‘Always a rolling target to bring about big change’: Fergus says he’s optimistic in feds’ anti-racism strategy progress, ‘but we’re not there yet’

Would be interesting to hear the perspectives of the other parties beyond the NDP as well.

The increased funding and programming is significant, as are initiatives like breaking down visible minorities into the different groups in employment equity )What new disaggregated data tells us about federal public service …) and the Public Service Employee Survey (What the Public Service Employee Survey breakdowns of visible minority and other groups tell us about diversity and inclusion):

Nearly 18 months following the introduction of the federal government’s anti-racism strategy and nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger says although the government is making progress, “there’s a lot of work to do here and it’s going to take some time.”

In an interview with The Hill Times, Ms. Chagger (Waterloo, Ont.) says “racism did not take a pause during the pandemic—on the contrary, COVID-19 has affected all Canadians and certain segments disproportionally.”

“If you look at every single minister and the work we’re doing, we are peeling these systems back in a way that we haven’t done before to ensure that the very people that are underrepresented and underserved are actually part of that decision-making and are informing our decisions” said Ms. Chagger. “There’s no minister that’s on the sidelines when it comes to this issue—[Justice] Minister David Lametti is having these conversations, [Public Safety] Minister Bill Blair is having these conversations, the prime minister is having these conversations.”

“Every single minister is consciously having these conversations and ensuring that these voices are being invited to the decision-making table and conscious about who’s not being invited, to ensure that these voices are also being heard,” said Ms. Chagger.

Liberal MP Greg Fergus (Hull-Aylmer, Que.), who chairs the cross-party Black Parliamentary Caucus that was first established in 2015, was also optimistic that progress is being made—but said that “it’s always a rolling target to bring about big change.”

“I would even go back further than a year-and-a-half ago, I’d go back to the budget of 2018, where for the first time ever in Canada’s history, you saw some investments which were directed at the Black community,” said Mr. Fergus. “With regard to mental health, with regard to, most importantly, disaggregated data, with regards to some community support and programming, as well as capital costs.”

“And the creation of course of the [Anti-Racism] Secretariat,” said Mr. Fergus, alluding to the unit established within the Heritage department in Oct. 2019 to the tune of $4.6-million.

“We had the election, and then we had the creation of the new ministry of diversity, inclusion, and youth, so that’s great” said Mr. Fergus. “We saw mandate letters, which laid out what we should be doing.”

“And then we had the pandemic hit, and then we had the brutal videos that came out from the United States,” said Mr. Fergus, alluding to the May 25 killing of 46-year-old George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis that was caught on video, an event that sparked outrage and mass demonstrations in the United States and in Canada, including on Parliament Hill on June 5.

“What have we seen since that time? We’ve seen a firm commitment from the prime minister to deal with this, and that was reflected in the Speech from the Throne, which delighted me to no end because it took every single one of the large subject areas that the Parliamentary Black Caucus had identified.”

In a statement release June 15, the caucus outlined a series of proposals that governments should act on to redress historic injustices in the areas of public safety, justice, representation in the federal public service, race-based data collection, as well as arts and culture.

There are some important steps which are being taken by Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart and the community of deputy ministers within the federal public service to affect change as well, according to Mr. Fergus.

“All this to say—we’re making progress,” said Mr. Fergus. “Is it at the speed I want it to be? I would prefer faster. All parliamentary caucus is working on that and I daresay that the government is working on that.”

“We will get there, but it’s important to remember where we came from,” said Mr. Fergus. “When you look back at the journey, you can say there’s some pretty big progress. But if you were to compare it to where we know we should be, we’re not there yet.”

The anti-racism strategy, designed to unroll from 2019 to 2022, has a $45-million price tag.

Most recently, Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden (Milton, Ont.), who is parliamentary secretary to Ms. Chagger, along with Liberal MP Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre, Man.) highlighted 13 projects in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta that are part of 85 projects coast-to-coast that have already received $15-million in funding as part of the government’s new Anti-Racism Action Program.

Addressing systemic racism played large role in Throne Speech 

“For too many Canadians, systemic racism is a lived reality,” read Governor General Julie Payette in the most recent Speech from the Throne on Sept. 23. “We know that racism did not take a pause during the pandemic. On the contrary, COVID-19 has hit racialized Canadians especially hard.”

“Many people—especially Indigenous people, and Black and racialized Canadians—have raised their voices and stood up to demand change,” she said in the speech drawn up by the government. “They are telling us we must do more. The government agrees.”

But NDP MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre, Ont.) said he thought most of the work that has been proposed by the Liberals have been based on announcements and aesthetics, and not tackling the actual institutional form of systemic racism.

“While it is small steps in the right direction in terms of the announcements of programs, this goes beyond buying your way out of deep organizational, cultural, and institutional racism,” said Mr. Green. “There is actual legislative work within the House of Commons under the purview of the federal government, from institutions like the RCMP, to the judiciary to their own public service sector, that still clearly suggests significant challenges around anti-Black racism.”

“And there just seems to be ongoing reluctance for this government to go beyond the aesthetics of big-ticket announcements and into the actual work of dismantling anti-Black racism and racism within their government,” said Mr. Green.

When asked about the tumultuous events of the summer and the effect the mass demonstrations had on anti-racism initiatives within governments, Mr. Green said the saddest part of that moment is that it was borne of the suffering and subjugation of Black people.

“Until we dismantle white supremacy, that suffering will continue, so the saddest part about that moment is that it will never pass and it will only ever continue,” said Mr. Green. “For every George Floyd, there are dozens and hundreds of countless, unnamed Black, Indigenous and racialized people who are brutalized by police.”

“That has not stopped—in fact, in the ensuing months, we know it to be true that the police have continued at all levels to be caught on camera brutalizing people,” said Mr. Green. “And it’s not just police—we’re seeing it in our health care systems, we’re seeing it in our long-term care homes, we’re seeing it in the way that workers are brutalized in the front lines who are essential but are not paid essentially.”

