NEWS

Winnipeggers share stories of change in wake of racism label

01/27/2015 06:59 EST | Updated 03/29/2015 05:59 EDT
Many Winnipeggers have noticed a tide shift in the discourse on racism since Maclean's magazine published an article last week saying Canada's race issues were at their worst in Winnipeg.

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Besides the change in discourse, some are also beginning to notice changes in casual interactions with strangers on the street.

- VIDEO | Rosanna Deerchild reacts to Maclean's racism article after appearing on cover

Cree poet and storyteller Duncan ​Mercredi noticed something different — something that surprised him — after the Maclean's article hit stands.

​"Having people (whiter shade of pale) acknowledge me with a smile or hello, a good morning, especially these last couple of days, is starting to get kind of freaky," Mercredi wrote in a Facebook post days after the story came out.

"It just happened again on my walk to the corner store, a good morning from a stranger. I looked behind me to see if it was me he was talking to and by hayzus, he was. I grunted back at him. It's going to take awhile getting used to this new world order."

Mercredi said he’s experienced people avoiding him on the streets or even firing off racial slurs in his direction. Now, Mercredi said with the topic of racism on people’s minds, their hearts seem to have opened up.

​Chantal Kuegle, who is of both aboriginal and European ancestry, said she believes perceptions and the conversation on racism are starting to change.

"I think overall … the conversation is more accepted as something that needs to be done and action needs to be taken," said Kuegle. 

"I do notice if I wear aboriginal beaded earrings and have a little bit more visual aspects of my race portrayed, then I just get a little bit not as polite treated by employees or just on the street.

"Or when I'm with my grandpa who is clearly very aboriginal, it's a little different than being out with my dad, who's German."

Tune in to hear stories like Kuegle's, Mercredi's and others this morning on CBC's Information Radio 89.3 FM / 990 AM, as host Marcy Markusa broadcasts live from Connie's Corner Cafe in Winnipeg's North End.

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7:10 a.m.: Duncan Mercredi on the change he's seeing on Winnipeg streets.

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7:40 a.m.: Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and MLA Kevin Chief.

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8:10 a.m.: Young Winnipeg couple talks about how the conversation about racism is changing and Chantal Kuegle's unique perspective on racism.

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