Responding to discrimination is in the spotlight after Roseanne Barr’s controversial tweet many are calling racist.
Barr’s ABC show Roseanne was quickly cancelled after she referred to Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to Barack Obama, as a child of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes in a tweet.
A Red Deer organization, the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society (UAVS), is aiming to teach people how to deal with things like this by hosting an Anti-discrimination Response Training session June 19-20.
Tanya Schur, UAVS community facilitator, said the goal of the training session is to “teach people how to respond when they experience or witness discrimination happening.”
“We know when we experience it or witness it that it’s not OK, but all too often we don’t say something because we don’t know how to say something and be safe,” Schur said.
After the session participants will be certified to offer these workshops in their own communities.
Discrimination is a problem and challenge in Central Alberta, said Schur.
“It doesn’t mean people are bad, it means we aren’t used to being with others,” she said. “Diversity brings these challenges that often end in discrimination, whether they’re comments or actions that come from the biases we grow up with.”
Schur said diversity can refer to many things, including gender, age and ethnicity.
“As our communities become more diverse we have to deal with our own personal biases and uncomfortableness,” she said. “We need to create a capacity within each one of us to address discrimination and to hold each other accountable for making sure Red Deer is a welcoming and inclusive community.”
Incidents like Barr’s tweet and the racist rant in a Lethbridge Denny’s that was caught on video a few weeks ago show that North America has more work to do, said Schur.
“It’s important we respond immediately, especially for victims of discrimination and racism,” she said. “But we all need to be mindful that not everything is racism and not everything is discrimination. I hope in time we’ll learn better assertive communication skills to open up conversations about diversity that are peaceful and harmonious.”
Dr. Ishu Ishiiyama, an associate professor of counselling psychology at the University of British Columbia, will event’s presenter. He developed the Anti-discrimination Response Training program.
Twenty-five people will be able to participate in the training session. To register visit www.carcpd.ab.ca/program/2912.