I thought that these comments posted on the Dalhousie Student Union Facebook were interesting:
Kati George-Jim is a Dalhousie indigenous student. She’s currently a bit famous because she had spoken out of turn while at a Dalhousie Board of Governors meeting in June 2017.
She interrupted the meeting’s protocol, but is claiming racism was spoken to her when the chairman of the meeting told her that she was speaking out of turn.
However, I can’t support her belief that White people can’t experience racism, which would be systemic or interpersonal.
When I replace the wording of “White people” with “Japanese people” to make Kati George-Jim’s statement that “Japanese people can’t experience racism” then you plainly see that this statement is a racist statement.
I, for sure, was targeted with racism from a guy on the street across from the parking lot I was standing in. A guy took his time on that street to spot me and to yell his racism at me.
The irony of Kati George-Jim’s belief that White people can’t experience racism is that she never has talked with a White Canadian like me.
I’m going to suppose that many White Canadians — because of being taught to be Colour Blind — either believe or are unaware that they, too, experience racism.
I was surprised when an Indigenous Canadian man yelled his racism at me while I was standing at a parking kiosk at the Allin Clinic in downtown Edmonton.
That incident got me thinking that there could have been other times when more subtle racism was expressed toward me and I was unaware of it.
I think it’s more likely being taught Colour Blindness than White Privilege that makes White Canadians unaware of racism while it’s happening to us.
White Privilege is a nefarious concept unless you edit and replace White Privilege with Race Blindness. To me Race Blindness can explain being oblivious to Racism and a lived experience of it.
Privilege, however, can explain a person being unaware or oblivious of having to pay a bill but can’t. Privilege can make you unaware or oblivious of poverty.
I would cozy up with the idea that Colour Blindness is failing White Canadians because it is teaching White Canadians to be unaware or oblivious of what it feels like when race is discussed, and of what racism feels like.
So, to me, it’s both Colour Blindness and being taught the narrative that “White people can’t experience racism” that is making White Canadians oblivious, which does look like Privilege.
However, I get irked everytime whenever a racialized woman (like Masuma Khan or Kati George-Jim) decides that it ISN’T RACISM when you’re yelled at by a guy because he had targeted you for your ethnicity UNLESS he were White and you were either Indigenous or Racialized.
This hypocrisy of “every other race except White people will experience racism” makes the experience of racism a Double Standard. Double Standards are designed to fail a group of people or to make their experiences ignored.
Also read the full letter on Systemic Racism by the Dalhousie Student Union right here.