*In response to:
Razack, S. (2002). Race, space, and the law: Unmapping a white settler society. Toronto: Between the Lines. pgs 121-156
- What does Razack’s article make it possible for you to think about in terms of your own identity in this colonial space? How might this trouble your sense of how you can be a teacher?
I was surprised at the amount of racism and prejudice I read about in this article that came from the “system”. By that I mean that I was appalled that the defense tried to blame Pamela’s murder on an Aboriginal man. I was appalled that the judge swayed the jury by confirming their likely already biased opinions that because Pamela was a prostitute and a First Nation woman, she had less human rights. It is intriguing how back in the early days the judge asked the jury to re-think Fisk’s innocence and remove his race to look at the evidence. Such the opposite happened to Pamela. Oppression such as this should be diminished and making all lives more valuable. Unfortunately, white privilege is real and racism runs deep in the thoughts and processes of people that are in power.
Personally, I view being a classroom teacher as a place of power in the school. I have the ability to make sure that white privilege and racism do not harm any students while they are in my classroom, and hopefully they will carry that with them outside of school. White privilege will have power over me that I may not be able to change, but in my classroom I can do my best to make students aware and act empathetically and respectively to all people. I want to take a part in educating society so that there are no judges and defense lawyers who will accuse people solely on the fact that they are First Nation or work as prostitutes.
I found it very interesting how Razack wrote that Pamela George was dehumanized. How very sad and true that statement is. Pamela’s murder was justified by the fact that she was a prostitute and consented to provide sexual services. I keeping thinking about what would had happened if she had been there to defend herself and perhaps explain her side of the story. I do not believe that she would have said that she asked for murder by selling herself for sex. I think that a person does not sell their body unless they are desperate, and regardless of their desperation they do not ask for murder. I find it sad that in order for the men to even get a prostitute in their car, one of them had to hide in the trunk. This proves that Pamela and the other women know there was danger. They did their best to protect themselves, and these boys took advantage of it. It is never ok for someone to beat another human being. They left her face down in the mud and did not look back and for that they deserve a life sentence.
Razack makes mention that the white man visits the inner city with the purpose of gaining and keeping control as a white person. The murderers travel into the inner city and back out again and “can survive a dangerous encounter with the racial Other and who have an unquestioned right to go anywhere and do anything” (Razack, 2002, p. 127). I have never thought about that before and I both agree and disagree. How does a population of white people start to disintegrate that border? My best guess is to integrate ourselves into the life and culture of the inner city and start crossing those lines without feeling like we need to go back across to where we belong. . The political aspect of this is so overwhelming to think about because right now society demands separation. I believe the societal pressures to keep segregation alive can be challenged in schools. Although it is true that a child’s family and home life are obviously influential on their values and beliefs, I think it is also true that a large portion of those can come from school as well. As a teacher I plan to teach my students empathy and love for one another. All humans are equal and deserve to be treated with respect. Starting at a young age in early childhood classrooms is the way to start changing society for the better. Statistics shows that for the first time in 50 years the population of children ages 0-4 in Saskatchewan has increased by 19% since the 2006 census (2011). This means that even more children will be going to school, and even more children can become children that can make a difference in society.