Victim’s family calls out ‘white-passing privilege’
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Family members of a murdered Inuk woman said Monday that merely appearing to be white often heightens police and public interest in a crime or missing person case involving an aboriginal person.
Loretta Saunders’ sister Delilah Saunders and their mother Meriam made the comments as they described the 26-year-old woman’s life and violent death — and the lessons her activism has sparked in their own lives.
They were speaking during the first of three days of hearings being held by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton, N.S. Loretta Saunders
Saunders’ body was found at the side of a New Brunswick highway in a bag in February 2014, leading to murder convictions against Halifax residents Blake Leggette and Victoria Henneberry, who were tenants of Saunders.
Meriam Saunders said that in the early days of the investigation of her daughter’s death, police advertised the case as a missing white woman.
She said she found it more difficult to get information from officers after they started to correctly refer to her as an Inuk woman.
Delilah said prior to her murder, her older sister had talked to her about the phenomenon of “white-passing privilege,’’ where people who appear white, but are not, are treated favourably.