The Elephant Is No Longer in the Room: White Supremacy Has Always Been a Problem in North America

Between Trump's impeachment and the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, the early days of 2021 are proving to be even more chaotic than 2020. This year is already forcing us all to confront some uncomfortable truths, such as the undeniable presence of white supremacy in North America.

Many think of white supremacy as a thing of the past, often looking at the racist history of the USA as an example. When conversations were started regarding the undeniable presence of white supremacy still in both the USA and Canada, many were met with resistance, with people stating that there was no such thing as systemic racism. However, this all changed during the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021. 

This insurrection not only brought into focus the damaging ideologies and practices of white nationalists, but also the white privilege that remains central in today’s society. Their presence and hateful rhetoric have been justified and excused year after year at the expense of minority groups. As these white nationalist groups grow both in numbers and resources, we must ask: who is responsible for their growth and proliferation?

When it comes to protection, America's attention has been set on foreign terrorists and minority groups. White supremacist ideologies have long been present in America’s political and legal systems, a fundamental part of why the dangers of white nationalism were swept under the rug. In 2019, the FBI reported that white nationalists presented the greatest threat to American security (The Intercept). However, this was by and large ignored by both politicians and law enforcement agencies, who continue to put the bulk of their focus on international threats.

These problems and harmful ideologies aren’t just limited to the USA. Many individuals in Canada still remain passive or in denial of the supremacy and racial inequality that their country is rooted in. For example, many still protest the renaming or removal of Canadian figureheads who represent Canada’s colonial and supremacist past, such as former prime minister John A. Macdonald. Canada has large issues with institutionalized racism that have long allowed white individuals to profit over their minority counterparts. Studies have shown that out of nine international countries, Canada ranked fourth highest in hiring bias (Global).

However, whether motivated by economic incentives or a genuine desire for equality, changes have started to be made as a result of racial injustices coming to the forefront. With the government creating funding opportunities for black individuals and investing in police reform and community support, change is occurring. There are more organizations taking action against racism through the creation of black or minority-run programs, allowing opportunities for minorities to have a greater voice and control than before (CBC).

2021 has already been a crazy year, but hopefully, some good can come out of it. By confronting these systemic issues in our society, we are moving towards peace and a place of greater change.

Sources:

Trudeau announces new loan program for Black entrepreneurs as Singh calls for action against systemic racism

John A. Macdonald defenders fear admitting Canada is 'linked to white supremacy,' scholars say

UNREDACTED FBI DOCUMENT SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON WHITE SUPREMACIST INFILTRATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

Study finds ‘racial and ethnic discrimination’ in hiring process in Canada, elsewhere