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Racist banner does not represent me

Ugly racist banner hung over highway is a disgrace

It was an ugly blight on our community’s doorstep and thankfully, it was taken down quickly.

A banner hung on the Airport Main overpass delivered a racist message and like many people, my stomach – and my heart – sank when I saw a picture of it. This message does not represent me and I know it doesn’t represent a lot of people in this community.

RELATED: White supremacist banner has ‘no place in Campbell River’ — RCMP

Unfortunately, it would appear that it represents somebody. We would all hope that this was hung by some outsider trying to spread his hateful message further afield but we’re not so naive to think that there aren’t those amongst us who subscribe to such sentiments.

This persistent racism we’re seeing across Canada and in our neighbour to the south is disgusting and hard to understand. It can’t be necessary to explain why racism is not acceptable in this day and age and yet, it appears it is.

And we’re not talking about subtle racism, institutional racism or structural racism – behaviour that perhaps could maybe be blamed on someone else or the past or something. No, we’re talking about outright racism where people are accosting people on the street and telling them to speak English. Others are hurling racist slurs in Canadian neighbourhoods.

And let’s talk about the institutional/structural/not-so-subtle racism. In the U.S., you have politicians working to put impediments on people’s right to vote because of race. How do they get away with this? From widespread support in white communities, I guess.

Of course, as soon as this paper reported about the banner over the Inland Highway, we got the sadly not-unexpected emails from people who begin by stating “I am not racist” and then try to explain the banner and say “it’s not racist.”

Uh, no, sorry it is.

The counter argument is thrown back that there’s lots of anti-white racism going on now and I say, no there isn’t. When you’re one of the most privileged sectors of society to have ever lived on this planet, being asked (yes, sometimes required) to share your privilege does not discriminate against you in any way. Extending the rights you enjoy (and have enjoyed for centuries) to everyone is not the same as being oppressed based on the colour of your skin or the language you speak or whatever. It’s just not.

Know this, you do not represent me. I wish you’d just keep your sentiments to yourself.

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