It wasn't that long ago that Airdrie became part of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. However, we don't have far to look to see there is much work to be done in this area. The comments on a recent Great West Media story on AirdrieToday's Facebook page made it glaringly obvious that systemic racism still exists and is almost celebrated here.
I am a settler. Me declaring that doesn't take any power away from me. Rather, it acknowledges that I hold certain privileges on the sole basis of my birth. Privileges such as knowing I can go anywhere in Canada and see my language, and others who look exactly like me. Now, privilege isn’t like a bonus level on a video game. I don’t get to go into a room full of coins and scoop them all up before the timer runs down. Privilege simply means that I have fewer barriers than others.
A simple thing such as the Cree language being added to signs in Banff holds no threat to me because my language is not being replaced. Rather, space is finally being made for the First Peoples of Turtle Island, who were forcibly removed, and made small.
I will be accused of being 'woke,' and of turning Canada into some sort of communist nightmare, when instead, I am merely acknowledging that settlers shouldn't continue to remove language and culture from the Indigenous nations who have lived here long before the English and French language evolved.
The racism that is clearly on display when articles like this are commented on and shared is disgusting. Members of our community are left feeling unsafe because white settlers refuse to acknowledge their privilege and their history. How can Airdrie be an inclusive community if we do nothing to stop this harmful behaviour?
I will end by saying this: white tears solve nothing. White apologies solve nothing if no action is taken. We have to do the work. Allyship is not performative. We need to call out disgusting behaviour when we see it.