“White fragility can kiss my ass. Your white tears aren’t sacred, this land is.” These words were hashtagged and appended to an online post by Masuma Khan, a Dalhousie student who is now facing disciplinary action by the university for breaching the student code of conduct. Khan, who is a brown Muslim woman, is under the spotlight of intense scrutiny and harassment. She is currently facing complaints filed against her by numerous white people for “reverse racism.” A motion was made by a fellow student union member seeking impeachment for Khan, who is the Dalhousie Student Union vice president of external and academic affairs. In the motion, Khan is accused of “vulgarity and childishness” for her social media posts regarding the Dalhousie Student Union’s decision to cancel events that celebrated Canada 150. Celebrating Canada 150, Khan explained, would be celebrating Indigenous genocide. Khan’s social media posts have garnered national coverage, with notable writers like Christie Blatchford writing an op-ed in the National Post condemning the student union. Khan’s “breach of conduct” is pending decision and a Dalhousie Senate committee is reviewing the situation.
Dalhousie University, like Mount Allison University, like any other white institution, favours white feelings over the livelihoods of people of colour. To be against Masuma Khan and the truth that she speaks is to be against the activism of decolonization. While white men joked about chloroforming patients and sexually assaulting their female colleagues, Dalhousie never dared to take its dentistry students before Senate. While privileged white boys hollered on top of police cars during Homecoming, screaming “fuck the police,” Dalhousie never dared to take them before Senate. However, a young brown Muslim woman who refused to celebrate the ongoing acts of colonialism in Canada is immediately tone-policed and called upon to be disciplined. It seems only white people are allowed to dictate how people of colour talk about racism.
Last year, I made a sobering post on social media criticizing white supremacy and white people’s failure to stand in solidarity with marginalized communities in light of Donald Trump’s successful election. The post was flooded with comments from white peers that said my emotions were “irrational and illogical.” I received messages from former colleagues and anonymous emails saying that I was a racist. I had a brief run-in on the street with an intoxicated white former colleague who verbally abused me, saying that I was a racist hypocrite. Less than 24 hours after a severe car accident, which resulted in an ambulance trip to the emergency room, I received a notice calling for my mandatory attendance to a council meeting. As I stood at the council meeting in Avard-Dixon with bleeding kidneys to give a resignation based on racial grievances, I watched white former colleagues laugh during my speech.
I stand with Masuma Khan because I understand. I understand how unfair it is for people like us attending these institutions. White fragility can kiss my ass too.