Sunday, February 25, 2018

Another African-Canadian Lawyer's Lament

   As an African-Canadian rights litigation lawyer I approach the issues of  equality and discrimination in our society from a perspective that my mainstream colleagues are simply unable to. It is no fault of their own. Most of them are the very best of people.

   However, they were born into a world which was organized and structured for their success. I was brought into that world where I must by necessity compete with them for success but at the same time I am the bench-mark below which they believe that they must not fall.  That is how it is.  Adversaries will argue that what is black is white only to show me their power and to spite me.  Others will invite public shame and punishment in an effort to censor me. Adversaries will openly advocate that they see no value in my work and that it is useless.

   As an African-Canadian rights litigation lawyer I see raw, uncensored discrimination in my work more often than most. It is what I do.  It is why clients come to me. Clients come to me after they have tried to secure basic rights like that provided in Ontario Human Rights Code without success.  Clients come to me when statutory actors fail to do that which the law requires them to do.  Clients come to me when bias and abuse of process raises its ugly head to deny them of their fundamental right to a fair and impartial hearing of their claims.  In a word, clients come to me with the hope of having the law work for them.

   As an African-Canadian rights litigation lawyer I have come to understand and accept that my role as a Catholic, African-Canadian rights litigation lawyer  by definition makes me an outsider tugging on the robes of Justice to be heard forever cognizant that if I tug too hard or speak to loudly I shall be punished and publicly shamed.  That reality has been a constant in life and being a lawyer has and can not insulate me from it. It is what it is.


About the author:

E.J. Guiste is a Catholic, African-Canadian rights litigation lawyer based in the Toronto area.
   

1 comment:

  1. You may be alone in the effort you expend and the clarity of your insight, but you are not without supporters; nor are your efforts unnoticed or in vain. Peace Be With You.

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