“These are the ways in which systemic and institutional racism play out in Canada, and this is a moment that will never pass,” said Mr. Green. “Tackling systemic racism is more than just announcing big dollar funding for programs.”

Ms. Chagger said she understands the call for legislation to address the matter, “but no law is going to change us.”

“We have to change us—we have to look within ourselves and in our own backyards. But this federal government under this prime minister recognizes that there is a need for federal leadership, and we will continue to display it, we will continue to act upon it, and we will continue to keep an open door and work with everyone, so that we are being inclusive in the way we are developing these policies so they work for all Canadians.”

Source: ‘Always a rolling target to bring about big change’: Fergus says he’s optimistic in feds’ anti-racism strategy progress, ‘but we’re not there yet’

Canada’s Federal Anti-Racism Strategy: An Overview

Good useful history, overview and reference document (I was involved in the evaluation of the first action plan, which was more virtue signalling than substantive, apart from police-reported hate crimes statistics):

In many countries around the globe, including Canada, recent movements to recognize and address racial injustices and discrimination have led to increased examination of government efforts to combat racism. This HillNote provides an overview of the federal government’s anti-racism strategy and some anti-racism efforts by other levels of government in Canada.

Canada’s First Federal Anti-Racism Action Plan

In 2005, the federal government established the first coordinated federal approach to combat racism in Canada, entitled Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism (2005-2010). This five-year plan was led by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

In 2010, the Evaluation of Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism identified limitations in the plan’s design and delivery and found challenges in measuring the plan’s overall impact. While some anti-racism initiatives continued at the federal level, the federal government did not renew or replace the action plan until 2019.

The Creation of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022

In June 2017, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage(committee) launched a study of systemic racism and religious discrimination in Canada. Three of the 30 recommendations in the committee’s report tabled in February 2018 concerned Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism and called on the Government of Canada to:

(1) update and reinstate the previous Canadian Action Plan Against Racism and broaden it to include religious discrimination;

(2) create a directorate at the Department of Canadian Heritage which will develop, implement and monitor this National Action Plan; and

(3) have measurable targets, deadlines and reporting mechanisms in the Plan, dedicate resources to the Plan, and implement adequate monitoring.

In its response to the committee report, the Government of Canada agreed that it “needs to take an active role in addressing systemic racism and religious discrimination” and described recent efforts and plans to do so, including “support for community engagement on a new anti-racism approach that reflects the need to update [Canada’sAction Plan Against Racism].”

From October 2018 to March 2019, the Government of Canada consulted Canadians, especially those with lived experiences of racism and discrimination, to gather input to inform the development of a new anti-racism strategy. The input is summarized in the Department of Canadian Heritage’s What we heard — Informing Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy.

An Overview of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022

Canada’s federal anti-racism strategy, Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022, was launched in June 2019.

The strategy acknowledges the need for the Government of Canada to combat “racism and discrimination that is anti-Indigenous, Islamophobic, antisemitic, anti-Black, or homophobic.” The strategy identifies key terms, including:

  • Racism: any individual action, or institutional practice which treats people differently because of their colour or ethnicity. This distinction is often used to justify discrimination.
  • Systemic or institutional racism: consists of patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the social or administrative structures of an organization, and which create or perpetuate a position of relative disadvantage for racialized persons. These appear neutral on the surface but, nevertheless, have an exclusionary impact on racialized persons.

The strategy contains the following new investments:

  • $4.6 million to establish a new Anti-Racism Secretariat within the Department of Canadian Heritage, to lead a whole-of-government approach to address racism.
  • $30 million for community-based projects, in the form of a newly launched Anti-Racism Action Program. The program funds local, regional and national initiatives that address barriers to employment, social participation and justice for Indigenous peoples, racialized communities and religious minority communities. The Anti-Racism Action Program also has community-led digital and civic literacy programming to address online disinformation and hate.
  • $0.9 million to support Public Safety Canada’s efforts to develop a national framework and evidence-based guidelines to better respond to hate crimes, hate incidents and hate speech.
  • $3.3 million for a national public education and awareness campaign that aims to increase public awareness and understanding across Canada of the historical roots of racism and its impacts on Indigenous peoples, racialized communities and religious minority communities.
  • $6.2 million to increase “reliable, usable and comparable data and evidence regarding racism and discrimination,” including support for Statistics Canada and its Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics.
  • Additional funding to be provided to the Community Support, Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program.

The results of the strategy are to be reported “to Canadians on a yearly basis.” No report has been released as of 10 November 2020.

In October 2020, the Government of Canada announced more details about Anti-Racism Action Program funding.

Some civil society organizations have spoken in favour of elements of the strategy. For example, the National Council of Canadian Muslims expressed support for the strategy’s commitment to fund efforts to combat online hate in June 2019, but also suggested that other elements of the strategy need ongoing work informed by consultations. In October 2020 the organization published an open letter to the Prime Minister, co-signed by 25 community, human rights and other non-governmental organizations, calling for the federal government “to establish a national action plan on dismantling white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that threaten Canadians who are Black, Indigenous, Jewish, Muslim, or Sikh, amongst other communities.”

Other organizations have criticized what they see as a lack of tangible targets in the strategy. For instance, Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change, a network of community organizations, said the strategy “while highlighting $45 million of various existing, redirected, and new federal funding under the banner of anti-racism, fails to specifically outline [its] concrete timelines, actions, and goals.”

The Speech from the Throne delivered on 23 September 2020 pledged to “redouble” the Government of Canada’s efforts to address systemic racism through a variety of new measures.

