We would like to thank Siobhan Barker, Series Consultant, for the time and energy she contributed…
We would like to thank Siobhan Barker, Series Consultant, for the time and energy she contributed to CapConnected content during Black History Month 2022.
This week, the North Shore News ran a cover story about how North Vancouver was built on profits from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. While it’s easy for white people to dismiss slavery (and the necessary reparations) as “America’s problem” and “something that happened in the past,” this sobering article cast institutional racism into the light — and this cannot be dismissed. Institutional (or systemic) racism is that which produces inequalities in education, justice, housing, employment, health care, and cultural representation. And it’s been kept intentionally invisible to those who benefit from it because that’s how systemic racism works. For many white people, coming to understand that they are part of this systemic racism is shocking. “But *I* am not racist! I treat everyone equally!” one might exclaim when beginning to understand institutional racism. However in this case, simply “not acting like a racist” isn’t enough.
Addressing systemic racism must be a process that’s centred around the contemporary lived experience of Black people, who know best how to identify where they are still excluded, suggests the NS News. One way every Capper could start is by reading Ibram X. Kendi’s New York Times best-seller ‘How to Be an Anti-Racist‘; a book that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their consequences, and work to oppose them in their systems and in themselves. (Ella Hanni)