Rebel Wilson as Fräulein Rahm (an instructor of the League of German Girls in the Jungvolk camp) from Jojo Rabbit. Image: Searchlight Pictures.

Alberta Essay Contest on How Women Contribute to Society Awards 3rd Place To White Replacement Theory Entry

In February, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Canada (LAA) launched an essay contest for 17 to 25-year-old women inviting them “to explore how they can contribute to a better society” for the chance of up to $500 in government merch. The prompt was devised in the year 2022, when most women are a part of public society, not in 1950. While it’s unsurprising that poorly written and bigoted essays came in, what’s semi-surprising is that they would award one that pretty openly spewed white replacement theory. Once news got out, the LAA took the winner’s page down. Luckily the Wayback Machine exists, and before the LAA could deleted the page, it was saved.

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Here are some excerpts from that prize-winning essay.

Women have a unique strength: our ability to give birth.

This, the first line by third-place winner S. Silver, is just the prelude, and only gets worse from there. By worse, I mean xenophobic, racist, more transphobic (this shouldn’t be surprising since she begins with bio-essentialism), sexist, and classist.

While it is sadly popular nowadays to think that the world would be better off without humans, or that Albertan children are unnecessary as we can import foreigners to replace ourselves, this is a sickly mentality that amounts to a drive for cultural suicide. The first rule of health for any biological population is their ability to reproduce and pass along their way of life into the future. Women are not exactly equal to men.

@juliey14

It’s worse than you could have imagined ? #ableg #yyc #yeg

♬ WTF (feat. Amber Van Day) – HUGEL

United Conservative Caucus (which is equivalent to a moderate Democrat in the U.S.) member Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk heads the Status of Women division of the LAA and was one of the judges on the committee. Though she initially tried to distance herself from responsibility, Armstrong-Homeniuk has since come out to condemn the essay and say that ultimately, this is on her. Even if she were only okay with sexism, transphobia, and racism—all of these service each other and white supremacy. It’s not like these are just American issues, as these ideas have led to violence in Canada, too.

Straight out of the Nazi playbook

I believe that the best approach would be to reward families for their reproductive service both with financial rewards to offset the financial burden they are taking on and with medals to symbolize their valuable achievement of having 2+ children. Encouraging our society to reorient in this healthier perspective would provide the greatest good for Alberta going forward and would alleviate many of the problems that we are currently facing.

“White replacement theory” is perhaps a relatively new term, only coming up in the last twelve years, but it has roots that go back a century. On NPR, host Lulu Garcia-Navarro called it “an old idea once on the fringes of white supremacist dogma,” that is being newly embraced by places like Fox News. Her guest, history professor Kathleen Belew, explained the concept as “the idea […] that somehow, nonwhite people or outsiders or strangers or foreigners will overtake the United States via immigration, reproduction and seizure of political power.” Again, this noxious ideology is not exclusive to the United States or to our current century. Silver’s essay nods to these roots at many points, including her saying that women should be rewarded for having two or more kids. (As previously establish, we know she’s talking about white women.) Under the leadership of the Nazi Party, “Aryan” German women who had multiple children (without disabilities) were awarded with a Mother’s Cross. Women were awarded bronze (4+) to gold (8+) editions of this depending on how many children they had.

Financial support programs (speaking about the U.S. here) are needed across the board regardless of family type or structure. When accounting for families with kids, the type of financial and emotional support that should be provided to parents shouldn’t exclude a certain race, ethnicity, or citizenship status. We just need to help the people that need it the most first since we have the ability to make it happen (but not our government will, generally, not do so).

I (again) encourage Armstrong-Homeniuk (and Silver) and even those that recognized issues with this essay to please read Sisters in Hate by Seyward Darby. The book perfectly lays out roots of this bigotry and how the popularity of these ideas spread among women (many in this age group), in the time of Twitch, Twitter, and Youtube.

(via @juliey14 on TikTok, feature image: Searchlight Pictures.)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.