You are a Native? Sorry, no apartment for you.
by alysha_karma on October 19, 2015 - 12:18am
To begin, the news article entitled ‘’ ‘No Natives please’: Kijiji pulls apartment ad for Prince Albert, Sask. after complaint’’ posted by CBC News on August 25th 2015, describes how an ad, posted on Kijiji, was composed of racist comments towards the Aboriginal population. To be more precise, the publication stated ‘’ 3 bedroom east flat house, no natives please’’, thus, allowing anyone to rent the residence, besides native individuals. The landlord also added how the tenant must have a stable line of work and that a stay at home mom was not considered a valid job. When Jeanne Labelle, an aboriginal woman, read the advertisement, she was astonished by the disrespectful and offensive remarks made by the publisher. Furthermore, CBC News mentions that, Labelle contacted Kijiji and asked to remove the ad, which was in fact, disrespecting the human rights code. This was not the first time she experienced/witnessed racist behaviour towards her ethnic group. Jeanne Labelle mentions how the Aboriginal population has been on numerous occasions’ victims of racism. However, on a positive note, Jeanne Labelle, is glad that this situation was able to raise awareness about the discrimination the Aboriginal community has to face. She is overwhelmed by all the positive support this racist ad has received and is hopeful that one day, by educating the society, racism towards native individuals will be abolished.
In all honestly, this news article reinforces my initial thoughts that we do, unfortunately, live in a racist society. Many individuals in today’s society have different values, beliefs and traditions. These differences create an atmosphere filed with negativity and judgments. In this case, the fact that Aboriginals are different (skin colour, traditions etc.) they are denied the simple right to be treated as equals and to have the same opportunity as others. In other words, in this case, the fact that they are Natives, they were denied access to rent this apartment. I think that Jeanne Labelle took the proper steps by contacting Kijiji. Unlike what most individuals are doing today, she did not turn to the media or any social media sites (Facebook, Instagram,Twitter) to bash the publisher/owner. This could have created more unnecessary damage (creating social tension and two opposing sides) to not only herself, but the Aboriginal population, by placing a bigger target on her ethnic group. Moreover, the fact that Kijiji, a very popular buying/selling website, actually took the time to respond to Jeanne Labelle’s complaint, honestly shocked me. I always thought that major companies/websites, do not care about their customers and only worry about the amount of money their business regenerates. I was glad to see that Kijiji is against racism and is taking measures to abolish it. In addition, as stated by Audrey Smedley in her article ‘’ ‘’Race’’ and the Construction of Human Identity,’’ many individuals are associating the different physical features between individuals to certain social statuses. To be more precise, the Native Americans are seen as inferior violent low class citizens. ‘’Race” has become a way to identify individuals without considering that all humans possess different traits. In my opinion, the flat owner thought that Aboriginals are most likely to damage the residence (violent),therefore, they were all denied the opportunity to rent it. I think that the owner should have looked beyond the stereotype. For example, the publisher could have accepted all applications, and then have held interviews to actually see the character/personality of the possible tenants. Also, in my point of view, besides sending an email to the author of the ad, CBC News should have taken more steps, to determine the motives behind the racist advertisement. Seeing the positive side of the situation, with the immense attention this ad has received, I think Jeanne Labelle can use her voice to establish change (abolish stereotypes) about the Aboriginal community. To show that Natives are more than alcoholics, that they are as equally smart as others. To conclude, I do think it is very unfortunate that racism is present today, but by establishing severe laws against racist acts and by educating society about how stereotypes can be misleading, I definitely think like Jeanne Labelle, that racism can be eliminated.
CBC News. (2015, Aug.25). No Natives please’: Kijiji pulls apartment ad for Prince Albert, Sask. after complaint. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/ news/canada/saskatoon/no-natives-please-kijiji-pulls-apartment-ad-for-prince- albert-sask-after-complaint-1.3202505
Smedley, Audrey (2015, Summer). ‘’ ‘’Race’’ and the Construction of Human Identity’’. In A. Nouvet, (Ed) Anthropology 381-204-LA: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism (pp.692-702). Saint-Lambert, QC: Champlain College Bookstore.