The Martlet accepts Letters to the Editor! Letters must be 200 words or less and cannot contain any images, videos, or links. They must be written by an individual (not anonymous) and cannot be authored by a group. If you would like to submit a letter, you may email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your full name and phone number.
It has been ten years since the Martlet published my letter to the editor documenting my experience at an on-campus event, and since then, my perspective has changed. At that event, a friend and I, both white-passing Indigenous people, attended a movie night for Indigenous and people of colour (IPoC). We were turned away.
As a young Metis-Cree woman who began experiencing being “not enough Indigenous” or “not enough white” for the first time in university, I had a hard time understanding this exclusion. I felt stuck in this in-between place where I was never fully welcome because I only checked half-boxes. I was learning how the world worked and lashed out where I shouldn’t have.
I took exclusion from this movie night personally and wrote that letter. What I should have done was be less reactive and advise the person running the movie night that we were Indigenous. I should have spoken with the SOCC directly. The way I chose to handle this was misguided, uninformed, harmful, and wrong. I should have understood that this display of privilege is one of the reasons closed spaces exist. I apologize for my actions.
After significant learning and personal work I understand my comments were harmful. I would like to directly address the claims I made in the final paragraph of the letter:
- We did not experience extreme racism.
- Closed events are not racist.
- While closed events such as those put on by the SOCC may exclude some people, they do so for good reason: so those who are included are able to feel safe and free to express themselves without fear of reprisal. Closed events should be allowed on all campuses.
- If a room of white people told a PoC they were not welcome, uproar would correctly result. The difference when there is a room of IPoC requesting exclusion is that these are healing, safe spaces that exist to provide escape from the white frameworks existing everywhere else. If you are having a hard time understanding this concept, I recommend this article.
While I still navigate being a white-passing Indigenous person, I strive to use my privilege to advocate for Indigenous and other marginalized communities. I hope my actions and community work show my learning in this area. I hope this letter begins to repair any harm I may have caused.
This Letter was submitted by Victoria Perrie.