EDITORIAL: Racism can be hard to see

Last week the News broke a story of an Indigenous man who felt he was racially profiled in being barred from a local health food store.

That feeling, he said, was based on the fact he was told that he fit the description of people who had recently been caught stealing there.

Social media, obviously, lit up. Among the comments: “he’s playing the race card” and “this couldn’t possibly happen here.”

We like to think we don’t have a problem with racism in Canada. After all, it doesn’t fit our apologetic, easy-going, welcoming nature.

But, for a moment consider this – oppression by its very nature renders silence.

It’s how and why it can be so powerful. People of colour do not have the same sense of safety that translates to an assertiveness in speaking their truth to power.

To the untrained eye, racial profiling is so hard to fathom in a place like Victoria, but it’s only because incidents of this nature are so rarely spoken of.

When you say, “I don’t see colour” it only serves to perpetuate the issues surrounding racism. In 2018, if you’re unable to acknowledge that people around you are of a race different than your own, and what that means, you are likely privileged.

The accessibility of something as integral as food should not be determined by the colour of one’s skin.

If you’re confused, ask a person of colour about their day. Ask them about what they experience as they navigate life through Greater Victoria, where the majority of the population is white. Ask them to tell you about microaggressions.

Racism is easy to spot when it’s a woman in Alberta screaming at a table of brown people in a Denny’s restaurant. We need to get better at calling out the subtleties – the idea that an Indigenous man must be a thief, or couldn’t possibly have the money to shop in a specialty food store, or be related to someone who is white.

Oppression remains ingrained in Canadian society because we’re still not doing a good enough job of tackling racism at its uncomfortable roots.

Just Posted

Mad Hatter’s Ball offers laughs in support of Boys and Girls Club

Annual fundraising event features improv performances at McPherson Playhouse May 24

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

SidFest 7 ready to rock the Mary Winspear Centre

The Bankes Brothers and Madrona Drive headlining May 24 concert

Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

Cop-turned-storyteller reaches back to his past for Tribal Police Files

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Most Read