‘I really thought that Pepsi brought us together’
By Mercedes Deutscher, Social Media Coordinator
Caroleighanne Brown was rendered speechless last Friday when she discovered that racism still exists, and cannot be solved with peace, love, or carbonated beverages.
On a Facebook post depicting a police protest, Brown wrote that marginalized demographics across North America should find a middle ground using only peace and love. While she received praise from many white peers, she was promptly criticized by “the very people [she] was trying to help.”
“Someone told me to get my head out of the clouds! I don’t even know what that means,” said Brown in an interview.
Alicia Johnson, a BPOC (Black Person of Colour), was disheartened by Brown’s statement, but not surprised.
“People suggest peace and love like we haven’t already tried that,” Johnson wrote on the Facebook thread in response. “Does peace and love stop police from murdering young black men at alarming rates? Have peace and love stopped the US government’s increasingly racist stances in external affairs? I’m tired of hearing about peace and love. I want real change that’s made through policy and legislation.”
Her message seemed lost on Brown.
“Why is it so hard to understand that peace and love is the way? After all, Kendall Jenner fixed racism with a can of Pepsi! Maybe if people just tried it, it could work.”
Brown then recounted a past incident she was involved in on the SkyTrain.
“I was on my way to FVDED in the Park this summer, wearing this bitchin’ headdress I ordered online,” said Brown. “Oh my god, I felt like Pocahontas! Anyways, this girl came up to me and told me that I was appropriating—I forgot the name of the group, but it was some native group’s culture. I just don’t get it…I’m not making fun of them. I’m appreciating their culture. They should be happy!”
Amber Hanson, the Coast Salish woman who spoke to Brown during this incident, remembers the encounter differently.
“She kept accusing me of calling her a racist and slandering her. I tried to explain to her how problematic it is for someone of a colonial background to wear Indigenous regalia, especially for something as frivolous as a music festival. It’s kind of ironic. She seemed really concerned about not being seen as a racist, but her actions just didn’t reflect that.”
Brown, after reassuring us again that she was not a racist, pondered why there was talk of racism at all.
“I mean we’re all legally equal, right? That’s why the civil rights movement was a thing. Surely that means racism doesn’t exist anymore!”