Monday, March 17, 2014

Intentions and the U of R cheer team

Cowboys and Indians 3

The University of Regina Cheer Team posted a "cowboys and Indians" photo, hastily removed with the apology that they didn't intend to disrespect anyone.  
Well, of course not.  But as Hollie McKenzie points out ‘intention’ is not all that matters:
I believe that the U of R Cheer Team did not intend to disrespect anyone. As stereotypes of Indigenous people and a frontier narrative of white-settler ‘progress’ are part of our liberal ideology, it is possible to both have good intentions and act in racist ways within Canada and Saskatchewan. . . .  ‘good intentions’ do not undo the effects of our actions nor should they excuse them. Rather, our responsibility as a (white-settler) community needs to shift from a simple blind ‘good intentions’ (which justifies a continued ignorance of the effects of our practices) to critical reflection on our practices before we engage in them and reparations when we cause harm (whether unintentional or intentional). It needs to shift to relational accountability to and with Indigenous communities, on this land that we share. This comes through conversations and ongoing, non-crisis-driven relationships with Indigenous communities. This comes through offering reparations for our colonial past, through working with Indigenous people to change the colonial present and the racist and sexist nature of our society.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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