Anti-racism and privilege in dietetics
Dear DC members,
I’ve been following the news and many conversations on social media this week and reflecting on what I can do to support my colleagues who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). Your questions, including those raised by Gurneet Kaur Dhami and Safeena Jabar, have me reflecting and thinking hard about how I can lead the profession to be on the right side of history.
As a white woman, I have never felt unsafe, unwanted or unappreciated because of the colour of my skin. I have many privileges that make my life easier than some of my colleagues. When I travel to communities across Canada to meet with members, I am never stopped or questioned. I have never had someone put my job application aside because my name “didn’t sound white.”
These are just two examples of the real inequities my BIPOC colleagues face that I don’t. This is not right.
I want to call on my white colleagues to speak out and take action against racism, for our colleagues, our clients, our patients and our communities. It’s not enough to be “not racist”.
We each need to be anti-racist. We need to explore and recognize our privileges and commit to taking action. In the last two years I have concentrated my reading and learning on racism experienced by Indigenous people in this country and I will continue to extend this learning to racism experienced by those who are Black and People of Colour. Here are a few resources I would recommend:
- White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh
- “Hearing the Voices”: African American Nutrition Educators Speak about Racism in Dietetics by Jill White
- In French: Kuei, je te salue. Conversations sur le racisme, by Natasha Kanapé Fontaine and Deni Ellis Béchard
- This resource to check your own biases: Implicit Association Test.
- This list of Key public health resources for anti-racism action available from the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health.
Along with the staff at Dietitians of Canada, I am committed to continuing to work on this on my own and to support others in their work on this important matter. As individuals and as a profession, our ignorance and inaction has hurt others. I ask you to continue to call us out and talk to us, if you would like.
Over the next four years, Dietitians of Canada will take actions to become a more diverse and inclusive community. This is one of the key priorities for Dietitians of Canada and will be announced by the Board of Directors at Tuesday’s Member- Board Dialogue
. This was decided by the Board many months ago, but it seems even more relevant and important today.
We will have more opportunities in the months to come to discuss the actions DC could take to create a diverse and inclusive community. For now, I felt it was important to speak to you directly today about my ongoing reflection and implore other white dietitians to do the same.
Nathalie Savoie, Chief Executive Officer, Dietitians of Canada
If you want to speak further, either by email or to arrange a meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org