Recent Anti-Racism Activities at the Parliamentary Level

Recent parliamentary initiatives to address racism include:

  • On 16 June 2020, the Parliamentary Black Caucus published a statement calling for Canadian governments to take specific anti-racist actions.
  • On 18 June 2020, the Senate of Canada held an emergency debate on racism.
  • On 23 June 2020, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security launched a study of Systemic Racism in Policing in Canada.
  • On 25 June 2020, the Senate of Canada was resolved into a Committee of the Wholeto discuss the federal government’s role in combatting racism.
Anti-Racism Strategies and Efforts at Other Levels of Government in Canada

Several provincial governments have developed anti-racism strategies, projects and other actions. For example:

At the local level, some municipalities have their own anti-racism initiatives. For instance:

Additional Resources:

Department of Canadian Heritage, Anti-Racism Resources.

Robyn Maynard, Policing Black lives: state violence in Canada from slavery to the present, Fernwood Publishing: Halifax, 2017.

University of Waterloo, Anti-Racism Resources.

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism.

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its mission to Canada16 August 2017.

Authors: Laura Munn-Rivard and Laura Hatt, Library of Parliament

#anti-racism-strategy#discrimination#equality#human-rights#systemic-racism

Source: https://hillnotes.ca/2020/11/13/canadas-federal-anti-racism-strategy-an-overview/

Quebec immigration minister skips federal human rights meeting addressing systemic racism (along with Alberta, Saskatchewan)

Sigh:

Quebec’s immigration minister Nadine Girault pulled out of a virtual meeting among provinces about human rights, drawing criticism from federal government officials who say it is because of the province’s refusal to acknowledge systemic racism.

Girault sent a bureaucrat to observe, instead of participate in the meeting, citing scheduling issues. Alberta and Saskatchewan also sent observers, rather than participating.

But Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says he was told by Quebec provincial officials Girault’s absence was because of the meeting’s portion on systemic racism, which Premier François Legault has refused to say exists in Quebec.

Source: Quebec immigration minister skips federal human rights meeting addressing systemic racism

Black Canadians fought racism, discrimination to serve in Second World War

Good reminder of one of the unfortunate parts of our history:

When one starts asking questions about the experience of Black Canadians during the Second World War, it doesn’t take long to land on the name Allan Bundy.

That’s because at a time when the Canadian Armed Forces is promising to crack down on systemic racism, as well as individual acts of discrimination in the ranks, Bundy’s story speaks to both.

He was one of many Black Canadians who had to overcome discrimination and racism to fight during the Second World War, says Canadian War Museum historian Andrew Burtch.

His story also highlights the long presence of racism in the Canadian Armed Forces, even as it strives today for more diversity, including by promising to end hateful conduct in the ranks.

“One of the top bullets in the most recent Canadian defence policy is looking at leveraging the diversity of the country as a strength and creating better circumstances to allow for that to happen, which would include making sure that people are supported,” Burtch said.

“Obviously there wasn’t that support before.”

Air force, navy quietly barred Black and Asian Canadians

Bundy was 19 years old when he and a white friend named Soupy Campbell went to the Halifax recruiting centre to join the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as pilots. It was late 1939, Germany had just invaded Poland, and Canada and its allies were mobilizing their militaries after declaring war on the Nazis.

When Bundy and Campbell walked out, however, only Soupy had been accepted to join the RCAF. Bundy, according to the stories, felt like he had been rejected because of the recruiting officer’s own racist attitudes. Such incidents had been common during the First World War, in which Bundy’s own father had served in Canada’s only all-Black unit, the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

What Bundy didn’t know at the time was that the entire RCAF, as well as the Royal Canadian Navy, were quietly barring Black and Asian Canadians from all but the most general positions. The policy wasn’t publicized, but most jobs could only go to British subjects who were white or of “pure European descent.”

When conscription was introduced a few years later, the Canadian Army came calling for Bundy. But he wanted to fly, and he wasn’t afraid to say it when an RCMP officer visited a short time later to ask why he hadn’t responded to the Army’s summons.

“I told him that I had gone to join the Air Force in 1939 and if the bullet that kills me is not good enough for the Air Force, then it is not good enough for the Army either — so take me away,” Bundy later recalled telling the Mountie.

Soon afterward, Bundy visited the recruiting station again. By now, because of a shortage of trained pilots and aircrew, the RCAF had started to open its doors to Black Canadians and others.

Even after being accepted and trained, Bundy faced a new form of discrimination. None of the white navigators wanted to serve on his Bristol Beaufighter.

It was only after a sergeant by the name of Elwood Cecil Wright volunteered that Bundy became the first Black Canadian to fly a combat mission during the war.

During their first mission, the two sank a pair of enemy ships off the coast of Norway. They would fly 42 more missions together before the war ended and Bundy returned home to Halifax.

Service changed attitudes in Canadian society

The Canadian War Museum credits Bundy and dozens of other Black Canadians who served with the RCAF during the Second World War as having helped “change attitudes toward visible minorities in the military, and in Canadian society.”

Kathy Grant is the founder of the Legacy Voices Project, which seeks to share the stories of Black Canadians who served during the two world wars. One of those was Grant’s own father, Owen Rowe, who travelled to Canada from Barbados to volunteer for the Second World War and asked her to start the memorial project.

Grant believes the war helped pave the way for more rights and freedoms for Black Canadians.

Some such as Lincoln Alexander, who went on to become lieutenant-governor of Ontario, were able to take advantage of the benefits offered by Ottawa to veterans. Many also felt empowered to fight for those rights, and found allies in former comrades-in-arms who were white.

“They wanted things to change,” Grant said. “They were thinking: ‘Well, why are we fighting? Here it is, some of us are dying and they’re out of line by just denying us these rights.’ But it was a large shift for Canada as a whole.”

Source: Black Canadians fought racism, discrimination to serve in Second World War

How a racial reckoning and a pandemic opened the door for some Asian Canadians to talk about racism like never before

Of note:

Born and raised in a small Ontario community, Cindy Tran says she learned racism was something Asians endured.

Then, her beloved grandmother was assaulted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So Tran, a Carleton University student, unleashed her long bottled-up anger and frustration with a blog post, which became the talk of Pembroke, her small city of 15,000 northwest of Ottawa.

