• Gus Hill

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Couverture de La suprématie de la blancheur en travail social. S’affirmer sans s’effacer, Volume 38, numéro 2, 2021, p. 5-223, Canadian Social Work Review / Revue canadienne de service social

Aaniin, Waase-gaaboo Ndizhnikaaz, Anishnaabe Endaw, Obadjiwaan miinwaa Bawating Ndoonjibaa. Hello, my ceremonial spirit name is Waase-Gaaboo, and the name that I have been called for my whole life is Gus Hill. I am of Ojibwe, British, and French ancestry. I grew up in Batchawana Bay, and Sault Ste. Marie in the province of Ontario. My ancestors come from the North Shore of Lake Huron and the Eastern shore of Lake Superior, in Ontario. I write this editorial on behalf of the collective editorial board of the Canadian Social Work Review (CSWR). In an effort to attend to my relational accountability to you, our colleagues, I invited reflections from the members of the journal’s editorial board. I was asked to stand in front of this themed issue of the journal, and I do so humbly. I will share some of these reflections here. Please note that I am reclaiming my Indigeneity by not capitalizing the colonial nouns. This special themed issue on the Supremacy of Whiteness in Social Work came out of many years of discussion within the editorial board of the CSWR. The past decade has seen reflections and outrage about the governments, neo-fascism, neo-nazi-ism, and anti-BIPOC racism occurring in ever-increasing frequency across north america resulting in the Black Lives Matter and Idle No More movements. I am proud to be the co-editor of this collection of papers. I am encouraged by the messages these articles contain. It is a challenge to respond to powerful topics such as Whiteness in a timely way. When is the right time? Is there a wrong time? In this sense, it is always timely to make and hold space for our colleagues to dismantle Whiteness. The collection of writings contained in this issue make me think there are some serious questions that need to be answered, not necessarily in dialogue, but in embodiment, in action, in social work practice, research, and education. It is time for collective action that is not just about words; to address our complicity and our complacency with regard to Whiteness. Whiteness affects us all, and to varying degrees we are all colonized. Simple observation: I am writing this piece in the english language, and you will read it in the “two official languages” of colonial canada. Can we talk about Whiteness? This is a genuine question that I ask you, because the majority of you are of White ancestry. More pointedly, can we talk about Whiteness without White people becoming defensive, wounded, aggressive, and even violent? Can we talk about racial trespass? About racism? Can we ride this train of discourse without it jumping tracks to something else, such as gendered-violence, lateral violence, and other forms of violence that settlers use to armour up against discussions about inherent racism? This occurs so quickly it is imperceptible. When one is impassioned and assertive about experiences of racism, this is not violence, and it is not personal. So, I ask again “Can we have these conversations about Whiteness without detraction, distraction, deflection, and armouring up in defence?” What does it mean to be e-raced? I have been reflecting on the term “gaslighting” lately; referring to making someone question their own reality—in this case, race. Experiences of minimalizing, essentializing, and reductionistic discourses that make racialized people question their own experiences of racism is an example of colonialism in action. I have experienced this very phenomenon where a White friend will explain away incidents of racism committed by another White person. Often, words such as intentions, or “they are a good person” or that I have “misunderstood” them are used. Why …