Helping mitigate cultural appropriation through our racially conscious guide - making ethical decisions about consuming culture
Cultural appropriation or cultural ignorance can seem innocent at first. You can think, “What bad does this do other than offend people? Offending people won’t kill anybody.” While you are correct that offending people isn’t the same as killing someone, it is still very damaging. By culturally appropriating a culture, you are erasing the history and significance of that culture and those people. You are taking their culture and claiming it as your own, suggesting that the voices of those who have been oppressed simply do not matter.
While this sounds extreme, we encourage you to take a step back and think about it. Marginalized communities have, quite frankly, been to hell and back, and continue to do so every single day. From the beginning of colonization, Indigenous people have been abused, murdered and assimilated to erase their culture. Black people were forced as slaves, abused and lynched because they were not recognized as humans. Japanese people were separated from their families and put into internment camps, forcing them into hard labour with little pay. These are just a few examples. While Western society has certainly come a long way in regards to racism, discrimination is still prevalent today. Each of the groups mentioned above are still, to this day, not treated equally to white people. For many individuals in marginalized communities, their cultures are the pillars of their strength. But even then, internalized racism — sometimes known as internalized racial oppression — still affects many people of colour who are victims of racism. This subtle and systemic oppression can affect one’s relationship with themselves, causing inner self-hatred and confusion in all aspects of life.
Cultural appropriation can be embodied in many different forms. It can be done through your clothing, accessories, decorations, food and even the things you do. Not stealing someone’s culture and giving them credit for it — especially someone who is beneath you on the power dynamic — is a form of respecting the aspects of them that are culturally significant and giving them the power to decide what to do with it.
It is important to note that, if you are guilty of culturally appropriating a different culture, you are not a bad person. Instead, it is your responsibility to educate yourself about the damage that is done through taking someone else’s culture and claiming it as your own. More importantly, it is your responsibility to learn what role you can play in deconstructing racial hierarchy systems and work towards that goal.
It is possible to appreciate and participate in the diverse cultures around the world, and do so in a respectful manner. We are here to help guide you with our Racially Conscious Guide.
Cultural Appreciation Fair is an opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultures in our community and engage with them through educational discussions and respect. There will be numerous cultural booths, educational resources, performances, artist talks, free food and more!
The event takes place on Saturday September 28 from noon to 5pm at the New Horizon Mall (260300 Writing Creek Cres, Balzac - next to crossiron mills). If your ethnic/cultural community association wants to take part, please connect with us and we can further discuss.
This is a 2019 Culture Days event funded by United Nations Association in Canada - Calgary and organized by Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation.
RSVP on eventbrite
In an age of increasing political and social polarization, how do we understand the diverse and divisive viewpoints that are fueling opinions in Alberta? Through stories, interviews and information sharing, the Common Ground podcast explores narratives of hate and counter-hate to understand if we have any hope of finding common ground.
This project was created in partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (Iman Bukhari) and MacEwan University (Irfan Chaudhry).
Our latest Research Study: Educators Perspectives of Multiculturalism and Racism in Alberta K-12 Classrooms
Racism creates a ripple effect of exceedingly detrimental impacts to individuals, communities, and the collective wellbeing of any given geographical or social region as a whole. Though all who experience racism are subject its negative and harmful effects, children are especially vulnerable to the consequences. Racism exists in many forms, including racially or culturally-based prejudice, discrimination, bias, stereotyping, or violence. In order to gauge the level of racism that school-aged children experience in Alberta, as well as assess teacher preparedness with regards to teaching multiculturalism in classrooms, we conducted a research project and subsequent report outlining the issues. The report examines race relations in K-12 classrooms throughout urban and rural Alberta, and measures teacher knowledge and preparedness in the context of educating students on multiculturalism and racism.
From August 2017 to June 2018, teachers were contacted in person and online to complete an anonymous survey that answered various questions related to the research topic. Teachers were also given the opportunity to elaborate on their responses through comments on the online questionnaire, as well as through in person interviews. The researchers received 150 responses that were later used for the purposes of data analysis and to compose a research report that was released to the public on July 22, 2019. Another purpose of the research was for the foundation to examine if there is a need to develop a K-12 resource hub that teachers could utilize in order to teach multiculturalism, anti-racism, and inclusion to their classrooms in the future.
