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Chin Banerjee, A Community History Project by No One Is Illegal

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Published on Jul 6, 2012

(Transcript below)

No One Is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories presents an interview with Chin Banerjee as part of "Inheriting Resistance: A Community History Project". For more information: http://noii-van.resist.ca/?page_id=4225

Chin Banerjee came to Canada with a position in the English Department at Simon Fraser University in 1970 and taught there till retirement in 2005. He has been active in the community since 1975 through Indian People's Association in North America (IPANA), Canadian Farmworker's Union (CFU), B C Organization to Fight Racism (BCOFR), Committee for Racial Justice (CRJ), Non-Resident Indians for Secularism and Democracy (NRISAD), South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), South Asian Film Education Society (SAFES), and Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation (HSF). He is committed to the struggle against racism and for human rights and social justice.

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW:

It is important to move away, in the fight against racism, from any direct organization or affiliation which always carries a certain baggage. Any organization that already exists comes with certain policies, practices and baggage. This identification will always cloud or cover a general organization that is needed for fighting racism.

The fight against racism really requires the widest participation, the widest reach. And it seems to be a good idea to form a broad-based mass organization in which people come together because they oppose racism.

Racism in any form that they understand and through which, in fact, an anti-racist education can be carried out. People can join an anti-racist organization knowing only one kind of racism, but in the process of being in that organization and doing its work they can learn of how many complex ways in which racism operates. Not only at the level of direct assault on individuals, violent killing and so on, but how many subtle ways in which racism can operate. And this is a process of education, and this a process of education that takes place through work.

Those who are involved in anti-racist work, it becomes their responsibility to engage people in this conversation which can take them forward towards a deeper and deeper level of understanding of racism and it's ramifications in our lives, everyday lives, in ways in which we don't recognize racism. Because how would one recognize immediately the fight against this so-called war on terror as a racist issue? One has to understand it and one has to educate people about it it.

And this can happen only through the doing of anti-racist work and through a gradual process of engaging people in a conversation at a deeper and deeper level.

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