Following the recent appearance of white supremacist propaganda on campus, we wonder why there hasn’t been more outrage within the UNB community, and why a university statement has not been released. CBC reported the existence of the posters at UNB on Sunday, Oct. 1. It is not acceptable for students to learn about what is happening on our own campus through an external source.
We feel it is very urgent to investigate the incident in a timely manner to help prevent further acts of this kind on our campus. We are happy that the UNBSU will share messages of diversity this week. However, we feel that the work of reconciliation and social justice must take place everyday and be tackled by us all. It may be easy, as a white person, to say, “I didn’t do it—this doesn’t involve me.” But we all have responsibility to fight oppression when it occurs.
This is an important opportunity for UNB to acknowledge racism in Canada at large. By being silent about this incident, what message would we be sending? By speaking out, we want to tell students and other UNB community members that this racist behaviour is the very opposite of what we want UNB to be. We will not tolerate the viewpoints expressed in these posters. We will not be silent bystanders and thereby support the oppressors.
As a group of four white women, we do not intend to speak on behalf of the Indigenous people targeted in this incident. Rather, we are voicing our defence of inclusivity as a value of the UNB community. We acknowledge there have been and still are many unfair barriers to education for Indigenous people. Being afraid of coming to school should not be an additional barrier, and we will speak out when others try to make racialized people afraid.
If we remain silent when shameful acts occur on campus, how can we call ourselves #ProudlyUNB?
Ella Ratz, Bethany Langmaid, Bethany Brenton, Brittany Landry