Clearing a New Path™ and Clearing a New Path Podcast™ are products of Radar Media, located in Dorchester, Ontario on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Neutral peoples who once used this land as their traditional beaver hunting grounds.
As a settler here I’m committed to deepening understanding of Indigenous communities and reframing responsibilities to land and community.
I am grateful to Mother Earth for the opportunity for love and connection and to the spirits of the Elders and the Medicine People who still walk the Earth.
JANUARY 11, 2023
I come to this work as a white woman of privilege; a vulnerable allyship student.
I get things wrong often and I am open to, and welcome opportunities to be called in about the content in this newsletter, in order to create safe, brave spaces for all.
The purpose is to unite people in rural Canada.
I am grateful to walk along this journey in grace, love and empathy together.
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CAN WE ACKNOWLEDGE WHITE SUPREMACY IN RURAL CANADA?
Hello Amazing Humans,
I took some time to reflect on the first three months of this second season of the podcast after the last podcast episode and the last newsletter. I also got married in there too.
I send out this weekly newsletter to about 850 subscribers across rural Canada. One of the things I include in each newsletter is acknowledging my white privilege.
A woman recently wrote me a reply to the last newsletter and said,
“White privilege? I thought you recognized the true plight of rural Canada but the obvious claptrap in this video says otherwise. Very disappointing.”
I asked her for further clarification because there wasn’t a video but there was a podcast episode. (I also had to look up the meaning of claptrap.)
Her response was:
“I don't think you know what white privilege is. It is working your heart out to try to make ends meet while a corrupt government takes whatever they can in taxes to feather their own nests. The term is offensive regardless of its intent. This type of journalism only promotes division and animosity. The comment is highly racist. A response is not required. I can tell by the article that we are miles apart in our views.”
And so I’ve been sitting in that. Thinking deeply about the comments. This reaction is not unique nor new but I've been trying to hold space for folks who hold opposing views. It's been a sincere challenge. I believe that people with opposing viewpoints CAN come together to solve common rural Canadian problems but I’ve realized we all need to acknowledge some common truths. And one of them is that we are all living under white supremacist, capitalist, colonial systems that only benefit some of us. There I said it.
I watched the documentary “Deconstructing Karen” (you can watch for free now on CBC Gem) with Saira Rao and Regina Jackson, two women of colour who host dinners with white women that they call Race2Dinners. To say watching this documentary changed me would be a huge understatement.
You can read more about my reflections on the website blog here.
And then in walks Belinda Clemmensen. She answered my call out for rural authors and rural books, and while we did talk about Belinda’s book, Women, Leadership and Saving the World, Why Everything Gets Better When Women Lead, we talked about so much more! Belinda had seen the documentary and also read Rao and Jackson’s book White Women: Everything You Already Knew About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better.
We talked about white supremacy, equity, intersectionality and where we go from here.
Belinda is the Founder of the Women's Leadership Intensive. A changemaker herself, she believes that women are not only capable of changing the world, we will be a driving force in making it happen.
WANT TO JOIN A CIRCLE OR BOOK CLUB TO EXAMINE OUR OWN BIASES AND RACISM?
I am going to start meeting with women in my own community, in person, to discuss our biases and how we uphold the merits of oppressive systems.
If you’d like to form a virtual circle, along with other folks across rural Canada, then email me here. I’ll nail down a date for an initial meeting and we’ll go from there.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Remember the Walkerton Water Crisis?
It made national headlines when in the community of less than 5000 people, seven people perished (including children) and 2300 got sick in a rural Ontario community because of contaminated drinking water.
That was back in the spring of 2000. A boil water advisory was issued by the local health unit and five people died before the current Premier, Mike Harris showed up. The days following, an inquiry was called.
This was a national tragedy, one riddled with neglect. It meant changes to systems.
In 2010, the United Nations declared water and sanitation human rights, acknowledging they are essential to the realization of all other rights.
In 2023, in Canada there are currently 34 First Nations communities under long-term boil water advisories, some for over 25 years. This is unacceptable. It’s also a colossal waste of federal money.
There are neighbouring municipalities who could be engaging and working with First Nations communities. Why isn’t this happening?
Does someone have to die for something to be done???
Onieda Nation of the Thames, within the county where I live, was under a State of Emergency over the holidays.
We’ll talk more about this next week.
MORE TOPICS AND SEGMENTS
I’m still planning on releasing a Rural Canadian News in Five audio roundup each week but that won’t start for a little bit.
You can count on more rural health care topics as this is a pain point for so many rural communities, we’ll talk about development vs conservation - which rural communities are finding a balance, we’ll talk about municipal politics - what is your rural municipality responsible for and how can you enact change and we’ll be releasing the Rural Canadian Minute segments, a partnership with the University of Guelph Rural History Department.
Stay tuned, and as always, thank you for reading.. listening and supporting!
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