South Asian Term is Racist

Dear Honored Representatives of the B.C.Govt. and the SFU Wosk Centre, We, the Wanjara Nomad Collections Team ("Wanjara"), appreciate and commend the initiative to establish the History, Tradition, and Culture Museum in British Columbia. It signifies a commendable stride towards inclusivity, civic engagement, and addressing systemic racism.

We acknowledge and applaud the decision by the British Columbia government to avoid using the "S" word in the museum's name, aligning with our firm stance against its divisive nature. This alignment brings us to a 50% agreement on its interpretation and usage. While optimistic about ongoing dialogue, concerns persist regarding the proposed interim name, "S.A. Museum."

The proposed title, even as a temporary measure, perpetuates harmful stereotypes and disregards the distinct challenges and achievements of each community within the Canadian mosaic. Alternative names, such as "S.A. Canadian Museum," or hypothetical titles like "Middle Eastern Museum" for Palestinian-Israeli Canadians or "Soviet Union Museum" for Ukrainian Canadians, risk inadvertently obscuring the unique and complex narratives of each group's history.

The 'S' word is inherently racist, reductive, and repressive, carrying catastrophic implications. Similarly, residential schools are identified by distinct names to acknowledge their suffering, with careful avoidance of historical, geographical, and religious references. We strongly advocate for a thoughtful approach in naming this museum, to safeguard against perpetuating the echoes of colonial history inherent in the proposed name.

Furthermore, we have observed limited translations in Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindi. While appreciative of this effort, expanding inclusivity to languages from more nations is imperative to prevent any community from feeling overlooked.

Wanjara is dedicated to fostering constructive dialogue and collaboration. We look forward to further discussions, confident that our perspectives will be valued. Together, let us ensure that the museum becomes a true celebration of diversity, accurately representing the rich tapestry of Canadian history and culture.

Warm regards,

Wanjara Nomad Collections Team


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