How would you react if your school demanded you admit to committing a crime?
To take part in an upcoming Zoom conference, students from Toronto's George Brown College were reportedly offered the option of signing an acknowledgment of white privilege and theft of land, or decline the chance to be part of the conference entirely.
It's a strange administrative sequence, as the attendees were paying access-enabling tuition.
Quillette Director of Editorial, Jonathan Kay, tweeted an image of the pre-call IT obligation. Below the clickable “I Agree,” students and faculty were slapped with this:
This has always been the place of human activities since the beginning of time. The land is the property of the Huron-Wendat tribe, Mississaugas, Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee.
The area is subject to the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant which is a deal between Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Confederacy of the Anishinabek and Allied Nations to peaceably care for and share resources around the Great Lakes.
Does this sound like a good idea? We haven't yet outlined the true diabolical nature of this.
We also recognize all Treaty peoples, including those who arrived as settlers immigrants in the present or previous generations, and the ones who came to us without a reason, and particularly forcefully dispersed Africans who came to this country as a result of Slavery and Trans-Atlantic Trade.
Next stop: Murderville…
As settlers, or as displanted, we are benefited by the genocide and colonization of people who were Indigenous indigenous peoples living in this area. In order to be involved in solidarity and resistance against the injustices of the past and present which have been imposed on those Indigenous inhabitants of the area, it is vital that we continue to engage in acts of decolonization and awareness.
The call is ready in the event that you're:
By clicking “I agree,” you indicate your agreement with this declaration.
Do not be concerned because, according to an agreement disclaimer, it's not a forced agreement.
Our intention is not to demand agreement; however, we want to provide acknowledgement. The purpose of acknowledging is to create awareness and provide opportunities to think about your own reflection. **
There are some who might suggest that a couple of points scream:
- The school mentions several tribes that presumably regularly have occupied the land. However, just the Caucasian “colonialists” must admit to lingering over it without merit.
- The school owns the land, not the faculty or the students.
- George Brown appears to be taking responsibility for a crime committed prior to the birth of the accused.
- The phrase “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still” certainly applies.
- The school is requiring students to confess to having stolen property by using as an argument the threat of denial of their right to use it. If the land contract is right, then everyone's taking part in the meeting is a direct endorsement of the crime they're simultaneously denying. It appears that the college is trying to demonstrate its morality by allowing inexplicable crimes; at the same time it is proving its morality by allowing itself to continue indulgence in those wicked acts. The college is requiring that all affected be equally socially apathetic.