"I have unfairly benefitted from the colour of my skin. White privilege is not acceptable."
So reads a poster that hangs in schools in the Gold Trail District, part of a campaign designed to foster conversations about racism in the school district, which serves about 1,100 students in First Nations territories and other rural communities west of Kamloops.
The words are those of district superintendent Teresa Downs, whose photo is also featured on the poster. Other posters in the campaign feature district officials sharing their experiences with racism, but it is the one featuring Downs that seems to have stirred up the most controversy among some parents.
One of the most outspoken critics of the campaign is Kansas Field Allen, who had her son take photos of the posters at his school so she could post them on Facebook and solicit opinions.
"I'd say 95 per cent of the people are in favour of having the posters taken down, and that's from all races," CBC.ca quoted Field Allen as saying.
Field Allen and others have expressed disappointment that parents were not consulted about the campaign's messages before the posters were put up in schools. For some, the concept of "white privilege" rankles, as to them it smacks of so-called "reverse racism".
Downs, however, pointed out that the Gold Trail District has been addressing issues of racism and colonialism for years, and has worked to follow recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The district's campaign was inspired by an anti-racism initiative in Saskatoon called "I Am the Bridge".