22 Ways I’ve Experienced Racism Living in Canada—Because No, It’s Not Just Happening in the US

What do you consider once you consider Canada? Chances are high, you’re interested by maple syrup or moose, nevertheless it’s possible that you simply’re additionally considering of that super-friendly stereotype too. That stereotype appears to provide lots of people—Canadians included—this concept that anti-Black racism isn’t actually prevalent right here. With the social unrest at present taking place in the US, I’ve seen lots of fellow Canadians on my social media lamenting about how glad they’re that we’re “not like that” right here. A very well-liked submit I’ve seen being shared reads, “Canada should really feel just like the condo above a meth lab!”

Sorry, however when it comes to racism, that’s incorrect. 

Each single BIPOC that I’ve ever identified in Canada has handled pervasive racism all through their lives, however I can solely communicate from my very own expertise as a biracial Black lady rising up in rural Ontario. 


Right here’s a set of racially-charged issues I’ve skilled all through my life, in no specific order:

1. My 10th-grade math trainer evaluating me to a unclean white T-shirt in entrance of the whole class.

2. Being known as names like Monkey Lady, N****r Lips, and Jamaican Freak.*

three. My greatest buddy (who occurs to be homosexual) and I had been barred from working for scholar council co-presidents collectively in 12th grade due to “lack of expertise.” I had been on scholar council since ninth grade, and him since 10th.

four. Being requested questions like “What are you?” “The place are you from?” “No, the place are you actually from?” “OK, the place are your dad and mom from then?” Jeez man, would you want a household tree to fulfill your want for an evidence of my pores and skin tone? These questions had been in consecutive order from one buyer whereas I used to be making an attempt to do my job, by the best way.

5. Having the police present up at our house randomly once I was a toddler as a result of folks would name them hoping to catch my father doing one thing fallacious, which they in fact by no means did, as a result of he wasn’t. The police would usually find yourself apologizing for the difficulty as a result of they knew what was taking place.

6. Males who’re solely excited about me as a result of they need to have the ability to say they’ve “been with a Black woman.”

7. Being anticipated to have sure abilities based mostly on my pores and skin tone and to carry out them—i.e. being advised to compete in rap battles, “discuss Jamaican” (regardless of having the very same accent as they do), twerk, “discuss ghetto” (once more, I’m from rural Ontario).

eight. Watched my classmates drive different Black college students out of our elementary college in a matter of months with their harassment.

9. When I’m with my mom who’s white, being requested if I’m adopted, and other people not believing that I’m her organic baby.

10. Being singled out and handled in another way by some academics since kindergarten (for probably the most half, I used to be the one Black scholar).

11. Referred to as an Oreo (Black on the skin, white on the within).

12. Instructed I’m “principally white” as a praise.

13. Instructed I don’t “sound Black” or that I “sound like a white particular person.”

14. Witnessed my father being harassed for making an attempt to greet the neighbors and using his bike across the neighborhood. They accused him of one thing terrible that was not true, totally baseless, and I actually don’t really feel snug sharing.

15. Had previous boyfriends’ dad and mom say issues like, “It’s completely OK that you simply’re Black! We don’t thoughts in any respect!”

16. “You’re fairly for a Black woman.”

17. Make-up artists who didn’t inventory their kits with basis and concealers that match my pores and skin tone and advised me to supply my very own.

18. Individuals casually utilizing racial slurs and making racist jokes in my presence, after which turning on me if I present displeasure.

19. I had a classmate consistently harass me in 12th grade to let him “assist” me as a result of he wished “to get a scholarship for serving to the Black group.” This “joke” went on for ages as this particular person thought it was simply hilarious! Comedic genius, I inform you.

20. A slew of Black jokes all through my life, I can’t keep in mind all of them and I don’t care to attempt. There are method too many for me to waste the psychological area or power.

21. Requested to translate for my father even supposing he speaks glorious normal English.

*Editors’ Be aware: We now have altered the phrase with the author’s permission.


There are various extra issues that I may speak about, however the fact is that it takes effort for me to recollect this stuff, as a result of I sadly simply grew to become used to them as I grew up.