“It’s shocking that a town that marches for Black Lives Matter still breeds hate toward people of colour,” she wrote back in August, before describing the attack by a group of young teenagers on her 80-year-old grandmother, Thi Nga Doan.

“I grew up in this town, but I have never truly called it home.”

The journalism student’s decision to speak out and the ensuing reaction prompted the mayor to form a diversity committee to tackle racism.

It’s a situation, Tran acknowledges, that might not have unfolded without the collison of the coronavirus pandemic and the widespread protests against systemic racism sparked by the death of George Floyd in the United States.

“Race was not something that was discussed in Pembroke. My story and opinion piece got so much interaction and interest from people,” said Tran. “So much was happening with Black Lives Matter. In the midst of that, you see an 80-year-old elderly woman attacked in her own home. That’s what’s bringing everything together, unfortunately.”

It’s been widely observed that twin epidemics have dominated North American news in 2020 — the scourge of COVID-19 and that of racism.

The pandemic has found society’s weak points and exacerbated its fissures. The crisis had had a disproportionate impact on the working poor, often racialized people, bringing society’s existing systemic racism, whether anti-Black or anti-Asian or other, to the fore.

Against the backdrop of the health crisis, the killing of Floyd by police gave people stuck in lockdown fresh reason to reflect on systemic injustices, triggering an awareness that advocates hope will lead to long-lasting change. For many, the moment has stirred memories of the discrimination they faced early in their lives — and which they continue to see today.

“People’s consciousness was raised. If you can shift one’s consciousness, everything else will flow,” said Kiké Roach, lawyer, community activist and the Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University.

“The two pandemics — COVID-19 and racism — touch all different people. We are in this moment together.”

‘They would interrogate us’

Canada has seen before the racism that can emerge amid a public health crisis.

But there’s been a progression in how political leaders and the media have responded to anti-East Asian incidents since the SARS epidemic in 2003, says Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.

As early as January, Toronto Mayor John Tory and medical officer Dr. Eileen De Villa stood side-by-side with Chinese community members to condemn emerging racism directed at Chinese Canadians and decry boycotts of Chinese businesses.

In May, government funding was quickly made available to support a community website, Fight COVID Racism, for alleged hate crime victims to file incident reports, trace documented cases through an interactive timeline and map in its response to the wave of hate crimes.

So far, more than 600 alleged incidents have been reported.

“During SARS, very few mainstream media would listen to our stories or they would interrogate us and ask, ‘How do you know it’s racially motivated?’” said Go. “With COVID, we didn’t have to justify we had been victimized due to our race.”

‘I was born and raised here’

Connie Lee was 14 during that SARS pandemic in Toronto. In school, a fellow student came up to her and said, in front of the whole class, that all Chinese people had SARS so she couldn’t hang out with her anymore.

Now 31, Lee was recently at a No Frills store in North York when she was yelled at by a white man, who not only cut in front of her in the checkout line but called her a “stupid b—–” for wearing a medical mask, then told her to go back to where she came from.

“SARS was severe, but it was short-lived. COVID’s scope is different in terms of how far it’s spread and its long time span. Anti-masking and anti-Asian sentiments are going together now,” said Lee, a municipal government administrator.

“I was born and raised here, but people don’t see me that way. Even though I identify as Canadian on paper, the way other people see me is different.”

Like Tran, who felt she had no outlets to talk about racism in school or at home, Lee said Asians are often caught in the middle between Blacks and whites.

“We’re a group used as model minorities. People think we can’t experience racism because some of us can be very successful, but we are used as a pawn, seen as good and bad, depending on how the politics go. We are not white enough and we are not black enough,” said Lee, who grew up in Toronto.

“This puts things into perspectives about Asians not having a voice.”

However, the current pandemic, she said, has given some Asians a framework to tell their stories.

“Before, if you wanted to talk about it, you didn’t have the context to talk about it. You’re seen as a troublemaker by saying anything,” said Lee, who has spent a lot of her time during the lockdown on virtual workshops about anti-Asian racism to “unlearn” some of the white supremacist views she said she internalized while growing up.

“Now you can see (racism) confidently because there’s a larger conversation about it. Previously you could talk about it, but you’d get dismissed as a one-off experience. Systemic racism has always been there but the pandemic has brought it to the forefront.”

‘Mutual friends do nothing’

Toronto’s Ian Hood, who is half Japanese and half Scottish, was taunted during his school days with racial slurs. As a young person, his coping mechanism was to toss slurs back at his classmates based on their European heritage.

Now an adult, he’s seen fresh racism related to COVID-19, which he says has brought out the worst even from a friend he grew up with in Aurora.

Since February, the friend has started posting anti-Chinese and anti-Asian Japanese comments on Facebook directed at him, with stories about how the Chinese and Asians brought the disease to Canada and why they should all go back where they came from. The worst part, Hood said, was how everyone in this friends’ group kept silent about it.

“He kept using the term ‘deal with it.’ In private messages, he called me (slurs) and went on with his tirades. At first, he thought they’re funny. When I spoke against it, he became angry. His humour seemed to be hiding his violent attitude and anger at Asian people,” said Hood, 42. “Mutual friends do nothing. They let him.”

The experience reminds him of his upbringing in Aurora, especially one incident in elementary school during a class about geography and heritage. His teacher repeatedly asked him where he was from, even though he was born and raised in Canada, until he responded that his mother was Japanese and father was Scottish.

“It was the recognition that I wasn’t like the others. She was trying to teach me that I wasn’t like the others. It’s a constant reminder that you don’t quite fit in like others,” said Hood, who is a program evaluation analyst with the Canadian Red Cross. “It hurt.”

During the pandemic, given the confluence of all the forces that have created an openness to discuss racism, Hood said he has felt encouraged to speak up and confront it.

