Instead of a Mid-Term paper, my Professor Mike met individually with each of us for about an hour to talk about some very important questions. Before I went to my meeting with Mike I had heard a little bit about a few of the other meetings, so I kind of knew what to expect and did not feel too intimidated. Once I got there I didn’t feel nervous at all, but I was curious as to what we would be talking about. What I really enjoyed about the meeting with Mike was how relaxed it was. It did have some structure, since I answered the four questions that I had prepared beforehand, but it was also relaxing in a way because we talked about things or issues as they came up.
What really challenged me during this conversation was the fact that we talked about difficult topics that made me feel sad. For example, we watched a video about different girls who were of color and how they have been labelled as people who would hurt you or steal something from you because of their skin color. This video was difficult for me to watch, but I know that these ideas exist in our society and they will most likely show up in my classroom, so I cannot deny that they exist.
To be honest, as I was discussing these topics with Mike, I did not seem to show a lot of emotions while I was in the conversation, but it wasn’t until later that night that what we had discussed in the morning had really hit me. The reason I felt so much sadness was because I felt that I could not get away from my racism. I am such a compassionate, empathetic person and the thought that I could still be racist and have racist thoughts without really realizing it made me even more sad. When Mike called me out and called me racist in the meeting, I knew that I was, but I also knew that I tried my hardest not to be. I shared a story with him that I try to go out of my way by noticing that I should offer people of color the chance to get onto the bus first and not to go ahead of them. By doing this I am acknowledging them and seeing them as important, unlike other white people at the bus stop some days in my experience. I saw this as a small gesture that removed me from being racist, but later that night, I was thinking about how I would get to my boyfriend’s house and I realized that I didn’t want to take the bus because I had a racist thought that I shouldn’t take the bus because there could be some “sketchy” people on the bus that late at night. Then I realized what I had thought about the people who take the bus late at night and felt awful. I cried that I had assumed this and I cried over the fact that it is so unfair for people of color to be labeled and treated differently because of their color. I also cried over the fact that I am still going to fail at trying not to be racist or have racist thoughts.
Another thing that I was challenged with in this meeting, was my answer as to why Treaty Education is important. I have been learning how important it is and I know that it is important, but I need to be able to put my thoughts into words and make sure that my students and their parents know why Treaty Education is important to all of us. So far, my answer would be that Treaty Education is important because it is a part of Canada’s history, and we are all Treaty People who are in relationship with each other on this land that we call Canada. I think that after this meeting I have realized that white people need to reconcile with the First Nations people because of how we have poorly treated them, and we as white people need to pick up our end of the deal, stop being blind or ignorant to the truth about residential schools and educate ourselves or seek education from others, so that we can come back together again and uphold our end of the Treaties. I believe that to reconcile with the First Nations people, we need to stop being inactive and start being active when it comes to reconciliation. We need to pick up the slack and read the TRC.