Media critic, policy analyst and pundit
Rachel Décoste is a media critic, educator and pundit from Ottawa, Canada. Ms. Décoste has been a community activist since her youth, working with organizations such as Children's Aid Society, S.O.S. Montfort Hospital, the Famous 5 Foundation, and the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund, to name a few. Her commitment has not been limited to local activities: she has traveled abroad to provide aid in South and Central Americas. In 2008, Ms. Décoste worked on then-Senator Obama’s presidential campaign and again in 2012. Ms. Décoste was named in Ottawa's Top 50 Personalities in Ottawa Life magazine's 2010 annual edition. Ms. Décoste lives in Washington, D.C.
Blaming decades-long bigotry on a foreign leader may make for good copy, but it absolves the culprits of their responsibility for their actions, their words, their ingrained racism.
For the record, Céline has been cool for 30 years. Here are the receipts: Céline had her first hit at age 12. Yes twelve. She was so fantastic that, in a pre-Internet age, her talent crossed the Pacific Ocean into Japan, where she won a prize for a tear-jerking "love song to mom" at the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival.
06/15/2017 08:20 EDT
It's never too late to shed light on the lesser known parts of Canada's history, pre- and post-Confederation.
05/03/2017 04:44 EDT
There's nothing like a black girlfriend to cause racism to rear up its ugly head. It isn't surprising that Brits would recoil at the hint of racial impurity infiltrating their blue bloodlines. Cultivating whiteness is, after all, their family business. What's unforgivable is Prince Harry's silence.
11/04/2016 04:43 EDT
After reporters revealed the mismatch between Minister Maryam Monsef's stated and actual birthplaces, a politically-motivated "outrage" ensued. Did she purposely mislead her colleagues, her constituents? Was she a fraud? Could her Canadian citizenship be revoked?
09/27/2016 11:11 EDT
Outside of the bilateral relationship with its U.S. ally, foreign aid is not something Canadians are accustomed to. That's why eyebrows were raised when a contingent of 300 African firefighters landed in Edmonton to lend a hand. Three hundred -- that's 100 more firefighters than the U.S. is sending Canada's way to battle the historic blaze.
05/31/2016 04:22 EDT
The deployment of wildland fire fighters to Fort McMurray is the biggest foreign deployment ever for South Africa (save armed forces' deployments). The South African PR machine casts the aid as "repaying a debt to the Canadian people for their support for the anti-apartheid struggle." It's an interesting re-interpretation considering Canada's weak anti-apartheid record and deteriorating diplomatic relationships with South Africa.
05/30/2016 05:35 EDT
As Canadians look down upon the severe tone of the Republican primary season, they might console themselves by saying: "We would never resort to that kind of hateful dialogue, and it would never work here -- in the multicultural haven that is Canada." Prime Minister Robert Borden might prove them wrong.
05/03/2016 01:19 EDT
What happened with Stacey Dash has been going on for decades, and not just in the U.S. Banking on vulnerable people to lie to save their skin is one thing. To use these misguided statements, possibly offered under duress, as a catalyst for further marginalization of racialized groups is cruel. This tactic has often worked well for the establishment.
02/01/2016 11:32 EST
Pope Francis' statements are a testament to the immeasurable and enduring damage that colonialism and transatlantic slavery had on Africa. But Pope Francis' covert finger-wagging to African leaders for their role in what the pontiff called 'new colonialism' seems like an apt distraction from the 'old colonialism' the Church has yet to answer for.
11/27/2015 05:07 EST
Stephen Harper's reign ended this week as PM Justin Trudeau took his oath. As Trudeau 2.0 picked the persons who will join him at the head table of political power, many in the media trumpet the "most diverse parliament ever."
11/05/2015 05:13 EST
Despite the whining by self-interested elites which has dominated the national discourse thus far, there is a silver lining to an extended writ. For many Canadians, it is a prime-ministerial present. Whatever your political stripe, take advantage of this extra time to make your vote matter.
08/02/2015 12:56 EDT
The Haitian and Dominican republics share a porous border and a long, complicated and bloody history. The island's fissure divides it along colonial, linguistic, socioeconomic and cultural lines. In the era of globalization and international collaboration it's time to reexamine the Haitian-Dominican relationship.
06/18/2015 05:44 EDT
In a stunning about-face enlightened evolution, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the end of carding in his city this week. As the congratulatory backslapping spread across Hogtown, the rest of the province and the rest of the country is left eating dust. For us, carding carries on. To eradicate carding in Canada, this case must be heard in the highest courts. Judges must remind all citizens, including mayors, premiers and prime-ministerial hopefuls, that equality and fairness are more than filatures for flowery speeches
06/11/2015 08:13 EDT
The CBC brass need to pay attention to the general public's growing apathy towards an institution too often in the news for the wrong reasons. Uncomfortable corporate silences. Lingering questions. Unanswered inquiries. CBC fans can't explain this riddle to themselves, much less to lukewarm listeners. As the embattled broadcaster lobbies for increased government dollars to "Save the CBC" underneath a cloud of checkered transparency and puzzling rationales, taxpayers' appetite for increased spending dries up.
06/10/2015 08:57 EDT
Ontario Premier Wynne ascended to power by winning over the small clique of Liberal Party members who can afford leadership conference fees and travel expenses. Both Ontario women and LGBT communities rejoiced at this opportunity to have, for the first time, one their own at the seat of power. People of colour and hijab-wearing Muslim-Canadian women face acute harassment that falls outside the sort explicitly described in Wynne's plan. As a candidate, Wynne reached out to visible minorities on her way to the mountain top. Then she forgot about them.
04/21/2015 01:11 EDT
Rumours have been swirling about a black James Bond for years. Mike Le of RaceBending.com believes people who think of themselves as "post-racial" will find a way to twist this theatrical racial reversal, arguing "with this particular event, you're no longer allowed to complain about racism." After the Emancipation Proclamation, people said "You're not allowed to complain because we freed the slaves." There is a contingent of concerned African-Americans who recoil the idea of giving autocrats a rope -- until they can ascertain who will ultimately be hanging from it.
03/29/2015 10:52 EDT
CBC Television went national in 1958. The CTV Television Network followed three years later. Both TV networks have grown into a Canadian staples. Over a half century, consumer habits have changed. But have the networks evolved with the changing face of the viewership? The best Canadian content is the one which reflects the full spectrum of the Canadian identity -- before and behind the cameras.
03/13/2015 01:07 EDT
Both American and Canadian media have showcased the new wave of ethnic Barbie-sized dolls. The culturally-attuned figurines fill the gaping void in a transforming consumer base. Dark-skinned dolls with Aryan noses, Elizabethan hips, and Caucasian hair fail to capture the magic that Barbie has brought to little white girls for over 50 years.
01/27/2015 05:38 EST
For two decades, the Screen Actors Guild has been highlighting its members' best performances. The annual gala isn't as white as the 2015 Oscar nominees, but it's pretty close. Some say the lack of meaningful roles or developed character arcs -- especially for Asians, Latinos and African Americans -- contributed to their perpetual absence in the winners' circle. Others point to audiences' intolerance for non-white central characters. At the 2015 SAG awards, Viola Davis became the third actor of colour to ever take home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Drama.
01/26/2015 12:35 EST
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