Canada has a long history with systemic racism

Originally published at:


It’s British


The same goes for most OECD Western countries in the current age. The more economically progressive ones like Canada can cover it up better than the U.S. with their extensive social programmes and with their desire not to throw liberal democracy completely out the window, but the exploitation (or deliberate exclusion) of PoC undergirds all that prosperity.


It sounds similar to a lot of midwestern USA communities, like my own upbringing: little to no contact with non-European ethnicities until hitting university or military (yeah, I did both). Not actually realising I was playing life at Easy level, with all of the advantages of being male, American whose ancestors came from Europe in the 19th century or earlier*, with educated parents.

I think a lot of us here with (as @gracchus aptly labels it) Western OECD backgrounds are in the same boat: enjoying the fruits of exploitation, but hoping to not be exploitive in the future and doing what we can to lessen prejudice and end belief in that debunked idea called race.

And yeah, I will screw up, I will slack off (I am GenX after all), but I have you people here to kick me in the butt and keep me from patting myself on the back and thinking I deserve a medal for simply not being a jerk.

*what people call “white”, but I avoid that term, as it’s about as useless as “caucasian” is.


Once you take it down to the personal level from that of the nation-state, an even more apt label is “WEIRD” (Western/White, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic):

What makes the U.S. interesting in this regard is that with every passing year it cares less and less about education and democracy and has sent a significant portion of its industrial base overseas. That’s left the country leaning hard on the “Western/White” bit (which is why systemic racism is more obvious there than in Canada), with the riches concentrating more and more at the top.


Every country, no matter how diverse, has its own specific issues with race. I grew up in Venezuela, it has a rich history, and since its founding it saw immigration from all over the world and as such i had thought for the longest time that it was an accepting country. For the most part it is but its particular brand of racism is quiet, hidden behind a facade of friendliness. Indigenous people are routinely mistreated and marginalized, other cultural/national backgrounds are often joked about and treated as others and not really seen as belonging despite some communities having been in the country for generations, etc. Like you i grew up feeling like an outsider despite having many friends, I never really tried to be part of things and its something i still carry with me to this day despite my efforts to better myself as a person.

I still struggle with being involved with the world at large, but with how things are these days i’m doing the best i can though i know its less than the bare minimum. I more clearly see the biases i’ve operated under: racism, sexism, etc. and its daunting looking at the way forward. Makes me feel ill prepared as an ally.


Thank you, Seamus. Your essay resonates with my experience as I white kid growing up in a predominantly white rural community. I wish I could go back and be a better friend to those kids of colour. If wishes were horses… Be a better person today.


Embed didn’t load at first - funny that it’s a CBC piece, their staff like to throw around the N-word during editorial meetings…

If this lesson resonates with you and you have kids, remember you can help them experience the world differently. Choose for your children spaces that are not predominantly white whenever you can. Choose the more racially and socioeconomicly diverse day care, school, church, library, and neighborhood. If you are moving, think about where you are chosing to live and if it’s a white enclave. Model better behavior and understanding for them. Make it a goal to buy and borrow books with POC for your youngest kids, when they have no say in what books are available to them. Talk to your white kids about race even when they are very little. That myth so many of us white folk grew up with that color doesn’t matter- that the goal is to be color blind- t’s very harmful. Help your kids understand that they have privilege and what they should be doing with it. Then show them.


My ancestors came over in the 20th Century and were not educated. As in, quite literally, no formal education. Still, I think I’m kinda playing on Easy mode because I am instantly recognizable as white.

I think I have a little more empathy because I grew up surrounded by people with non European backgrounds. However, maybe just barely more empathy because I was taught to hate them. The us vs them game is strong.

I think whatever empathy I do have is a result of growing as an individual rather than passively accepting whichever culture I was born into.


Excellent advice.


The entire idea of the “New World” was founded on Imperialism/colonialism, which meant dominating the locals, enslaving them if possible, and taking all their land and wealth. That was what the European powers did in Africa and Asia as well, and it reminds me of aliens with superior technology coming to Earth and taking over, except they weren’t aliens, they just thought they were superior. So yeah, Canada, the US, South America, India, Australia. . . .


Jagmeet Singh did the Hip Flip.
He’s the One True King.


One of their staff said the n-word while quoting someone else in a meeting, and got suspended for it. You are moving quickly to generalizations.

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Actually there’s been two suspensions as a result of two separate incidents. The one you’re not mentioning involves a national anchor who flippantly bandied it about in an editorial meeting; once is concerning, twice is a pattern (generally).:canada:

Wasn’t aware of the that incident. Who was it?

It’s a bit hard to follow. If I’m paying attention, Wendy Mesley mentioned a book title on air, but then a separate (or was it related) where the word was mentioned in a meeting. Initially the story didn’t specify the book title.

Once I saw the title, I immediately thought of another book with a similar title. Both books equating the trouble of a subset of whites with the trouble Black people face. And that attitude may be something more important than the word in a book title.

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