Hate Lives In Canada Too | Sarah Beech
2016/11/19 1 Comment
This month, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) in partnership with the City of Toronto launched the second phase of the their ‘Toronto For All’ campaign. Phase one of this campaign focused on xenophobia and Islamaphobia, whereas this phase focused on anti-Black racism.
One of the images featured in the campaign was of a black person beside a white person with the caption: ‘Quick, rent to one.’ The subtext read: ‘Anti-Black racism happens here. Let’s confront it. torontoforall.ca’. While diversity may be our strength, multiculturalism alone is not our saviour.
Canada is not devoid of racism because of our multiculturalism and the ‘Trump Effect’ must not eclipse the domestic racism that has long existed in this country.
Lest we forget, it was not long ago that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was making racist and xenophobic remarks during the federal election when he appealed to ‘old stock’ Canadians. Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau renounced Canada’s colonial baggage, thus dismissing the long history of racism in this nation.
Racism did not appear in this country overnight and it will not be solved overnight. Although multiculturalism is worthy of celebration it does not mean there is no more work to be done.
Canadians need to stop being polite about their racism and start owning it. Resist the urge to get defensive of multiculturalism and realize not everyone experiences Canada in the same way. Multiculturalism alone cannot mitigate prejudice, not without action.
Campaigns like the one launched by OCASI and the City of Toronto are needed to prompt internal bias so people can take responsibility and ownership for the ways they contribute to the racism and prejudice that exists in this country.
Accountability starts with you. So, quick, who would you choose?