Within the results, half of respondents surveyed answered that students at their schools do engage in racism. This result is significant as it supports the idea that racism is still a considerable problem in Alberta that impacts children and youth, whose brains, personalities, and identities are still developing. Further research results are outlined in the report.
It is hoped that our research results will raise awareness about the magnitude of the issues discussed, and that further steps will be taken in order to address racism among school-aged children, including future research projects.
Highlights in images
On June 16, 2019, the conservative party members from the Coalition Avenir Quebec, passed legislation known as Bill 21 which bans state workers from wearing religious symbols in a move toward secularism. The bill specifically targets items including hijabs, turbans, kippahs, as well as publicly worn crosses.
As an organization, Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation's mission is to improve race relations across Canada and to better support the diversity of our world through policy and practice. This legislation shows that our work must continue in collaboration until all forms of hate are eliminated. We disagree with this bill and condemn the acts of the conservative government for their acts of religious discrimination. While the government has stated that the bill upholds the secular identity of Quebec, we believe that the bill clearly targets religious minorities and their practices, forcing individuals to choose between their religion and their jobs.
Thousands of Quebec citizens, now more than ever, will be openly discriminated against and could be the target of hate crimes that could now be legitimized by way of this bill and its proponents. We have to all ensure we are creating a shift in our society to ensure all members feel safe and are able to participate, instead of creating division.
Drop by our interactive art installation during Empathy Week. Participants are invited to tie a ribbon onto a wall, on which they have written a wish or a prayer. This free event allows us to experience what others wish for or think about, in order to connect to the human experience and empathize with others.
This installation was inspired by the concept of tying wishes or prayers onto objects, which has been practiced in various world cultures and traditions for thousands of years. This event takes place during Empathy Week and is created in partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, Humainologie and Arts Commons.
Empathy Week is a seven-day festival of events which promote empathy, human connection and the recognition of our shared humanity.
Alberta’s first council dedicated to combating racism will bring expertise and experience to assist in government’s commitment to end racism.
The council includes 24 members plus Education Minister David Eggen, who is responsible for government’s anti-racism initiative. The council will advise government as it develops strategies to end racism and discrimination in Alberta. This council is the first of its kind in the province.
More than 300 Albertans applied to participate on the council. Members were selected for their demonstrated leadership abilities and experience in advocating for diverse communities. The council includes people from various faiths and other diversities, and members represent regions across the province.
Congratulations to our founding member, Iman Bukhari, for getting a spot on the council!
The launch of our Race Issues publication and meme campaign has been incredibly well received. At the launch of the event and 3 days of the exhibition, we had a total of 400 people come out and engage in the comic art, as well as speak and write about their own experiences. It has been a great learning opportunity for local Calgarians, especially youth. The online campaign has also taken off and we're hoping for it to go viral.
Help us spread the word by hashtaging #raceissues and sharing our images. Find out more about the project.
Our annual and national Anti-Racism Arts Festival will take place in Vancouver this year. This free festival is an opportunity for citizens to take part in anti-racism action through arts.
All events take place at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House - Annex, 3690 Vanness Ave, Vancouver, BC V5R 5B6
Take part in the festival today!
Over the past year, Artist (and our amazing team member) Eman Elkadri has been working on a comic series about the experiences of racialized youth living in Canada. Join us as we launch and exhibit her work.
You can expect to see 40 unique comics about microaggressions, hear from Eman about her inspiration, as well as hear from some of the youth she worked with, plus learn more about what you can do. We will also be launching the Race Issues publication (thanks to a partnership with ActionDignity Youth PLACE Program). This is a free event that is open to all ages. The launch will take place on Thursday January 3 at The New Gallery (208 Centre Street South Calgary) at 6:30pm. Refreshments will be served during the launch.
The exhibit will continue during January 4 and 5 (12pm - 6pm).
We would like to thank The New Gallery for their support and allowing us to use their space. This project has been created in partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation and ActionDignity Youth PLACE Program.
Location's Land Acknowledgement:
The New Gallery is located in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The city of Calgary is also home to Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
Find out more about the project here