“The experience during COVID motivated you to be more active in fighting racism and engage in conversations. The experiences we’ve had since this pandemic has motivated all of us to have these conversations,” he said.

“Personally, it has made me far more willing to talk about this. The ability to have a conversation about racism empowers me to stand up against it.”

Hood said the global BLM protests stemming from Floyd’s death helped open up people to look at systemic racism that cuts across ethnic boundaries affecting all visible minority groups.

“If we look after the most marginalized people in our society, we can only make the society better for everybody,” said Hood, who has since joined the new diversity and inclusion task force established at his workplace.

“COVID shows us that a lot of the inequity we are seeing has to do with socio-economic status, which in turn is related to race and ethnicity. They are intertwined.”

‘Black Lives Matter has triggered all these conversations’

Although South Asians, visibly appearing different from their East Asian counterparts, are not targeted in COVID-19-related racism, activist Shalini Konanur said their own experiences during the pandemic, such as job losses, have also served as a reminder of the systemic racism to which they’re not immune.

Some people in the community started to look at the role they themselves play in perpetuating racial stereotypes, biases and discrimination within the bigger system.

“They look at the disconnect and where the South Asians are in this,” said Konanur, executive director and a lawyer at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, who is also part of a new online group called South Asian Allyship to build partnerships with other communities to address these issues.

“Black Lives Matter has triggered all these conversations. It has addressed the apathy piece in the community.”

The underlying thread of the pandemics of coronavirus and systemic racism is the breakdown of the system and the collective urge for people to confront the lack of accountability and transparency, said Ryerson’s Roach.

In both pandemics, she says, some people are bearing the brunt more than others and the crisis has prompted the much-needed public discussion around different ideas that had not been widely talked about, such as abolitionism and defunding police.

“You must understand it’s not a mater of a few bad apples and someone is being mean to another person. It is about understanding the way the system perpetuates the unequal distribution of power, inequitable representation of ideas, views and experiences from a cross section of diverse people. We need to look at the system and have hard conversations.”

‘You can’t be afraid’

Back in Pembroke, where her grandmother’s alleged assailants were arrested and charged, Tran says she has been flooded with emails and messages from people who didn’t feel they could speak up about their own experiences of racism.

“A lot of people who see my blog say, ‘You are so creative in writing this.’ They say, ‘You’re courageous.’ What makes a good advocate is you abandon your fear. You can’t be afraid of people calling you a liar or saying your issues don’t matter,” Tran said.

“It’s weird that there had never been a reckoning like this before but now there is. It’s an encouraging sign.”

Source: How a racial reckoning and a pandemic opened the door for some Asian Canadians to talk about racism like never before

How to Be an Active Bystander When You See Casual Racism

Some practical pointers:

We’ve all been there.

At a dinner party. In line at the post office. On a Zoom meeting. You can feel it coming: that awful joke your friend likes to tell about immigrants. Questions like “Don’t all lives matter?” or “Did he resist arrest?” The discomfort becomes palpable. Your gut twists. God, I hope someone says something, you think with increasing desperation. And so does everyone else.

This phenomenon, in which no one in a group of witnesses chooses to disrupt a problematic event, is called the bystander effect, said Thomas Vance, a national certified counselor and a postdoctoral psychology fellow at the New School for Social Research in New York.

“We like to think that we live in a world where people will jump in,” Dr. Vance said in an email, but “the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in need or distress.”

“This happens because being part of a large crowd makes it so no single person has to take responsibility for an action,” he added.

This diffusion of responsibility can make well-intentioned people complicit in whatever acts of violence or discrimination they silently witness.

To avoid that silent complicity, people can learn to become active bystanders: individuals who work to create cultures that actively reject harmful or discriminatory behavior through targeted interventions.

First, let’s talk about the difference between an ally and an active bystander.

An ally is someone who “does not suffer the same oppressions” as you do but who “supports your struggle for rights and freedom,” Micki McElya, a history professor at the University of Connecticut, wrote in the Boston Review.

Absent from that definition is action. Active bystanders see something bad happen and make discreet choices to respond to the concerning behavior, said Monica Reyna, a violence prevention educator at the Advocates, a nonprofit in rural Idaho. That can take many forms, such as recording suspected police brutality or challenging everyday microaggressions like dinner-table racism. It can be leaning into humor to unpack “compliments” — for example, your boss describes a Black colleague as “articulate,” the subtext being that this is somehow exceptional — or educating friends about the problematic origins of commonplace expressions.

To beat the bystander effect, we have to retrain our brains and establish new patterns of behavior. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to do this.

“We began to categorize all of the anti-bias actions that could be taken,” said Derald Wing Sue, a professor at Columbia who studies the psychology of racism and antiracism and has written extensively about microaggression theory. “There were literally thousands of them.”

One of the most effective tactics, Dr. Sue said, is what he calls the art of the comeback.

“A person will say to me, ‘You speak excellent English,’ and I will say, ‘You do, too, John!’” said Dr. Sue, who is Chinese-American. “The ‘compliment’ has a hidden communication to me that I’m a perpetual alien in my own country, I’m not a true American.” He said that “by simply reversing it, it may have a humorous or sarcastic impact” that reveals the comment’s underlying meaning.

Dorothy J. Edwards, president and founder of Alteristic, a nonprofit consultancy that provides bystander training, focuses on “the three D’s”: direct, distract and delegate.

“We emphasize that ‘direct’ doesn’t have to be combative or confrontational; it just means you address the situation directly,” Dr. Edwards said. This can be as simple as “checking in on the person at risk” by asking if the person is OK or telling the perpetrator to “knock it off.”

Even your physical presence can be enough to keep someone from being the target of racial violence, said LaVonne Pepe, a social worker and a senior trainer at Alteristic.

If you witness a concerning event that may escalate into harm, Dr. Edwards recommends creating a diversion. For example, suggest going to get food. Or tell a white lie: Say someone’s car is being towed. Interrupt a heated discussion by asking for a phone charger. Doing so can help to de-escalate a situation and give the person on the receiving end of the behavior a chance to exit the scene.

