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

Vancouver Police Department. (Black Press Media files)
Abbotsford man named as victim of fatal weekend shooting in Vancouver

Harpreet Dhaliwal, 31, killed outside of Cardero’s restaurant in Coal Harbour

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom is offering free school tours of The Pencil Patch learning garden in Abbotsford in April, May and June.
Agriculture in the Classroom offers free school tours at learning garden

The Pencil Patch in Abbotsford provides 15 outdoor learning stations

Alisa Gusakova was one of two Grade 12 Chilliwack students who received a $5,000 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship earlier this year. Now, a fundraiser has been created for the teen after her mother was killed. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fundraiser launched for daughter of Chilliwack woman killed

Money raised will help Chilliwack teen attend UFV to earn business degree

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
80-million-year-old turtle find on B.C. river exciting fossil hunters

Remains of two-foot creature of undetermined species will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Large gatherings of people at Kitsilano Beach on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Walter Wells/Twitter)
Vancouver police to reassess enforcement of COVID rules at outdoor parties: mayor

No tickets were given out for a large outdoor party at Kitsilano Beach

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Most Read