In a Facebook group I’m on, someone posted the following:
“I opened my inside door to find a native female attempting to steal my daughters boots.”
When someone asked her why she identified her as “native”, she said, “So we could all be aware as a community who was that entered my home.”
The problem though is this is racist. Here’s why.
“Native” was the only descriptor she used. She didn’t mention height, body type, clothing, or anything else that might help neighbours keep an eye out for someone.
By saying only that she was Indigenous, she’s telling everyone to be on the lookout for an Indigenous female, any Indigenous female. Because to her, indigeneity is the only descriptor she needs when discussing crime.
To her, indigeneity is criminal. Likewise, her readers also see indigeneity as criminal. Both the speaker and the receiver understand this concept so well that it can be used as code.
It doesn’t matter to the writer nor the reader whether she was short, skinny, limping, or wearing a white hoodie. Because they don’t see short people as criminals. They don’t see skinny people as criminals. They don’t see limping people as criminals. They don’t see clothing as criminal. But they see indigeneity as criminal.
She never would have said, “I opened my inside door to find a white female attempting to steal my daughters boots.” Or if she did, she would’ve qualified the whiteness with other descriptors. Because whiteness isn’t a crime.
She didn’t even indicate whether she was a woman or a teen girl. Literally the only descriptor she used was “native”. Arguably, she further dehumanized this person by simply using “female”, which outside of being a term to refer collectively to both women and children is used primarily to refer to animals.
If your only descriptor of bad behaviour is race, then it’s racist.