Delegation is even easier: Enlist the help of that one friend who actually likes direct confrontation or has the clout to absorb any pushback. The idea is to just do something, whatever that may be.

Before Alteristic trainers get into the three D’s, they focus on why people don’t speak out in the first place. Training starts by examining what human social behavior and thought patterns also conspire against us.

“A lot of us are taught how to mind our business, or that if it does not involve us then we shouldn’t interject,” Dr. Vance said. “We have to unlearn that particular method and relearn strategies to challenge our biases that we have developed over time.”

For people with privilege, losing that privilege can be a strong demotivator, Dr. Sue said. Many white Americans learn from an early age not to talk about race, which makes it harder for them to speak out.

“When a young child makes an obvious, naïve observation of skin tone, eyes and physical differences, what do parents do? They hush them up,” he said, adding that this can feed into adults’ claims of “color blindness,” which he explores in his book “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence.”

“If you are colorblind, you are color mute,” he said.

The socialization of women, too, can also prevent them from being active bystanders, Dr. Edwards said.

Women learn “certain messages of what it means to be feminine and a woman,” she said, adding that the privilege of being white makes it “even easier for me to not make waves,” especially if not doing so helps retain that privilege.

And for people who hold marginalized identities, making waves can mean facing consequences, according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review. If you’re the only Black person at your company, for instance, calling out your boss’s inappropriate jokes may reduce opportunities for you.

Active bystanders should strive to intervene early and often.

What we need, Dr. Sue said, is for allies “to find the moral courage to intervene when they see a moral transgression occurring.”

“When no action is taken and people remain silent in the face of racism, it causes pain and suffering to the targets, it creates guilt in the mind of onlookers and it creates a false consensus that racism is OK,” he said in an email.

That suffering compounds the mental and emotional burden that marginalized people already carry, Ms. Pepe said. Continued exposure to systemic and casual discrimination increases stressand elevates cortisolcompromises mental health and can even lead to physical pain.

Almost by definition, an active bystander is a person who chooses to “act in the moment” when he or she witnesses problematic behavior, Dr. McElya said.

That said, there is no statute of limitations on stepping up. If you miss your window, follow up with the perpetrator later in a private conversation. Or share resources through email or social media.

“The way that you choose to say it is up to you,” Ms. Pepe said. “But at the end of the day, if your value is that people shouldn’t be hurt, for whatever the reason is, you can find a way to say that if you care about it enough.”

It is hard! The fatigue that we all feel is real and it is normal. Standing up as an active bystander, going to protests, engaging in online discussions, educating yourself and your children … all of that means exposing yourself to harsh realities like the killing of George Floyd, systemic discrimination and violence. And the deeper you get into these realities, the more you begin to see how entrenched they are.

“Those things are all very draining and all of us become traumatized,” said Beryl Domingo, an active bystander coordinator at Quabbin Mediation, a community-based organization in Orange, Ma., that offers dispute mediation services and active bystander training. “No one is unaffected by this. You’d have to be a robot not to be affected by these vicious incidents.”

The author Robin DiAngelo coined the term “white fragility” to describe what she calls the “silence, defensiveness, argumentation, certitude and other forms of pushback” that white people manifest when confronted with their own racial biases.

But, according to Ms. Domingo, building the “moral courage” to confront these feelings and become a more active bystander can help to make the world a more equitable place.

“It takes work and it takes time, but you do get better, actually,” she said. “Because you begin to feel confident, you begin to feel, Hey, I can do this.”

You will. Try again. Build resilience.

If you’re uncomfortable and exhausted, it means you’re headed in the right direction. Like anything worth doing, becoming an active bystander takes practice.

By building up “your moral courage muscle, you actually gain strength,” Ms. Domingo said. “And other people see what you’re doing, and they begin to do the same thing.”

Keep in mind that, despite your best intentions and efforts, you won’t always have the impact you desire. Pre-empt potential harm by leaning into the “bystander” part of being an active bystander, Dr. McElya said, and by taking your cues from marginalized people on how to show up for them.

You won’t get it right every time. You might be unsure of how to intervene or miss your window for a snappy comeback. That’s just reality, Ms. Edwards said, because in real life “we have barriers.” Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, plan to do better next time. Continue your education about the issues that matter, and remember that it’s OK to start small.

Ms. Domingo said, “When you don’t do something, the person doing the harm assumes that you’re in agreement with their actions.”

“If we don’t challenge them, they will continue to do what they do and they will influence other people to do the same,” she added.

More resources about being an active bystander:

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity website has a virtual training and downloadable materials.

Hollaback offers various trainings in New York City and a free guide to bystander interventions.

This Guide to Responding to Microaggressions explains identity-based microaggressions and ways to counteract them.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/smarter-living/how-to-be-an-active-bystander-when-you-see-casual-racism.html?surface=home-living-vi&fellback=false&req_id=103691495&algo=identity&imp_id=184207600&action=click&module=Smarter%20Living&pgtype=Homepage

‘Dramatic’ decline in Canadians who say discrimination against Black and Chinese communities is not a problem here

Yet another interesting survey from Environics with this encouraging trend:

There has been a “dramatic” decline in the proportion of Canadians who say that discrimination against Black and Chinese communities is no longer a problem in Canada, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by the Environics Institute alongside Vancity, Century Initiative and the University of Ottawa, is based on research conducted over the course of two public opinion surveys, which were completed in August and September. The first survey was conducted online, and gauged the opinions of 3,008 Canadians. The second survey was based on telephone interviews with 2,000 Canadians, and is accurate within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

The surveys have found that there is little divide on the issue of racism in Canada: the views of those that identify as white and those who are racialized have both shifted in the same direction.

