An outburst from a former student during a diversity seminar has raised questions about white supremacy overruling minorities at Halifax’s Dalhousie University.
As the Halifax Chronicle-Herald reports, university alumnus Ifo Ikede interrupted the panel discussion on Tuesday to accuse the storied academic institution of harboring racism: “The myth that you share is that Dalhousie is doing a good job about equity and inclusion.”
Ikede claimed, “We’re swimming in a sea of white supremacy. The only people who are free to speak are white men and women.”
The claims were apparently prompted by a statement from Dalhousie president Richard Florizon, who wrote on Monday that “at Dal we abhor racism, gendered violence and Islamophobia.”
Accusations of Islamophobia ignited the controversy.
Fourth-year Muslim student Masuma Khan, started a social media firestorm when she posted a profanity-laced Facebook message that referred to “white fragility” and how “white tears aren’t sacred, this land is.”
Khan’s post was in support of a Dalhousie Student Union declaration that it would not participate in any celebrations surrounding the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation because it was wrong to commemorate a country with “over 400 years of genocide” allegedly directed against “Indigenous peoples.”
“I stand by Indigenous students,” Khan wrote. “Be proud of this country? For what, over 400 years of genocide?”
Dozens of angry respondents suggested Khan should find a reason to be proud of her country. The university has vaguely talked about sanctioning Khan for her remarks but has done nothing except issue a statement from its vice provost of student affairs.
Arig al Shaibah wrote Monday that Khan’s Facebook comments may have violated the code of student conflict section that condemns “unwelcome or persistent conduct that the student knows, or ought to reasonably know, would cause another person to feel demeaned, intimidated or harassed.”