Issues Encountered and Solutions Created
There is no point in pretending that anti-racist projects are easy. They never are. But the biggest changes require the most courage to achieve. This is because the journey is just as important as the goal. I encourage you to document the challenges you face as you put anti-racist theory into practice. That way, you can share those stories with others and help them become creative anti-racist project solvers.
Issues and Solutions
- As a student, I was both learning about the power of language while being required to use language in powerful ways. Sometimes I made the choice to follow past practices (e.g., explore multiculturalism). But often times that just felt off. I learned to follow my gut – even when it meant missing out on grant opportunities.
- When I was a Course Director and when I was an Assistant Professor, I was also a full time student. I was learning how to put courses together and started some of my classes using the texts past Professors had used. Before long I realized the status quo was not going to make the change we needed in the world. That’s when I began choosing new books and being more creative with my assignments. All of that took confidence. And that confidence took time to build.
- As an elected official it was customary to follow tradition. In fact, naming something as “racist” was considered “unparliamentary” in the Chamber. This made it difficult for me to name what was happening using the language that could make a difference. I had to get creative in my debates and I had to challenge the Speaker to apply the rules of the House to address racism as they would other unparliamentary comments by elected officials.
- When I tabled Bill 67, the resistance to anti-racist work came quickly. Other elected officials used this to fuel tensions, often mis-representing the goals of the Bill. I had to close my office to protect my staff from the hate coming in via email, voice mail, and online. So I turned to community to help support the broader cause.
None of this work is easy. But it is absolutely necessary. And when approached from a place of love and care for those harmed by racist policies and practices, anything is possible.
In preparation for our e(RACE)r Network™ calls, I’d love for you to list some questions or comments (or both!). So take your time, think about your own project and how this might be relevant to your goals. Feel free to send me a comment directly here!
And don’t forget to throw a message in our Community Forum. It’s an amazing way to stay connected and keep the conversation going.
Looking Forward to hearing from you!