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Jun. 18, 2021 | Friday
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Letter: Erasing racism dismisses pain, inequities of racialized people
Letter to the editor

Dear editor:

This is in response to Rick Kirby’s letter, "Let tolerance and harmony reign," (The Lake Report, May 27).

I would like to acknowledge that Rick Kirby is correct that there is no genetic basis for racial distinctions, as we are all part of the human race.

However, this completely dismisses the fact that the hierarchy of race was invented, dating back to the transatlantic slave trade, and is the driving force of what this country was founded on: genocide and colonialism.

What he is describing here is called being “colour blind.” If you Google “The Problem with Color Blindness and How It Upholds Racism,” an article in Oprah Daily by Samantha Vincenty will pop up. It goes into great detail about this common mindset and why it is ultimately very harmful.

It is hypocritical to “fully support” letters written by racialized people and in the same breath try to erase these experiences by dismissing racism as a whole. To dismiss race and racism is to dismiss the pain and inequities racialized people face daily and how the white population benefits from white supremacy.

To erase the term “racism” and all its derivatives is to bury the fact that just last week, 215 bodies of Indigenous children were found buried near what used to be the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Some were as young as three.

They were children who would now be elders in their communities, people who carry language, tradition and stories. Genocide is the erasure of their possible legacy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can act surprised but he’s spent $100 million fighting residential school survivors in court. Surely the $16 million that the OPP spent in six months surveilling and harassing land defenders of 1492 Landback Lane could have been put to better use?

These events do not happen in a vacuum and date back to when the first settlers arrived on Turtle Island. Under the guise of care, white Christians took it upon themselves to rip children out of their mothers’ arms and steal the very land that Indigenous folks steward, in an attempt to erase Indigeneity.

The violence that continues to happen at the hands of the RCMP, police forces, child welfare agents, social workers, the prison industrial complex, the mental health industrial complex, health care, schooling (just to name a few) is due to the basis of race. This is the same idea that racialized people were seen as worthy as long as we were able to assimilate into Eurocentric Christian values, which largely influences policy-making even today.

Living in a white supremacist society means being seen as less than human and less deserving of basic rights, such as having clean drinking water. More than 50 reserves across what is colonially known as Canada are still enduring a clean water crisis, which politicians had vowed to eradicate by March 2021 …

It should matter to everyone that people still do not have clean drinking water. It should matter that Black and Indigenous people die at the hands of police at disproportionate rates compared to their white counterparts, or that Children’s Aid continues to rip Black and Indigenous families apart and wreak havoc in these communities to continue the settler colonial project.

I cannot describe the pain of seeing members of my own community get attacked daily due to Sinophobia.

I wish I could go into more details about how racism is sewn into the fabric of society, but honestly, as a racialized person, I am tired. I am tired of having to justify my experiences and it is not my job to beg people to care.

Canada continues to bury these realities, so it is of utmost importance we continue having conversations about race and racism. Do not allow yourself to be complicit in a system that thrives on the death of Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples.

The conversation of race and racism is uncomfortable, but we must not bury our heads in the sand. That does not make the problem go away. It only serves to ease the conscience of those who benefit from white supremacy in this country.

Shout out to Erwin and Dorothy Weins and Sue Batson Patterson for sharing their stories. They are important ones. Racialized people have been telling their stories and folks just need to listen.

Here are some resources I found helpful in my journey: "Policing Black Lives" by Robyn Maynard, "Me and White Supremacy" by Laayla F. Saad, "The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power" by Desmond Cole.

Let the eradication of white supremacy reign.

Joey Ho