I don’t need to spend any extra time or effort making an attempt to recollect them for my very own sake, however this final one which I’ll share is one I’ll always remember. I debated with myself about sharing this 22nd instance fairly a bit, nevertheless it has been on my thoughts quite a bit currently with the atrocious act dedicated in opposition to George Floyd. 

After I was a toddler, a bunch of males got here to our house with their Rottweiler and bodily and verbally attacked my dad, with the objective of constructing him bodily defend himself so they might name the police on him. I keep in mind them yelling and pushing him. I keep in mind watching one in all them seize my dad by his throat. He couldn’t do something, as a result of any mark left on these males can be used as proof in opposition to him. It will be their phrase in opposition to his, in spite of everything. It was terrifying, and though I used to be a toddler, I understood what was occurring. All I can keep in mind doing is screaming. 

You’d assume (or hope) that this was an remoted incident, nevertheless it wasn’t—it’s simply the one one I can keep in mind clearly. To today I nonetheless really feel a way of terror and suspicion at any time when somebody slows down in entrance of my home, that’s full with a bodily response; my coronary heart is each in my throat whereas it concurrently hammers in my chest, and my abdomen appears like a wrestling match between knots and butterflies. It occurred so way back and the sensation continues to be so sturdy, I don’t assume it is going to ever go away.

From what I’ve seen across the web, there are some folks on the market that assume “they” or  “the media” are creating the racial divide and blowing issues out of proportion, however that’s not true. It’s been dangerous, and it’s been staying dangerous. 

Pictured under is an article with a photograph of my father and I that was written when my household was new on the town, printed in 1997. The primary line says, “All Lincoln Hodges needs is for the folks of Orillia to get folks to know him. Nothing extra, nothing much less.” Are you able to think about being handled so poorly based mostly in your look that an article was printed in your native newspaper asking folks to simply attempt attending to know you first? Within the curiosity of transparency, it’s best to know that individuals did attain out with letters and calls of help following the discharge of this text, nevertheless it needed to be written within the first place, and the whole lot I discussed above occurred lengthy after


Courtesy of Rachel Scheirich


Whereas lots of the examples listed above had been malicious, there are additionally many who merely got here from a spot of ignorance. You don’t should be a self-proclaimed racist so as to do or say issues which might be racist with out realizing it.

I believe that’s a giant supply of battle—after we say, “Hey, that was racist,” I believe folks usually take that as an assault on their character, when that isn’t essentially the case. The quantity of occasions completely pretty folks—my very own family members, even—have unwittingly mentioned or finished one thing racist in direction of me actually feels infinite, however I don’t maintain it in opposition to them as a result of they had been unaware. That’s the factor about intent vs. influence although; though they had been unaware and I knew that, it didn’t make it harm any much less. From the skin trying in, a few of these issues could seem small or inconsequential, as if they need to be simple to brush off. After a lifetime of it although, I simply can’t, and I shouldn’t need to within the first place. It hurts deeply. It’s an emotional loss of life by a thousand cuts. 

I’ve seen lots of posts on social media currently making an attempt to spotlight this side of the bigger drawback. If any of those posts going round have made you are feeling attacked, I encourage you to take a while to take a seat again and take into consideration the foundation of why that’s.


I completely love Canada and am very proud and grateful to be Canadian, however let’s not faux our nation is ideal. The issues I discussed are solely a small assortment of the issues I’ve skilled as a Black lady in Canada, they usually’re nonetheless taking place. All. The. Time. I believe the saddest half for me personally is figuring out that as a light-skinned Black lady, my experiences are solely a fraction of what my darker brothers and sisters face, as a result of colorism is an issue right here too. That top horse we’re sitting on are nothing greater than wishful considering, so let’s not let George Floyd and numerous different Black women and men die in full useless. Let’s take this time to have a look at our personal nation and determine how we could be higher, as a result of it’s not all sunshine and roses right here both.


The submit 22 Methods I’ve Skilled Racism Residing in Canada—As a result of No, It’s Not Simply Taking place within the US appeared first on The Everygirl.

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