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Wondering what can you can Learn/Do about Racism?

Categories: News

Anti-Racism work is at the forefront.

Maybe some of us wonder how we got here? Maybe some of us feel confused about definitions? Maybe some of us wonder what role we may play? Here is a curated series of short reads and videos by way of introduction to the work. You will note that the material leans heavily on Black American scholars and speakers. Lest we think this is an “American Problem” that we are bystanders to, remember the legislated and systemic injustice and the blatant racism aimed at Indigenous and Black people in Canada. You will find links with a Canadian focus below the curated material. 

Wondering what you can LEARN about racism? 

Watch this three-minute video of one man’s first awareness of his lack of awareness.

Wondering what you can DO about racism?

Just for today be aware of language. Listen specifically for any racial stereotype when you are speaking or when someone else is speaking to you. Try stopping the conversation and talking about it. (Remember, our language is full of stereotypes and we all regularly stumble on them.) 

Wondering what you can LEARN about racism? 

In the sermon on June 7, 2020, Rev. Cari said, “I am racist.” Racist. One word. So many feelings: embarrassment, denial, resistance, maybe even anger at the suggestion. Watch this video clip as Rev. Cari explains what it means to be racist. (Hint: it’s not what you might think.) 

Wondering what you can DO about racism?

Take some time to think about a recent example where your own certainty about how things are supposed to be done led you to feel indignant or frustrated, maybe even angry, when a Black, Indigenous, South Asian or Asian group or individual put forward a different way of doing or seeing things. If nothing comes to mind, reach out to someone to discuss it. If exploring this makes you feel uncomfortable, that means you are doing it right. This is not easy. And you are not alone.

Wondering what you can LEARN about racism? 

Here is a 1-minute video of Christian Cooper, a writer and birdwatcher in New York City, talking about the need for a cultural shift that requires all of us to take a hard look at ourselves.

Wondering what you can DO to be part of the solution?

Check in with your own life posture. Where are your eyes directed? Then try this: instead of saying, “It’s horrible that an innocent black man was killed, but destroying property has to stop.” Try saying, “It’s horrible that property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men has to stop.” Be aware of the change of focus between the two statements.

Wondering what you can LEARN about privilege? 

Commit yourself this week to learn exactly what people mean when they use the term “white privilege.”  Read White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

Take time to consider a few examples from the article about what privilege means:

  • I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  • I can be sure that my children will be given curriculum materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  • I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  • I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

Come on, enough with this stuff, I AM NOT RACIST.

The Difference between Being Not Racist and Being Antiracist [CBS News Video]

Wondering what you can DO now?

When it comes to racism, there are two choices:

  1. You cooperate with it by saying, “I am not racist, this has nothing to do with me.” OR
  2. You find the courage to identify racism inside yourself (see the June 21 announcement), to recognize the ways you cooperate with racism, and then to change.

Those are the only two choices there are.

Want to be an ally to Black, Indigenous, and people of colour?

Although this may feel new to some of us, there are already decades, centuries really, of research, study, analysis and writing by Black and Indigenous people. That it seems new now that it is in the media, is a mark of privilege. So we encourage you in learning to seek out the voices of Black and Indigenous people (BIPOC, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour). They are there, graciously offering a wealth of wisdom.

Want to be an ally to black, Indigenous and people of colour? Here’s what you need to know [CBC News]

RESOURCES with a Canadian focus

A Brief Timeline of the History of Indigenous Relations in Canada

Canada’s history with Indigenous people is cruel and unfair, but we need to own up to it

Racial Segregation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada [The Canadian Encyclopedia]

The Skin We’re In [Movie, CBC Gem]

What does freedom mean to Canada? Celebrate Black artists in CBC’s FreeUp! Emancipation Day 2020

Being Black in Canada [CBC News Special]

Anti-Black Racism and History in Canada [The Black Health Alliance]

Don’t Believe the Hype: Canada is not a Nation of Cultural Tolerance

Statement – Anti-Black racism in Canada: time to face the truth

Systemic racism is a Canadian problem, too

Social Determinants of Health [National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health]

“It’s About Terrorizing Us” [Environmental Racism Expert Draws Parallels With Police Brutality]

United Against Racism [The United Church of Canada]

Anti-Racism Resources for Canadians [Lean In Canada]

BOOKS by Canadian authors

21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act

The Skin We’re In

Highway of Tears

From Where I Stand

Anti-Black Racism Reading List [University of Toronto Libraries]

25 books about being Black in Canada [CBC Books]

These two lists (above) are a small sampling of the articles, books, and videos available about racism in Canada. We encourage you to explore.