The unlearn campaign is an educational campaign to challenge assumptions, language and stereotypes that further marginalise groups of people. The campaign includes buttons, posters, flyers and numerous events and workshops hosted by the Equity Service Centres.
Unlearning is exactly what it sounds like. It is a process of deconstructing what society has taught, advised and influenced you to believe. It is about breaking down the assumptions you have, figuring out where those assumptions came from, and finding new ways of learning that don’t further marginalise stereotyped communities.
Below are a few definitions to get started with:
Ableism is prejudice or discrimination against people with disabilities. It can be difficult to detect ableism as it may express itself in the form of expectations, assumptions, values, actions and/or verbal communication. Furthermore, there is the implicit assumption that everyone is able-bodied and generally has the same abilities.
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies through violence in one territory by people from another territory. Colonialism is a set of unequal relationships between the dominant colonial state and between the Indigenous peoples of the colonized territory.
Homophobia is the irrational fear, aversion and hatred of those who love and sexually desire those of the same sex. Homophobia ranges from dislike and avoidance of homosexuals, to discrimination against them on an institutional level to acts of violence.
Racism is a system of disadvantage based on race. It empowers people with the ability to act on the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior. Racism manifests in many ways, from dislike and avoidance of people based on their race to discrimination against them on an institutional level to acts of race-based violence. Racism is related to power: who has power and who is given power by society. Racism exists beyond one-on-one interactions.
Sexism perpetuates a system of patriarchy where men hold power and privilege and everyone else is subordinate to them. Sexism is both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes and cultural elements that promote this discrimination. It is important to note that sexism, like any other form of oppression, is related to power: who has power and who is given power by society.
Transphobia is a personal, societal and systemic desire to maintain the gender binary (the strict categorization of “men” and “women”) which obscures the reality of the fluidity of gender and diminishes or ignores the experience of persons who do not identify with either or both gender categories.