A Space for People of Color, By People of Color. Be Cool.
A Space for People of Color, By People of Color. Be Cool.

I always have a lot to say about the racism we encounter in Canada. It infuriates me because I find it’s just as bad for Canadian POC as it is for Americans but Canada is much better at dismissing and pretending it isn’t so. Canadians really do think we are sooo much better up here. Our liberals are way more ‘post-racial’ than the Americans - if what I see in the media and on web forums is any indication. You would be hard pressed to find a white liberal Canadian who thinks we are on par with the racism ‘down there’ or would agree Canada was racist at all. They exist, but wow. Canada engages in exactly the same racist behavior as the United States though, personal and systemic. We are just as bad.

I think Canadians think slavery was an American problem. Well, I would counter that the Maritimes were a straight up slave port for a very long time. Most slaves in the Caribbean were trafficked through our Maritimes. I think people nowadays forget that Canada and the United States were populated by the very same British people that ‘won’ the colonialism race. Canadians like to reference the underground railroad as if Canada were this utopian refuge and we just welcomed the escaped slaves with open arms. Yeah, no. We ignored them and left them to suffer. Well, we moved them to Nova Scotia under the false promise of land and jobs, first though. Many escaped slaves lived in a little town called Africville. But no jobs for you, Black people. When they were evicted, only 14 people held proper title to their land. So that was bullshit too. Canadians were quite happy to let escaped slaves suffer out there with no access to proper municipal supports or basic infrastructure until ‘real’ Canadians decided they needed the land (which they referred to as ‘slums’) so they just bulldozed the whole thing (in the late 60’s, in case any Canadians want to jump in here and try and rewrite this history to be farther away than it is). First Nations people can make a knowing nod at this point in the story. They were then moved into ‘other housing’ which were probably like the first Canadian ‘projects’ (we totally still have neglected, segregated neighborhoods in Canada to this day. Just like the States).

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Recently however, I’ve been seeing articles come out in major publications. It is seriously about damned time. I would like to share some of them with you. It’s about time people started listening up here. It’s also time some people ‘down there’ started listening too. Too many Americans believe this Canadian post-racial lie we keep telling the world.

“A slide came up of a black man being lynched,” Osman says. “My teacher pointed at the picture, and said, ‘This, is a nigger.’”

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“At a time when slogans in the U.S. read that ‘Black Lives Matter,’ I have never felt more invisible in this city,” writes Lois, 55.

“Our experiences with police, regardless of the evidence, does not matter. No one from other communities (is) speaking about this issue.

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“In Toronto, I saw diversity in the streets, in shops, on public transit. The idea that I might be singled out because of my race seemed ludicrous. My illusions were shattered immediately.”

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