The proportion of Canadians who said that discrimination against Chinese-Canadians is no longer an issue has fallen by just over half. In 2019, 63 per cent of Canadians said it was no longer a problem. In 2020, only 31 per cent agreed that discrimination against Chinese-Canadians was no longer a problem.

Similar trends emerged for how Canadians perceive racism against Black communities: Fewer than half as many — 20 per cent — say it is no longer an issue in Canada than in 2019, when 47 per cent said racism against Black Canadians was no longer an issue.

While many Canadians disagreed discrimination against Indigenous communities was no longer a problem last year, the proportion of people that strongly disagreed grew from 29 per cent in 2019 to 43 per cent this year.

The proportion of Canadians that “agree that it is more difficult for non-white people to be successful in Canadian society” has also grown from 2019, the study found.

There has been a decline over the last decade in confidence in local police and the RCMP, the study survey showed, with 73 per cent of Canadians saying they have a lot or some confidence in police. Meanwhile, 64 say the same about the RCMP. In 2010, 88 per cent expressed confidence in local police, and 84 per cent expressed confidence in the RCMP.

Andrew Parkin, executive director of the Environics Institute, told the Star that typically, opinions change gradually. This year, though, there are clear, sharp changes in the way Canadians view race and policing.

“In the report, we call (the shift) dramatic — and I don’t think we’re exaggerating,” Parkin said. “That’s a dramatic change in a short period of time.”

The major changes in public perception suggest “that something grabbed the public’s attention and led them to think about these issues in a different way from which they’ve been thinking about them before,” he said.

The report cites the wide public discussion around police brutality, anti-Black racism protests and the publicity of racist behaviour towards Chinese-Canadians in the wake of COVID-19 as the likely trigger for the shift.

The report “certainly shows a more openness to the idea of systemic racism,” Parkin said.

The shift in thinking shows “we’re moving forward,” said Marva Wisdom, a senior fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. “I think that is a good thing. So I am very, very hopeful.”

The survey matches up with what those on the ground doing anti-racism work are experiencing and hearing, she said. However, Wisdom said she’s feeling cautious about the results.

There is “vigilance that has to go along with this,” she said. “It’s critical, and it’s important and while I’m hopeful, I also recognize that we have to build in sustainability in the work that we’re doing.”

Public perception “has never been like this before, the response has never been this consistently positive,” Wisdom said.

“People are working to read books and finding out how they can learn about systemic racism. And, I cannot understate how important that is for our country, our communities, and for especially Black and Indigenous populations going forward.”

Source: ‘Dramatic’ decline in Canadians who say discrimination against Black and Chinese communities is not a problem here

For the survey:  Final Report,  Detailed Data Tables

Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and YouTube all found recently hosting racist music

Of note:

Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music have now removed racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic content from their services, following a BBC investigation.

Deezer was also made aware of similar songs, mostly linked to white supremacy, on its platforms.

It comes three years after Spotify tried to crackdown on a similar issue and updated its hate content policy.

Spotify said the content flagged by the BBC clearly violated that policy. YouTube said there was no place for hate on its platform while Apple Music has now hidden the majority of the tracks.

The evidence

It’s difficult to quantify the scale of the problem. However, the BBC investigation easily found at least 20 songs with disturbing content:

  • Songs glorifying ‘Aryan nations’ (The Nazis’ racial philosophy taught that Aryans were the master race)
  • Bands repeatedly using anti-Semitic stereotypes and language, even celebrating the Holocaust
  • Publicly curated playlists on Spotify under the title NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal), a genre linked to Nazism
  • More than 30 groups associated with organisations classified as hate groups by civil rights groups

Searching out the music required no specialist skills or effort.

In some cases, racist titles of albums and songs had been changed to remove words such as ‘Aryan’ and ‘white’ but the lyrics remained the same.

Most examples were found on Spotify and in one case, a song on its platform contained these lyrics:

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So wake from your bed, and raise your head

Aryan child, listen to what is said

So rise your hand and learn to love your land

For the white revolution needs your uncorrupted hand.

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The BBC has decided not to name the bands or the songs in an effort not to assist people searching for hateful content.

Eric Ward, a civil rights strategist at the Western States Center, said people “trust streaming services” and didn’t use them “to be presented with hate music and hate lyrics”.

“The onus is on streaming platforms to do a better job at monitoring and searching for this music. They simply need to invest more.

“This is about the credibility of a company and a brand. Brands are important and white power music will damage your streaming brand.”

‘More accessible’

Eric Ward says streaming has made hate music “more accessible” with “algorithms suggesting this music to those who may not actually be searching for it”.

On Spotify, public playlists and “suggested artists” did make it easier for the BBC to find extreme content.

In some cases, users created playlists that collated songs and bands associated with the National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) movement.

The metal sub-genre largely comes from Eastern Europe and Russia. Anti-Semitism and glorification of the Holocaust is common in its lyrics, according to Nick Spooner, from anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate.

He said the metal community has been waking up to the presence of the NSBM and how the scene “has been allowed to fester within the wider metal scene”.

“The growth of the white power music scene in the 70s and 80s ran in parallel with a growth of fascist parties in the UK so there’s a big worry that could happen again.”

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‘We understand that things will inevitably slip through the cracks.

But with great power comes great responsibility.

And streaming services have set themselves up to be the primary source of music.’

– Eric K Ward, civil rights strategist.

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White Power music

Music has been an integral part of neo-Nazi and white power movements since the 1980s.

The British-based Blood and Honour movement was spearheaded by a neo-nazi called Ian Stuart Donaldson, the lead singer of a band called Skrewdriver. He died in 1993.

The group didn’t start out with a racist agenda but Donaldson took them in that direction.

Many of the groups we found on streaming services idolise Skrewdriver and Donaldson in their songs.

Some of the bands – from the UK, US and Europe – have long been on the radar of civil rights and anti-hate campaign groups, and venues have been criticised in the past for allowing such groups to play gigs.

