Paul on Power and Privilege

Paul on Power and Privilege

Paul is a settler Canadian, born in Surrey, BC. He lives and works on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish-speaking peoples.

As a non-Indigenous Canadian, his heritage reflects the waves of immigrants to this continent, as well as a rich history of mixed ancestry. His family tree includes great grandparents from Japan who immigrated to the North Pacific in the 1910s, a great grandfather from China who immigrated to Saskatchewan in the 1920s, and grandparents from Europe who immigrated to Saskatchewan in the 1960s.

He traces his roots in Surrey to his Japanese grandfather, whose family settled in Whalley following the end of World War II and the internment. He has family who still lives in the area.

As a fourth-generation Canadian of mixed-race heritage, he recognizes the privileges afforded to him through the assimilation of his family into the dominant culture. Paul is a housed, university-educated, non-disabled, light-skinned, cis-gender, English-speaking man with a white name. These privileges afford him access to spaces and power that many others cannot access due to systemic unequal power structures. Yet, as a mixed-race, gay person from a working-class family with student loans, he understands the impacts of oppression, marginalization and classism.

As a younger gay man who came of age during the same-sex marriage debates, he is aware that the freedoms he enjoys are only possible thanks to the countless people who fought battles for civil rights, equality, and representation in the decades before. Similarly, he has benefitted from the Asian and BIPOC communities, and their allies, that have challenged racism, opening the door to a more multicultural Canada.

He recognizes his responsibility to pay it forward to the next generation by continuing to use his power and privilege for positive change by learning about and speaking out against injustice.