i) Growing up I was completely surrounded by white people, on my mothers side was a long line of white religious leaders and on my Fathers side was all farmers which were once again all white. So white that my great great great grandpa on my dads side was unfortunately part of the leadership in the KKK in southern Saskatchewan. My Dad and his side of the family is absolutely horrible for the comments and views they have of people of color. I grew up listening to racist and sexist comments constantly and honestly I didn’t think much of them, I did not have any reason to disagree as I did not have any personal or meaningful relationships with any of the people my family would describe as “lazy worthless bums.”. I never necessarily agreed or repeated these harsh untrue words my Dad often expressed but to this day I struggle with trying to explain to him that these are not valid or acceptable things to say.
Comments such as these are prevalent in Robyns second self story. Robyn wrote:
” “You know they pay lower rent in that house right? I freeze inside willing them to go into their own house. They have made it more then apparent in the past that they don’t approve of Indigenous housing or of me. “I guess we shouldn’t complain. There are no needles this time.” That is the wife. Should I be thankful for her comment? “Government handouts!” the man grunts. “O.k. for them I guess.” I back away from the window and the summers’ sun falls from the sky. ” . The neighbors in Robyns story express similar views to the ones people around me have expressed, and while in some what more private conversations saying these things and even having opinions such as indigenous people all use drugs, or get free handouts and housing is racist against Indigenous peoples. Common rebuttals such as these can really harshly effect the identities of aboriginal people, such as Robyns eldest daughter who later in the self story reflects
” “I don’t want to be an Indian anymore”. ” which is heartbreaking.
ii) Disrupting these normative narratives can tough, especially when people are uneducated and have no willingness to learn about the topics and people that they have these awful, nonfactual and racist views of. Sometimes it takes a personal connection to overcome these normative narratives such as Suzanna states ”
I have heard many negative things about every race, as far back as I can remember. But being immersed in First Nations culture helped avoid connecting skin colour to the stereotypes people give them. ” . Obviously not everyone can have family ties or spend time growing up around other cultures but that does not mean that you cannot learn now. Take Emily Hs self story for example, her family friends took the time to learn and appreciate South African culture to create a deeper connection to their new daughter. ”
“Emily! Meet our new daughter Mikela, she is dying for another girl to play with!” My parents friend says to me as I walk into their house to meet the newest addition to their family. The house is freshly decorated with traditional South African decor and I can smell the scent of chicken nuggets in the oven. Mikela is two and was just adopted from South Africa and was, well, black”. So instead of assuming peoples character and ways of life soley based on the colour of their skin, people need to think more critically of why they have these assumptions and what is wrong about them. Personally I plan to work on disrupting these problematic normative narratives in my own home, and use this course to help educate.