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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Allyship: Addressing your privilege

August 12, 2020

Unfortunately, a Pepsi peace offering will not abolish racism. Reparations will begin with accountability and education. With that being said, it is not the responsibility of Black people to educate others on why they are deserving of equality. Confront personal prejudices and consider your subtle contributions to racism. Use your privilege to create a dialogue by challenging the racially motivated comments made by friends and family. Without action, allyship becomes performative activism. 

Confronting insensitive language and ignorant phrases:

“I don't see colour.”

See it, acknowledge it, and understand that colour “blindness” is not the objective. Although this statement might aim to announce an allyship with members of an oppressed group, by design it dismisses the unique injustices faced within the Black population. “Not seeing colour” is choosing ignorance. The phrase passively invalidates the inequalities endured by different racial groups as a way to simplify the complexities of our history. Rather than opting for a vision deficiency, consider “colour” when challenging your own internalized prejudices and understand the privilege in choosing not to see race.

“I’m not racist, I have a Black friend.”

The infamous “Black card” does not exist. Your “Black friend” is not your “get out of jail free card” to excuse racist behaviour. Rather than weaponizing your friendship, perhaps self-reflect and apologize to the offended for your word choice and actions. Remind yourself that you are in no position to invalidate someone’s feelings in response to your behaviour.

“All lives matter.”

All lives do matter, however, not all lives are being treated as such. Consider your motive in making these claims. All lives will not matter until Black lives do. Using “all lives matter” as an attempt to dismantle the Black Lives Matter movement is counterproductive. People of colour have been disadvantaged on a systemic scale, resulting in limited opportunities and unjust treatment on the basis of skin pigmentation. Aligning with the notion that “all lives matter,” why not employ the necessary parameters to protect and empower ALL lives rather than just white lives? This is a matter of equity and justice.

“Well you don’t count, you’re not really Black.” 

A Black person’s interest in something that society has deemed “for white people,” does not take away from their identity as a Black person. What does it mean to you to be a Black person? Claiming a Black person “isn’t Black” because they don’t fit your stereotype, is evidence of internalized prejudices. Perhaps take a moment to reevaluate your belief system and make a conscious effort to confront your biases and unlearn them. 

“If they can say it, why can’t I?”

If you are not Black don’t say it.

“I posted a Black square on #BlackOutTuesday, now what?”

To access more resources to help the cause, visit the Black Lives Matter resource site.

By Erin Horne