EDMONTON — An Alberta Christian university student council has disavowed its own apology, issued after a Black History Month speaker denied the existence of systemic racism in a speech on Biblical definitions of racism.
Last Monday, Ambrose University in Calgary said the speech, given in February by Samuel Sey, a conservative activist, blogger and Christian who is Black, “caused severe harm” to some students.
The apology, which was retracted Thursday, said the student council had “invited speakers to come and speak to our student body who have caused harm and offence with the words that they have spoken.”
An updated post detailed Ambrose’s commitment to free expression and intellectual diversity.
“Each person has their own experiences and we believe that by having healthy discussions and learning different world views that we have the opportunity to expand our horizons,” the statement says.
The apology was “never intended to be public and sought only to provide support for those students who had been emotionally affected,” the statement says.
Sey, an anti-abortion activist with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform who also runs the blog SlowtoWrite and has contributed to many conservative websites, spoke to students over Zoom on Feb. 4.
The event was in honour of Black History Month, according to an Ambrose Student Council Facebook post.
It was intended “as part of our commitment to fostering conversations about racism and how we can support members of our community who have experienced racism,” the student council said in an email to the National Post.
“If we say anything other than the Bible we’re completely and destructively wrong.”
Sey argues that racism is determined by intention, not outcome, if you go by the Biblical definition. He cites two books of the Bible: 2 Timothy and James, arguing the “Christian definition of racism is that it’s partiality, or bias against someone because of their skin colour.”
It means “our opinions, feelings and experiences do not determine what’s racist,” he concludes. “Racial disparities between white people and black people do not prove racism…. A lack of diversity or representation doesn’t determine what’s racist.”
Sey also suggests there needs to be “a policy or law within a system — especially our political system — that shows partiality for white people or partiality against black people.” Absent that, there cannot be systemic racism, he says.
“I know no one here today can identify a single racist law,” he says.
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Source: National Post