On Wednesday, October 7, a recording surfaced online of Calgary Catholic School District staff using the slur in front of students. This is the second recording in a week that reveals CCSD employees using the word. In an email sent to Narcity, BLM YYC said the two incidents show that most people know saying the slur is wrong, but do not care about the impact it has.
"Using that word from a place of privilege is hate speech," said BLM YYC.
The group believes there has been more than enough discussion around not saying the racial slur, therefore people who do so should face consequences.
They want to see CCSD reprimand the teachers involved and apologize to their Black students, but also hope that the school board will go beyond that.
"Reach out to organizations to show they are changing. Uplift organizations doing anti-Black anti-racism work," said BLM YYC.
What videos are being referred to?
The first recording was posted on the Black Youth Collective YYC Instagram page on Friday, October 2. In the audio recording, you can hear the principal of St. Michael School, Lianne Anderson, allegedly saying "how come it’s okay for you to say n*****?"
It appears to be just a snippet from a larger conversation Anderson was having with a group of Black students about the racial slur.
According to CBC News, multiple students were subsequently suspended for posting the recording publicly and CCSD district spokeswoman Sandra Borowski defended Anderson's actions.
"I think the whole point was to kind of clarify that, bottom line, the use of the word is just generally unacceptable for anyone," Borowski told CBC.
Black Youth Collective YYC then posted another recording on Wednesday, October 7 of a second incident. This time it involves a substitute teacher at Bishop McNally Highschool.
In the video, you can hear the teacher referring to black licorice as "n***** babies."
According to Black Youth Collective YYC, the comments were made to a group of Black students and the post claims that the teacher also commented on how only "Black boys" can use the term.
"We recognize that this term was used in the '60s, but this is 2020 and once again, this teacher should have known better," Black Youth Collective YYC said on Instagram.
What is BLM YYC's message following the videos?
Black Lives Matter YYC said in the press release that this type of behaviour has to stop and students should not be punished for shedding light on the issue.
"If children are facing consequences for posting online then teachers and principals must face consequences for practicing racism," said the release.
It continues to say that a school’s priority should be to protect children and create a safe environment.
"Racism is not new in Calgary, folx are still safely practicing racism from their positions of power every day," said BLM YYC.
What actions are being taken?
A racial advocacy group is demanding the Calgary Catholic School prioritize harm-reduction and anti-racism education.
The group started an online petition after the first recording surfaced and it has already collected more than 2,100 signatures.
In an email to Narcity, the Calgary Catholic School District wouldn't comment on either video specifically but said they are continuing their work in education around racial justice.
"[We] are looking at ways for students to feel safe in reporting any instances of racism, bullying, harassment and discrimination,” said a CCSD spokesperson.