“It is of paramount importance that we Niagarans get out of our comfort zones and start to learn about the harmful effects of the legacy of racism in Western society, the harm of over simplified anti-Indigenous stereotypes, how white privilege perpetuates these legacies, and what role systemic racism plays in keeping many Indigenous people marginalized.”
A Message to All of Us from the Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition
Posted February 12th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man from Red Pheasant First Nation, was killed by gunshot by the hand of a white farmer named Gerald Stanley on August 9th, 2016.
In February of 2018, after a technicality was used to ensure that the jury was all-white, the jury trial resulted in the conclusion that no one was at fault for this crime in any way. The Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition condemns this failure of justice as a product of systemic racism that diminishes the ability of the Canadian justice system to be seen a credible institution.
In order for justice to be credible it is important that it is perceived as fair.
For the entirety of the existence of the colonial settler state of Canada the scales of justice have tipped away from the needs of the people original to these lands. This case’s outcome cannot be unlinked from the Legacy of Racism that is a direct result of the policy of Canada.
Gerald Stanley received not just the benefit of the doubt as prescribed by law.
He (Gerald Stanley) received the benefit of lost evidence by the RCMP. He benefitted from a potentially prejudicial press release by the RCMP fueling negative public opinion and unfounded anti-Indigenous stereotypes. He benefitted from the use of technicalities to result in an all-white jury, despite the availability of Indigenous jurors in the pool. These benefits are the benefits of White Privilege in application.
His white privilege is the dialectical opposite of the systemic racism that denied the Boushie family justice.
Systemic Racism is a real threat to not only to its direct victims, but to all people who cherish living in a fair, just and virtuous society.
Scrutinizing the facts of this case cannot be truly done without considering the legacy of broken treaties, shattered promises, the residential school’s cultural genocide, the influence of generations of harmful and dangerous stereotypes manifesting themselves in discrimination and violence, and the ongoing effects of Western societies belief in its own superiority.
Racism – whether overt or subtle – is real and harmful. Un-checked privilege is dangerous. Living on these lands is a vastly different experience for white people than for Indigenous people.
It is of paramount importance that we Niagarans get out of our comfort zones and start to learn about the harmful effects of the legacy of racism in Western society, the harm of over simplified anti-Indigenous stereotypes, how white privilege perpetuates these legacies, and what role systemic racism plays in keeping many Indigenous people marginalized.
The harm to the family of Colten Boushie is real and if we don’t do anything and everything to check racism than we as a collective will continue to be complicit even if it’s not one of us pulling the trigger.
Sincerely, The Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition
To learn more about the Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition, visit the group’s online site at – https://www.facebook.com/NiagaraARC/ .
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