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. 

 

 

References 

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.

Comments

Firstly, I am commenting here because the title was strongly appealing to me. It is also a very interesting topic, and it is important to realize that this is still an issue in today's society. It is very disturbing to see how a landlord or a janitor can be racist against a particular group. Racism has been present in the native community for quite some time, and we should definitely put an end to it. People who have the finances and that are able to afford an apartment should be allowed to rent one no strings attached. Being racist against other minority groups could lead to poverty in extreme cases, where people would have to live on the street because they would have no where else to go. The thought of this is excruciating, which is why things must definitely change for the better, and soon. People need to become more involved indeed, help further identify the problem, and welcome the minorities with open arms rather than with closed doors. Although it may be difficult to do at first, it is important to realize that there are many different races all around us, and that race or skin color does not in any way define a person or what they are.

I completely agree with you that, even today, unfortunately, we still live in a racist society. I also like the way you approached the news article. Instead of criticizing the publisher of the ad, you point out the actions that Jeanne Labelle took; thus suggesting ideas on how to stop racism in our society. Your post is quite interesting and I would like to add a detail to it. The apartment owner is clearly racist toward Natives, but I think that the owner is also a misogynist. The fact that the owner explicitly stated “stay at home mom is not considered a valid job” shows his hatred towards women. Moms who wish to stay at home to take care of her children are perfectly normal. Since moms who decide to stay at home are usually financially stable because their husband works, there is absolutely no reason for the owner to refuse to lease his apartment to a stay at home mom. The only reason that I can think of why the owner refuses to lease his apartment to a stay at home mom is because he is a misogynist. In other words, the owner doesn’t want that his apartment to be always occupied by a woman. I might be wrong, but that’s my way to see the situation.

Hi! The comments on the Kijiji ad are truly disgusting, but unfortunately not that rare. I also wrote a piece on racism against Native Americans (specifically women) and how it seems to be a problem all over North America. You can read more about it here: http://www.newsactivist.com/en/articles/champlain-college-2016-newsactiv...

As stated in your summary, it wasn't the first time that Jeanne witnessed some sort of discrimination towards her ethnic background, and that is the case for almost all Native American people. They spend their entire lives dealing with this and there seems to be a huge disconnect between them and the rest of society, almost like nobody is aware. Our writings are connected because we both wrote about someone (or multiple people) that have been heavily discriminated against for no other reason than that they are Native. The writer of this ad also seems to have a problem with women, which was also a huge issue in my piece. Thanks for sharing!