Living with My Colonial Legacy – Friday Notes 131


There was a point in my life when I would feel angry when I’d read the news and see Canadian First Nations talking about the colonial legacy. When a black person would talk about slavery and imply that I had anything to do with it.

I haven’t had slaves. I haven’t knowingly committed racist acts. I didn’t separate First Nations families and send their children to residential schools then implement a pass system that wouldn’t let parents off the reserve so they would never see their children. I had nothing to do with the practice of sending really sick kids home from these schools before they died so I could say that none of them were dying in my school[^1].

While I’m long past feeling angry about these statements, I’m not sure I fully realized how I should deal with my white colonial heritage. I had told my kids that the smallest thing white people could do is have uncomfortable conversations about racism and sexism, but in many ways, I still felt at a loss about colonialism and my heritage.

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Running last week something sprung into my head out of nowhere. First Nations still deal with the results of colonialism. The Canadian government still doesn’t honour the treaty rights First Nations communities have.

People of colour still deal with the results of generations of stolen wealth and slavery. They still deal with racial profiling and carding, which ends up much like the pass systems instituted against First Nations[^2].

If all these people groups are still dealing with the results of colonialism and racism and misogyny, then I need to step into taking some measure of accountability for systemic colonialism and systemic racism and systemic misogyny. I benefit from all of these things as a white guy.

I still have no idea what that means day to day, outside of continuing to read and engage in my local community to support groups that fight for proper equity, but I’m willing to keep digging into what it means.

How are you going to deal with your cultural legacy of racism, colonialism or misogyny? If that thought makes you angry, maybe it’s time to do some more work to see how this legacy has invaded our culture and continues to impart prejudice on so many groups.

## I Shipped

Monday I [reviewed a timeblocking app called Make Time](https://curtismchale.ca/2021/01/11/time-blocking-with-make-time). It’s okay, but not great. Check the video out for more on why I won’t be using it.

Friday I looked at [The Savvy Ally](https://curtismchale.ca/2021/01/15/the-savvy-ally-by-jeannie-gainsburg), which is all about being a decent ally to the LGBTQ+ community. I feel much better equipped in the language I use after reading that book.

[^1]: See [Words Have a Past](https://curtismchale.ca/2020/03/06/words-have-a-past) and [The Inconvenient Indian](https://curtismchale.ca/2020/05/29/the-inconvenient-indian) for more on residential schools
[^2]: See [The Skin We’re In](https://amzn.to/3sfj0Ni) for more on carding. I’ll be talking about that book in a few weeks