Erasure, Denial and Ignorance

June 8, 2021
Anurika Onyenso, Third Year General Management Major, University of Alberta, Augustana Campus

Congress 2021 blog edition 

The “Hedging, Erasing, Absolving, and Other “EDI” Pitfalls: Recreating Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policies, and Praxis” webcast at Congress 2021 was an open event hosted by the ReCreation Collective and University of Alberta. It featured a panel of speakers who discussed the production of EDI policy documents and frameworks and how the language of EDI can either enable or constrain significant institutional change. 

Drawing upon deeply intersectional and prefigurative methodologies and frameworks, panel members from the ReCreation Collective, a gathering of Indigenous, racialized, disabled, Muslim, 2SLGBTQIA scholars and invested practitioners, presented their research findings from a discourse analysis of 143 EDI policy documents from Canadian sport organizations.  

The findings from this research enabled the development of an analytic framework that has important implications for Canadian University EDI policies. It also helped identify specific ways contemporary EDI policies tend to ensure the reproduction of the status quo. 

Focusing on racialized Canadians and her research on policy documents, Janelle Joseph highlighted East and South Asian groups as the biggest rising immigrant groups within Canada, but acknowledged that the lack of specific attention to them is astounding as they were nowhere to be seen in any of the Canadian University EDI policies. 

Asides that, Joseph discussed the topic of intersectionality within the policies. For example: 

  • There are nine policies focusing on women, however, some of these women may be newcomers or experiencing poverty.  
  • There are 19 policies focused on transgender athletes, but, only nine that worked on those with disabilities. 
  • Joseph believes that there is an alarming lack of attention to intersectional identities, leading to forms of erasure as simple as failing to account for groups in policies. This shows attention to inclusion is actually absent.  

Finally, focusing on social class, Chen Chen, PhD, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Alberta, shed light on the need to raise awareness of class struggles and try to understand, engage and pay attention to the different constraints that have a revolutionary orientation towards challenging the global capitalist, especially those within North America.