The Intercultural Centre and Bow Valley College's Youth Leadership team attracted a lot of attention at the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination event held on March 21. The central message of the event was that stereotypes imprison people and rob them of their identity.
Members of the BVC community could participate by having their own mug shot taken and sharing about their experiences with discrimination. A simulation was held that highlighted the physical, emotional, and psychological wounds that discrimination can cause, and participants were invited to engage in conversations about discrimination.
Often, we may hold stereotypes in the most subtle and unaware ways, due to subliminal messages from the media, or very overt ones as well. Ideas of a race or culture may be so engrained in our minds that we may not be aware they we hold stereotypes, or that the ideas that we hold to be true, are in fact stereotypes in and of themselves. So how do we start unpacking these concepts? The first step is to understand that you are not a bad person for holding a stereotype. The critical factor is to be aware of the stereotypes that you hold about people and remove them from your thinking, as you become conscious of them.
The easiest way to remove a stereotype is to disprove it! At the Intercultural Centre, we are always finding ways to create a space for dialogue and interaction between people from different backgrounds. Talking to individuals and listening to their stories is the best way to understand that there is diversity within diversity, and that stereotypes have very little evidence to substantiate them.
Look for our Chat and Chai and Communal Table events coming in September, as a way to get to know other people and engage in dialogue with others who share in our Bow Valley College campus community.