EDITORIAL: Change never too late but clock ticking on racism in newsrooms

by | Nov 27, 2020 | Editorial

This has been a year of hardships. From a global pandemic to weeks dedicated to anti-black racism protests, 2020 has left a massive impact on the world. The pandemic is a frustrating problem because it can be mitigated with people following public health guidelines — wearing masks, distancing and washing hands — but no matter what our actions are people simply have to wait the virus out. But when it comes to racism and discrimination, there is plenty that can be done to spread awareness and support causes fighting to end racism and discrimination. Racism and racism awareness are not new topics, they are not “imaginary”. But this year, the riots and protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, show people are not oblivious to the simple fact these social injustices are happening every day and the importance of eradicating them. Humber College’s Faculty of Media and Creative Arts (FMCA) program is doing its best to be part of the solution by putting together different campaigns in pursuit of tackling racism and inequality towards all races that have been discriminated against.

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The FMCA realize how important it is to stand up against racism in and out of the newsroom, providing a new opportunity for students and faculty to be a part of the Racism in the Newsroom: the Unapologetic Reckoning in Canadian Media seminar hosted to raises awareness towards racism, discrimination, and inequality. “We have made an anti-racism pledge for the Faculty of Media and Creative Arts, and it responds to a call to action from several groups of students and alumni,” Guillermo Acosta, dean of the FMCA program, said. The 128 Humber faculty and students spent a day listening and learning from speakers who cover a wide variety of fields, including keynote addresses from Canadian television and radio journalist Adrian Harewood and Toronto Star internal ombudsman Shree Paradkar. Other guests included author and journalist Scott Colby, CityNews producer Mahnoor Yawar, and investigative journalist Martha Troian. The day was long and it was a hard look in the mirror for journalism students. But hard days like this are essential to moving the conversation forward. Late in the seminar, Siyabulela Mandela, great-grandson to the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, weighed in and offered his insight on how to address oppression, racism, and discrimination. “In the world that we are in there is nothing that is called equality, what is reigning is injustice and our responsibility is to wager a relentless struggle against such injustices,” Mandela said. Seminars like this are a great start. But more needs to be done. Whether it be in newsrooms, business, or classrooms, the need to keep having these conversations and seminars like this needs to become the norm in school systems and workplaces across the country. Canada cannot afford to take another year or two for these conversations to become best practices. As the protests and the loss of lives over the last month, year, and even decade have shown us, the time is now.