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

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Shostak (centre) fends off a check from Salmon Arm defenceman to get a close-in scoring attempt on Silverbacks goalie Owen Say during Vernon’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout victory Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over cliff in Coldstream near Kal Lake Park

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A GoFundMe page has been launched for a Vernon man whose BX orchard property home off Pleasant Valley Road near Stickle Road was totally destroyed in a fire Saturday, April 17. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Fundraising campaign launched for Vernon man who lost home to fire

A GoFundMe page has been started by family; man taken to hospital with injuries from fire

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Most Read