racism in newfoundland

People in Newfoundland say it's time to acknowledge that racism exists there too

As provinces and cities across Canada continue to hold protests and fight back against the racism experienced by Black people every day here and abroad, many in Newfoundland and Labrador have chosen a different route and are instead claiming that racism simply doesn't exist there. 

One viral TikTok video in particular in which a young white girl claims she believes all people have the same rights and "everybody's life matters," has gained significant attention and is rightfully sparking outrage among all those who've experienced or witnessed racism in the province.

"I am 100 per cent confident that George Floyd was not killed on purpose or especially because of his skin colour," she says in the video.

"Coloured people have just as much rights as white people so, I mean, I don't get where y'all are coming from that black lives matter."

In response to this clip as well as countless other statements that racism simply isn't an issue in the province, many have taken to social media to discount this notion by sharing their own experiences.

"If you think racism isn't here in Newfoundland, you're fucking wrong," wrote one Twitter user. "Junior high I'll never forget it, when a student from my school called me from an unknown number making bombing noises, as if I was a terrorist because the colour of my skin and my fathers background being Hindu."

"Newfoundlanders literally invented a racial slur to describe the indigenous/french people of western Newfoundland," wrote another. "We have a history of racism, and If you know what word I'm talking about without saying it then that's all the evidence you need that racism still exists today."

"Don't talk to me about there being no racism in Newfoundland," wrote yet another understandably outraged Newfie. "A brown kid in my neighborhood was relentlessly teased and called 'Arab-bu Dhabi' and in my elementary school, a kid that fellow students thought looked First Nations was called 'skimo'...yes,Eskimo is a racial slur."

According the 2016 StatsCan census, of the 519,716 people living in Newfoundland and Labrador at that time, just 11,810 identified as being a visible minority. And of those people, only 2,355 identified as Black.

In other words, Newfoundland is a predominantly white province. But many are pointing out that someone who's never met a Black person is the last individual who should be weighing on the issue of racism. 

And others are saying ignorance is simply not an excuse. 

"Ignorance of racism does not excuse racism. There are many towns in Newfoundland that don’t have a lot of people who identify as BIPOC. That's not an excuse. If you can access the internet to make a Tik Tok, you can access the internet to research and learn about systemic racism," one Twitter user aptly pointed out.

"Remember, above all else, that it is an ally's responsibility to learn about racism and how they can help to combat it. The fact that you don't personally know a Black person is no longer an excuse to be racist, #Newfoundland. Let's do better."

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