Written by Malissa Phung
March 21, 2010 marked the 50th year anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre when sixty nine South Africans were killed by the police for peacefully protesting against the apartheid “pass laws.” The apartheid government passed legislation that forced coloured and black South Africans to carry passbooks for racial identification, a daily process of surveillance and racialization that restricted and segregated their geographical mobility, place of residence, and labour conditions on the basis of race. This day has since been declared by the United Nations General Assembly to be the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in order to commemorate the Sharpeville massacre and to mobilize a global effort of struggle against racism and discrimination.
On March 21, 2010, Gary McHale and his followers in Caledonia attempted to co-opt this day and organize a so-called “Anti-Racist Rally,” in order to claim that white residents in Caledonia are the victims of “reverse racism” at the hands of people from Six Nations and the provincial government. Some of us from CUPE 3906 joined the CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group to protest McHale’s so-called “Anti-Racist Rally,” effectively transforming his rally into a peaceful demonstration that fostered a productive dialogue with the remaining Caledonia residents: as a result, McHale’s “reverse racism” arguments were debunked.
If you would like more information about the contentious topic of “reverse racism” or about the rally in Caledonia, check out the following blog links:
Blog posting that addresses the probematic discourses of some white anti-racists: http://resistracism.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/why-i-hate-white-anti-racists/
CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group: http://3903fnswg.wordpress.com/
And this link to their blog to showcase the ways in which they redeploy the discourse of anti-racism and anti-oppression to protect their white privilege and colonial land claims: http://voiceofcanada.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/join-merlyn-kinrades-anti-racism-rally-in-caledonia-on-march-2110/