You wouldn't know it from the tone of discourse today, but immigrants and foreign workers have been part of the Canadian labour force since Confederation. Then, much as now, they were necessary to ensure Canada's economic survival. Nevertheless, 19th century immigrant workers were viewed with suspicion and contempt and assigned the most dangerous tasks.
In the social context of Canada before the Quiet Revolution (1950s), before Viola Desmond's act of defiance (1946), before Rosa Parks triggered the United States' Civil Rights Movement (1955), Fred Christie stood up to institutional discrimination. A decade before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1947), Fred Christie exhibited unimaginable courage and perseverance in asserting his civil rights. Though the judicial process did not deliver the desired result, Fred Christie remains a key instigator in Canada's journey towards the establishment of universal rights.
In any place where race is tied to wealth, as it is almost everywhere, the stadium will likely look vastly different from the average neighbourhood. Clubs needs to invest in better representing the community in the stadium for their claim to be a true site of integration and inclusion. One way to do this is by changing ticket pricing and distribution.
If we convey negative or suspicious attitudes about other cultures and ethnicities, our kids will pick up on these and replicate our behaviour. "Monkey see, monkey do" is real so keep this in mind and remember to convey a positive and open attitude about other cultures, particularly around your children.
The Internet can and will prove you a liar in minutes. Finally we are seeing that powerful men, and for that matter powerful companies, can no longer just say "Oh.. sorry." If people don't believe in and trust your brand, and if they don't understand your moral purpose, you could be left out in the cold in much the same as Donald Sterling or Don Imus were.
We need to talk for a hot second about the sexualization of young girls. Specifically, we need to talk about the sexualization of Willow Smith by the media. In case you've somehow missed the whole hullaballoo, the picture below of 13-year-old Willow and 20-year-old actor Moises Arias was recently posted on Instagram, and the internet subsequently exploded. Everyone immediately leapt to the conclusion that the photograph was somehow sexual. Had this been a picture of a young white girl with a man a few years older than her, it most likely would have been written off as totally innocent.
On Thursday night, Montreal Canadiens player P. K. Subban scored the winning goal against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal. Predictably, Boston fans were outraged. In this case, though, with Subban as one of the few black players in the league, their anger took a sickeningly racist turn.
When Avril Lavigne issued a defence on Twitter, peppered with LOLs and claiming that because Japanese people were involved in the development of the "Hello Kitty" video, it couldn't possibly be racist, I gave up. It's the same tired defence we hear all the time. But my best friend is Asian/gay/vegan!
The use of incorrect statistics and skewed economic arguments to demand the exclusion of Temporary Foreign Workers by people all along the political spectrum hearkens to a lengthy history of exclusion of immigrants from Canada. While in the past racist headlines read "Immigrants are taking Canadian jobs," now they insist "Foreign workers are taking Canadian jobs." What's the difference? There is more afoot here, its xenophobia and it must be challenged. It is important that we do not repeat the injustices of the past. Full immigration status for all, full rights for all workers is the only way forward. Resist attempts to divide unemployed, migrant, and poor people.
In a recent study researchers called doctors' offices in Toronto while playing the role of a person looking for a family physician. Doctors' offices were 58 per cent more likely to offer an appointment if the caller mentioned that he or she had a high-status job than if he or she mentioned receiving welfare.
Dear Tom McLaughlin And Joshua Sealy-Harrington: We need to talk about your recent article in the Globe and Mail about being "silenced" based on gender. First of all, let's get a few things straight here: You are not being silenced. Yes, sometimes your opinions will be discounted because of your identity -- because you know what? In the context of social justice, lived experience trumps everything else every time.
Systemic discrimination expands beyond our general scope of understanding. Behind every young man that is criminalized there is a community that is affected, and half of that community is female. These women are all affected by the higher likelihood of their community's men being criminalized. It is fundamental to our Canadian values to make all members of society feel at home, and that requires addressing the systemic discrimination that exists in our nation.
Growing up gay and brown in the suburbs was rough. I came really close to flying to freedom towards the end of my senior year of high school when I drove off a cliff near my home. I thought it would be better than the stress of exams and the alienation I felt from being the only gay kid in the neighbourhood.
The fact is our student populations are becoming more diverse, though that's barely mirrored in the staff make-up of most urban schools. And while there is recognition of a need to hire teachers that better reflect the student population, reaching that goal remains a long way off considering the comparably low number of teachers who self-identify as visible minorities. In the meantime, we need to foster culturally sensitive and inclusive schools where student engagement leads to higher graduation rates, the de-glamorization of gangs, and the nurturing of productive citizens of all backgrounds.
When an at risk visible minority youth comes into contact with the law they often cannot afford the high cost of legal counsel and are forced to apply for legal aid. But what happens when they are unable to access the essential legal aid program? The fact of the matter is that many at risk visible minority youth come from backgrounds of poverty where they are unable to afford their own legal counsel which means they must rely on the government legal aid program. Federal government funding to provinces and territories to provide legal aid services has not changed in 10 years.
Canada has made tentative steps in acknowledging racism in our past, like aboriginal residential schools and the Chinese head tax. But there is a tendency to view these as isolated events of history. With our national rhetoric of a tolerant and multicultural society, many Canadians bristle at the suggestion that racial discrimination was and is a force in Canada.
On March 3, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights discussed the issue of visible minority youth and their interactions with the criminal justice system. In Toronto, the police have implemented a carding system where police forces stop, question and document people during non-criminal encounters on the streets. Statistics about carding in Toronto tell us that people who are black or brown are more likely to be carded than whites. Essentially this means that a brown or black person is more likely to be seen as suspicious by the police than someone who is white.
An African-Canadian woman I know became very tired of being asked which "island" she came from. Her family had lived in Canada for many, many generations, so her answer to this question was "Toronto Island." But what happens when a child is quizzed in this way? If we are not careful, our children will learn to internalize the assumptions that others make about them.
Lupita Nyong'o's moving speeches, the Dark is Beautiful campaign in India, and Anita Majumdar's play, Same Same But Different, have me in a different frame of mind as we approach International Women's Day. I'm not just thinking about women's rights and battles. I'm thinking about what it means to be a woman of colour in Canada.