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Ujjal Dosanjh, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism and Kit Krieger, President of B.C. Teachers' Federation, unveiled three posters at Shoreline Community School on June 1, 1998. Along with the posters, an anti-racism leaflet was designed to fit in students' wallets. The material will be distributed to schools throughout the province.
After the unveiling a question and answer period took place. The following transcripts are excerpts from the question and answer period:
Question: What else besides the poster campaign are you planning to do towards the elimination of racism?
Minister response: New drama troupe launched a year ago, TROO. Performed 950 times in the last year throughout BC about discrimination hate and bias. In B.C. we continue to deal with the issue, while in other parts of the country, Ontario, they fail to deal with multiculturalism. It is important to have partnerships between government, schools, community, etc.
Question: Is there much racism in schools in B.C.?
Minister response: Understands that there is, but it must be placed in a context. There has been a history of racism in B.C. We have come a long way, have many government representatives who are visible minorities. Schools have also come a long way, however, there is still work to be done. School is a microcosm of the community, however, it can also act as an example for the community.
Question: Do you think that racism in this province is related to violence?
Minister response: Yes, racism can lead to violence unless you take positive actions. Not long ago, 6 million Jews were killed and in Rwanda ethnic cleansing took place. No question unless you deal with racism in a firm way it can lead to violence.
Question: Where is racism most obvious in B.C.?
Minister response: Kit provided the answer. Aboriginal communities have been subjected to much racism. It has been at the core of how Aboriginals have been dealt with. They are now trying to correct the situation, but it is very difficult. Dealings with Aboriginals is where racism has been the most obvious in this country and province.
Question: If you were at a supermarket and a cashier was being racist to another customer, how would you deal with it?
Minister response: Agrees it is very difficult to confront racism. He would not leave the scene, when his turn arrived he would speak to the cashier. It is important to do so in a way that would not exacerbate the situation. Don't be judgmental, suggest a better way of handling the situation. Too often we antagonize others by declaring "you're wrong". If you suggest alternatives it would be a preferable approach.
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