White privilege knows no borders, says a world-renowned diversity scholar and founder of the White Privilege Conference.
Eddie Moore Jr. says that while many in Canada believe prejudice and racism are problems for the U.S., no country is immune to issues of racial inequality and injustice.
“White supremacy, white privilege and oppression is a global phenomenon,” he says. “It knows no borders.”
Moore said the way to change the status quo is to expose it, analyze it and take action.
“I really believe that some of the challenges associated with these issues are a result of not enough people naming it and examining it,” he says.
The White Privilege Conference has been held in the United States for the past 18 years and for the first time the discussion is coming to Canada. Brock University will host the White Privilege Symposium Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
“By bringing this symposium to Canada, it’s an opportunity to have some really bold and courageous conversations,” Moore says. “When we are able to share our knowledge, experience and wisdom we can come up with better results.”
Shauneen Pete, Associate Professor at the University of Regina and Executive Lead on Indigenization of that university, said white privilege is an important conversation in Canada, especially considering its history.
“The story of Canada is not a story about multiculturalism but a story of colonial white dominance: this truth must become a part of the social narrative we tell about ourselves,” she says. “In order to achieve the dream of reconciliation, members of the dominant group and those new Canadians who align with them, must learn the truths of our racialized past and begin to practice anti-racism in their personal and professional lives.”
Debby Irving, a racial justice educator and writer, says most people incorrectly associate the term privilege with wealth. It’s a misconception she herself believed for most of her life, until she was a graduate student and a class opened her eyes to the privileges being white had afforded her.
“In fact, privilege refers to access to rights, resources and other societal benefits,” she says. “One way to think about privilege is as the opposite of discrimination. Discrimination couldn’t exist without privilege, and vise versa.”
Pre-eminent thinkers and researchers from both sides of the border exploring race, privilege and social justice will be presenting during the event at Brock.
The following scholars will present keynote talks and workshops at the symposium:
- Ritu Bhasin, community activist and lawyer. Keynote title: “Breaking the Shackles of Oppression & Addressing Privilege: Rise through the Authenticity Principle.” Saturday Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. See more at: www.bhasinconsulting.com
- Afua Cooper, community activist, scholar, dub poet and James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax. Keynote title: “Enslaved African Canadian Teenager and White Male Privilege,” Friday, Sept. 30 at 6:45 p.m. See more at: http://www.dal.ca/faculty/arts/jrjchair/about/CurrentChai.html
- Jada Monica Drew, executive diversity & leadership trainer and author. Keynote title: “Building Youth Leadership using the Youth Action Project (YAP) Approach,” Saturday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. See more at: www.jadamonicadrew.com
- Debby Irving, racial justice educator and writer. Keynote title: “White Privilege 101: Getting in on the Conversations,” Friday, Sept. at 6 p.m. See more at: www.debbyirving.com
- Shauneen Pete, associate professor, Regina University. Keynote title: “Acting Up: Activism and Action,” Friday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. See more at: http://www.uregina.ca/education/facultystaff/faculty/pete-shauneen.html
- Eddie Moore, Jr., founder WPC, community activist and scholar. Keynote title: “White Privilege 101: Getting in on the Conversations,” Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. See more at: www.eddiemoorejr.com
- Shirley Cheechoo, Brock University Chancellor, actress and filmmaker. Keynote title: “My Road To Healing As A Residential School Warrior,” Saturday, Oct. 1 at 4:45 p.m.
- Jasiri X, mentor, educator and community leader. Keynote title: “America’s Most Wanted: Hip Hop, Media, and Mass Incarceration,” Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. See more at: www.jasirix.com