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EAP Speaker Series #1- Talk Summary 

Written by Samia Islam


Talk delivered by the guest speaker, Duha Elmardi, who is an education coordinator of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) 

Intro + Intention Setting 

● CCMW is a non-profit organization working towards the equality, empowerment, and equity of Muslim women in Canada 

● Some key statistics: 

○ 20% of Canadians experience racism regularly, with higher rates (up to 50% or more) among the Black and Indigenous community 

○ Between 2012 to 2015, there has been a 253% increase in hate crimes against Muslims 

○ 73% of women are abused online worldwide 

Privileges, Power and Oppression 

Oppression is a pervasive system of supremacy and discrimination wherein there is a socially constructed binary of a dominant group as being normal, natural, or superior ● Racism refers to a system that produces social and physical barriers based on the race and ethnic heritage of people, real or perceived; race is a social construct used to benefit the oppressor 


● The wheel of power/privilege looks at a system of inequality as a coin ○ One side of the coin shows that people have privilege because parts of their identity is what is deemed natural in society 

○ The other side reflects oppression where people will experience marginalization because their identities is not considered the superior 

○ Reflects the existence of a system that either pushes us towards power/privilege or oppression 

○ Ex. whiteness is always considered closer to superiority in our system and people who do not fit within this identity are pushed away from power 

Positionality refers to where we are placed in a given place and time, which affects our experiences of racism and discrimination 

■ Factors that can affect our positionality include access to education and mental health, wealth, language, gender, sexuality, citizenship, religion, and criminalization (ie. who is closer to being criminalized) 

● Privileges does not entail that there is an absence of hardships in a person’s life ● This lens focuses on discrimination at three different levels: 

Individual: consists of our conscience or unconscious beliefs and actions that we have acquired through our environment that serve to perpetuate oppression; can be externalized or internalized oppression 

Externalization refers perceiving others in an oppressive, stereotypical, and prejudicial manner 

Internalization refers to believing stereotypes and prejudices that they are inherent within ourselves 

Interpersonal: we bring our misconceptions within our interactions between people; can include interactions within and across racial groups 

Systemic: consists of two areas: 

Institutional: we bring stereotypes and misconceptions into the institutions we are a part of, which may have lasting impacts on the creation of discriminatory policies (ex. Quebec’s Bill C-21) 

■ Structural: how these effects interact and accumulate across institutions; can cause society to normalize social constructs 

● Oppression can take the form of a cycle of perpetuation: 

○ In our early years, we may experience misinformation through the media and missed/biased history through the educational curriculum 

○ Through socialization, the cycle is reinforced in institutions and our homes ○ Through internalization, we may view misinformation as the truth ● The pyramid of White supremacy looks at how things can go from a level of normalization to genocide 

Indifference: we think that marginalized experiences do not affect us because we are not directly involved and thus, do not require our attention 

Minimization: experiences of discrimination tend to be minimized/not looked at/not believed/not legitimized

○ The pyramid further advances up to veiled racism (ex. Euro-centric curriculum, tokenism), discrimination (ex. Anti-immigration laws), calls for violence, violence (ex. Hate crimes, police brutality), and mass murder 

○ It is crucial to interrupt these things at an early stage 

Intersectionality and Anti-oppression 

Anti-oppression refers to the ways in which an individual, community, institution, or system actively prevents, challenges, and ends oppression against other people ● Question: What do you know about intersectionality and why is it important? ○ Alexandra said that intersectionality is important to avoid biases within cultures ○ Haranyaa mentioned that intersectionality refers to the different ways we hold power and oppression in our lives + the importance of complexity 

○ Alison mentioned that intersectionality refers to the differences in the oppression that people face based on the multiple identities we carry 

Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, and interlocks and intersects; refers to how structures make certain identities the consequence for vulnerability 

● The lens of equity looks at providing individuals with fair opportunities to achieve an equitable outcome; enables us to acknowledge that we do not all start at the same place ● The lens of liberation aims to remove the barriers that people experience initially ● Learning has different zones and phases 

Fear zone: we may be in a place of fear when we are confronted with information that challenge our views 

Learning zone: we constantly educate ourselves, address our own biases + recognize that these issues exist 

Growth zone: we identify the ways in which we may benefit from these learning 


Questions were asked for the audiences and discussed:

● How do you see oppression and discrimination show up in your communities?

● Based on what we learned about oppression and discrimination, how would you define anti-oppression? 

● What are the ways that you can embody and practice anti-oppressive values, including anti-racism and cultural sensitivity, on a personal and institutional level?



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