The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)

New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

B.C. joined Canada almost 150 years ago and as that anniversary approaches, a group of educators and authors are using the occasion to highlight the province’s history of racist policies.

They argue current-day Black Lives Matter activism and Indigenous land defenders are rooted in the history of racist policies, arguing the actions of the province’s past residents must be acknowledged in order to change.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and a University of Victoria research project on Asian Canadians, have published a booklet they hope will “help pierce the silences that too often have let racism grow in our communities, corporations and governments.”

Called Challenging Racist “British Columbia, the booklet focuses on six areas of racist history: Indigenous dispossession, dispersion of Black communities, discriminatory voting laws, anti-Asian immigration laws that led to B.C. having a white majority and the attempted ethnic cleansing of Japanese Canadians.

“This assessment goes to the heart of the province’s history of racism and is based on the lived experiences of racialized peoples and their ongoing struggles to survive and surmount systemic racism, past and present,” the publishers wrote.

One of the seven authors, Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra said the work disproves the narrative “that Canada is exempt from white supremacy and racist nation state formations.”

For non-racialized people who may be engaging with these issues for the first time, racism and white privilege can seem abstract. But the history enclosed in this booklet lays out specific ways policy in B.C. created racial divide and deliberately disadvantaged people of colour.

University of Victoria professor of Japanese history, John Price, added that the stories honour “the activists and communities that have been fighting racism for 150 years. … Hopefully it serves as a wake-up call to governments that no longer should they engage in divide-and-rule policies. 150 years is long enough.”

The booklet is free to download at challengeracistbc.ca.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


Educationhistoryracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The health authority will occupy the building until October 31, 2021. File Photo
Health authority pays town $7.4K monthly to lease Riverside Centre

Facility is being rented for COVID vaccinations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s mass vaccination program will be delivered to Princeton residents from a clinic set up at the Riverside Community Centre. (Darryl Dyck/CP photo)
COVID vaccinations bookings began for local residents last week

Riverside serves as Princeton’s appointment centre

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Your old lawnmower is an environmental disaster. (courtesy photo)
The perfect lawn is pretty hard on the planet

According the government of Canada, an older mower running for an hour can produce as much air pollution as a new car driving 550 kilometres.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Vernon’s BX Elementary School. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Second COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Exposure at Vernon’s BX Elementary happened April 6 and 7

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

Most Read