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On Friday, November 18, members of ACE attended the discussion, “Toward an anti-racist university: Racial (in)equity, intersectionality, and the social injustice of sameness” with Malinda Smith from the University of Alberta, presented by the YUFA Race Equity Caucus. Dr. Smith talked about the need for better equity in Canada’s colleges and universities. In past decades, there have been many equity policies proposed, but they have not been fully acted upon because there still a great lack of full-time Indigenous faculty and faculty of colour.

Dr. Smith also had some notes about challenging talking about whiteness that we’d like to share for everyone to consider:

Talking about racial inequity and the social injustice of sameness engenders various anxieties in white people, which can shutdown efforts to change:

– Challenging claims of objectivity: White peoples’ viewpoints came from a racialized frame of reference

– Challenging racial innocence: Receiving feedback that one’s conduct had a racist impact

– Challenging societal taboos on talking about race: People of colour talk about their own experiences of racism

– Challenge to white racial expectation and need/entitlement to racial comfort: People of colour choose not to protect racial feelings of white people in regards to race

– Challenge expectations that people of colour are “the help” and there to serve white people

“We have organized society to reproduce and reinforce our racial interests and perspectives, Further, we are centred in all matters deemed normal, universal, benign, neutral and good”. – Dr. Robin Diangelo, “White Fragility”

Thanks Dr. Smith, for the great talk!