Death and taxes used to be the only two certainties in life—but no matter how much progress it feels like we’re making sometimes, the sad fact is you can probably slide racism into that list, too. Are we in a moment of uprising that feels like it has the potential to create real, systemic change? Yes. Do people and organizations still show their ass on a daily basis? Oh, most definitely. And to keep tabs on all that ass-showing, we’re pleased to present our semi-regular racism surveillance machine. Stay woke, and keep your head on a swivel out there.
Alberta, the province in Canada not named after one of your aunties, is feeling some shame after an essay contest meant to elevate women awarded one of its cash prizes to an essay promoting sexist, racist views about breeding for racial purity.
As reported by the Edmonton (a good uncle name) Journal this week, Alberta's United Conservative Party held an essay contest in February called Her Vision Inspires, calling for women between the ages of 17 and 25 to write about what they'd do if they were part of the province's legislative assembly.
The top two essays were about encouraging women to pursue careers in politics and increasing voter turnout. But the third, which won $200 in Canadian money (about $157 in U.S. dollars), argued Canadian women should be having more babies in order to avoid "cultural suicide." Yikes! Critics of the essay called it not just sexist and racist, but also transphobic and fascist hate speech. And don’t even get us started on all the commas!
The essay, written by someone identified as S. Silver ("Segregationist Silver?"), said Albertans should fight to keep "foreigners" from replacing the province's population, echoing the right-wing dogma about mass migration and low birth rates replacing White populations with non-Whites. The essay suggested women who give birth to more than two (presumably White) children "to shore up the race" should be given medals or financial incentives.
Once the essay-contest organizers were alerted to the problematic content (after they'd presumably read the essay and deemed it prizeworthy), all three essays were removed from the Legislative Assembly of Canada's website. (Turns out, the first-place winner had its own share of problems.)
The head of the judging panel, Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, at first said the contest was meant to give a range of viewpoints from Canadian women, but later added that the essay shouldn't have been chosen. "It's clear the process failed, and I apologize for my role in that," she said.
Suggestion: If you're going to have an essay contest called "Her Vision Inspires," make sure her inspiring vision isn't some Nazi bullshit.