As a champion of diversity and inclusion, and an organization working toward fully refining our values as an anti-racist organization, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society encourages everyone to educate themselves about racism and other people’s lived experiences and perspectives. However, not everyone is at the same stage of understanding. To help spread information and awareness, we have launched an anti-racism information social media campaign. There is so much work to be done, but every small step in combating hatred or misinformation can help make a positive difference.
Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (@diversecitybc) to read DIVERSEcity posts and posts that we share, or check back here to see an archive of our content, with links to additional resources.
A microaggression is an everyday, subtle comment or behaviour that displays prejudice toward a racialized group. Classifying someone’s identity based on their appearance or language can reinforce stereotypes and cause pain. It’s a form of discrimination, even if you didn’t mean it to be.
Resources on the topic of microaggressions:
Do you use words like “pow wow” or “chief” in business or personal settings? Using words that are meaningful to Indigenous culture in this casual way takes away from the importance of the words. For example, a pow wow is a a ceremonial celebration of cultural pride for First Nations.
Colourism is a sub-category within racism. It occurs when someone with a lighter skin tone is treated better or preferred over someone of the same race with darker features. It is most common within a race, rather than between two different races.
Sometimes the fear of being different can stop us from making new connections or sharing our ideas. We have to move past this fear and remember that our life experiences make us who we are. It is a strength to speak multiple languages, not a weakness.
What’s an “ally”? There are many ways to be an ally in the anti-racism and other movements, even if you have never felt oppressed firsthand. In brief terms, being an ally is about making the effort to listen, learn and stand up for marginalized groups.
Why being “colourblind” to race is unhelpful
Seeing someone’s colour or race doesn’t mean you are racist. It means that you acknowledge their lived experiences, identity and the discrimination they face. When working toward true equality, we must embrace one another’s differences — not omit them.
Did you know that terms like “gyp,” “long time no see” and “peanut gallery” have racist origins? Ever wonder why a word commonly said a generation or two ago is no longer acceptable today? Language needs to evolve as society evolves because the words we use reflect and reinforce our beliefs and attitudes. So, no, using a word or racial slur from the past that’s now considered offensive is not “just a word.” Using it makes a statement of who you are and what you believe.
Are you a skilled immigrant who has heard “Sorry, you don’t have Canadian experience” as a reason for not getting the job? Do you think it’s fair? Is it a form of systemic racism?
According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, “In some cases, requiring applicants to have Canadian experience may be disguised discrimination, and a way to screen out newcomers from the hiring process.”
Employers in Canada may not want to risk hiring someone who doesn’t have an understanding of Canadian business practices. But this blanket excuse for screening out newcomers can also be just that — an excuse. This can lead to employers missing out on the innovation that newcomers can bring.
For the newcomer, it’s a barrier they can tackle through strategies like volunteering, networking and training. But isn’t it also time for employers to see this excuse for what it is?
When someone says they are “not racist,” they may be in denial about their own prejudices and the way they benefit from racism. In order to fight racism and move issues of equality forward, we have to admit that we have racist ideas and behaviours, be vulnerable and actively become anti-racist in everything we do and say.
Here is a summary of some of the tips to help you get started on your anti-racism journey:
Check out the articles and resources below to learn more about this topic
Be an ally, not a bystander
It is normal to want to avoid stressful, awkward or even aggressive situations. That being said, sometimes doing the right thing is hard.
If you have the power and privilege to help someone else, you should do so. If everyone looks away, there is no one left to help. You do not have to confront the aggressor. Go sit by the person in need. Share some kind words. Let them know they are not alone. If it isn’t safe to step in, record it. You can also report it to the police. Make sure the whole incident does not get ignored. To learn more about refusing to be a bystander, please see the resources below.
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