ‘friendly.’ Upon being apprised of our arrival, the sheriff paid a visit to our director to inform us that we were, in no uncertain terms, on KKK territory. To ensure our safety, it was suggested that I, being the only Black dancer, not perform that night

My presence imposed such a threat that the director and I agreed I should, indeed, sit this performance out. Faced with a daunting task, the director had to swiftly change the choreography by turning my duets to solos, all of which we managed to complete 3 hours before curtain.

The company collectively pulled together to make it happen; they put on a show in my sudden absence, and provided me with care and support in light of this horrible situation. While they danced, I stared at the inside of a guarded hotel room, ‘othered’ by an audience who couldn’t watch a Black dancer.

Since that day, in that room, staring at those four walls, I have witnessed countless experiences that parallel my own. The ripple effect caused by the murder of George Floyd reveals that anti-Black racism, police violence, and systemic oppression are still pervasive.

9 Comments

  1. BobM says:

    Something in this essay leads me to believe that there may be some “artistic license” being applied. Not from the aspect of the existence of the KKK or other racial and/or discriminatory groups. But from the method the message was conveyed.

    Although an exact date is not given for the episode described, it can be determined that it happened prior to 1992 (The founding of his school). As Mr. Randolph clearly states this experience, among others was foundational in providing him the will to keep dancing/growing.

    What I am referring to as regards “artistic license” is this; small town/rural policing in Alberta is supplied by the RCMP managed out of K Division Edmonton and local detachments.

    There are other municipal police services that are clearly identified as such. Mostly in the larger centres or on reserves.

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_enforcement_agencies_in_Canada#Alberta

    Most importantly, the Alberta Sheriff Branch was not founded until 2005.

    To the best of my knowledge and experience, there were no town sheriffs during the time period implied in the essay. If any law enforcement personnel spoke to Mr. Randolph or his producer, they were almost certainly RCMP (given the town description of “small town Alberta. Quaint, serene, ‘friendly.’”).

    If this was the foundational experience Mr. Randolph implies, I expect it would have really stuck in his head which law enforcement agency representative he and/or his producer spoke with. Having a representative of the national police force show up with a warning then subsequently guard your hotel room is something not easily forgotten or misconstrued.

    Saying it was local small town “sheriff” is misleading and an unnecessary embellishment when it’s clear there was no such thing as a local/town sheriff at that time. Perhaps an attempt to conflate small town Alberta with the U.S. South of the 60’s for dramatic effect.

    Clarity and accuracy are important in these times, not drama.

    In that vein, I’m certainly open to any corrections based on the facts I have presented about Alberta policing.

  2. Steve T says:

    While this is certainly horrible, if true, it is also equally horrible what is happening in Portland (and elsewhere) in the name of BLM.
    Why is there so little coverage in the media of those ongoing atrocities? Surely the random assaulting of innocent people by “protesters” (aka criminals) in Portland is at least as bad as someone having to re-organize their dance performance due to a perceived threat in Alberta? Why are journalists so keen to write about the latter, but less keen to write about the former?

    • Jim R says:

      Likely the vast majority of people committing violent acts in Portland and elsewhere are not anti-racists but are opportunistic anarchists – the kind of people that like to show up at, say, G7 meetings with the express intent of wreaking havoc. As such, their actions have little or nothing to do with the actual reasons for protest (anti-racism, anti-capitalism, etc), and lumping them in with genuine protesters makes little sense.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Steve,

      If you’re telling us that violence and lawlessness is being perpetrated in the name of BLM, I can only assume that your facts are solid. Where I get off the train is when people attribute to BLM actions that they and their supporters have nothing to do with — unlawful acts perpetrated by Antifa and other anarchists. I want the media to get it right the first time and not pass on violent acts to groups who may or may not have anything to do with the violence perpetrated on property and people.

      • Steve Teller says:

        Fair enough, but the point of the original article excerpt was that there were basically rumours of KKK in this geographic area of Alberta, and that a performance was modified in fear of that rumour – and this is worthy of an article.
        By contrast, we have people intermingling with BLM protesters and causing actual physical harm to other people, and massive property damage. Sure, they might not be true BLM supporters, but ultimately this is what many BLM protests devolve into.
        If we are willing to generalize (ie – stereotype) about an entire section of a province based on the attributes of a few bad actors, why aren’t as many articles being written that generalize about a much smaller “geography” (ie – hidden amongst BLM protests).

  3. Jim R says:

    If you’re going to effectively label a town as “KKK territory”, which is a very serious charge, then it really is incumbent to provide the five Ws (who, what, where, when, why). “Where” and “when” are missing. “Who” (as in the sheriff) sounds like it may not be clear cut.

  4. Canny Scott says:

    As and Albertan, I don’t believe a word of the essay.

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