What else have the platforms said?

The streaming platforms can use a combination of technology and people to actively search for content – but also rely on customers reporting offensive material.

There are currently more than 65 million songs and over 1.5 million podcasts on Spotify.

In a statement, Spotofy said it “prohibits content which expressly and principally advocates or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics (race, religion etc).”

It said it was “continuously developing, improving, and implementing monitoring technology that identifies content in our service that violates our policy, including but not limited to, content flagged as hate content.”

Apple Music said the company had hidden the majority of the tracks highlighted by the BBC, while the rest are still under investigation.

It also highlighted that it has “strong editorial guidelines that prohibit distributors and rights owners submitting content like this”.

In a statement, YouTube Music said: “We’ve worked hard to develop responsible guidelines to define and make clear what content is unacceptable or when artistic expression crosses the lines of safety.

“When content is flagged to us, we work quickly to remove videos that violate our policies.

“We’re committed to continuing our work on this issue to ensure YouTube is not a place for those who seek to do harm.”

Youtube adverts

Content on YouTube is less regulated than music platforms. But for videos to have adverts, it has to comply with terms and conditions.

Despite this, many of the bands and songs found on the music platforms are preceded by adverts for household brands including Cadbury’s and Uber.

Users must apply to be able to ‘monetise’ their videos, which allows them to earn money from advertisers – the more views, the more income.

According to YouTube’s rules, users can only earn money from adverts if they follow guidelines, including a ban on “hateful content”.

This is defined as anything that “incites hatred against, promotes discrimination, disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people” based on a list of characteristics that includes race, ethnicity and religion.

YouTube reviewers “regularly check to see if monetising channels follow these policies”.

Deezer has not commented at this stage but is looking into the issue.

Source: Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and YouTube all found recently hosting racist music

After Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis, anti-Asian tweets and conspiracies rose 85%: report

Not surprising. Words matter:

Anti-Asian bigotry and conspiracy theories spiked on Twitter immediately following President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis this month, new findings reveal.

The report, released last week by the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights group, examined Twitter activity surrounding Trump’s diagnosis on Oct. 2. Researchers found an 85 percent increase in anti-Asian rhetoric and conspiracy theories on the platform in the 12 hours following the announcement, many blaming China.

The surge in bigoted tweets also occurred shortly after Trump said the pandemic is “China’s fault” during the first presidential debate and further referred to the virus as the “China plague.”

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said the research shows that anyone who fails to see the link between the harmful rhetoric and subsequent bigotry is “lying to themselves.”

“These people — who include the president and congressional Republicans — want to stoke xenophobia and anger but also want to deny the dangerous impact their own words are having,” Chu said. “You can’t have it both ways, and this report exposes the danger of pushing racially based conspiracy theories like this.”

The report, “At the Extremes: The 2020 Election and American Extremism,” examined more than 2.7 million tweets that were posted from the four hours before Trump announced his diagnosis, as well as that of Melania Trump, to the afternoon the following day.

Researchers looked at tweets with mentions of the accounts @realdonaldtrump, @potus and @flotus, as well as @senatorloeffler, the account of Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who had pushed people to “hold China accountable” and “remember: China gave this virus to our President.” The researchers also looked at tweets with at least one of the keywords “trump,” “melania,” “first lady,” “china virus,” “plague,” “kung flu” and “Wuhan.”

Researchers found not only that was there a surge in anti-Asian tweets in the hours after Trump’s diagnosis was announced, but also that anti-Asian sentiment on the platform remained elevated for days afterward. The report revealed that the rate of discussions about various conspiracy theories — including one that alleges that the virus was engineered by humans and another that claims that Covid-19 is “patented,” a bioweapon created by the Chinese government — increased by 41 percent. The research also shows that some of the conversations veered into anti-Semitism or had anti-Semitic overtones.

Asian Americans have been weathering increased hostility since the beginning of the pandemic. The reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate collected reports of 2,583 hate incidents directed at Asian Americans from March 19 to Aug. 5, during the pandemic. Almost 800 of the reports said anti-Chinese rhetoric was used. What’s more, previous research suggests that the use of terms like “China virus” and “kung flu,” particularly by conservative outlets, has already seeped into U.S. perceptions of Asian Americans.

While anti-Asian bias had been in steady decline for over a decade, the trend reversed in days after a significant uptick in discriminatory coronavirus speech, according to a study published in September.On March 9 alone, there was an 800 percent increase in such rhetoric among conservative media outlets. The language led to an increased subconscious belief that Asian Americans are “perpetual foreigners,” researchers said.

“Progress against bias is generally stable,” Eli Michaels, a researcher on that study, has said previously. “But this particular rhetoric, which associates a racial group with a global pandemic, has particularly pernicious effects.”

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., the main sponsor of a House resolution that called on public officials to denounce any anti-Asian sentiment, said she herself had been targeted with a slew of racist voicemails after the legislation was passed in September. In one message, a caller said she looked “like a Chinese virus, you fat slob.” And she said another claimed that the harmful rhetoric is “not racist, it’s the truth. Filthy people.”

“The report shows no signs of this bigotry and xenophobia ending any time soon,” Meng said. She said the racist and obscenity-laced voicemails were filled anti-Asian remarks that Trump has made about the coronavirus, such as “Chinese virus” and “kung flu” — “the very things I and the House condemned in passing my measure.”

Chu said that as the election approaches, she is “absolutely afraid of more attacks” against Asian Americans. The report ultimately “draws a clear line from the kinds of conspiracy theories Trump spreads to help his own re-election directly to the spike in anti-Asian hate that we are seeing,” she said.

“Covid-19 is continuing to ravage this country, claiming hundreds of lives a day, but the president still does not have a plan to address it,” Chu said. “While he downplays the virus, he still blames China for every death and continues to stoke xenophobia that puts innocent Asian Americans at risk of violence. The president isn’t only indifferent to that. He’s accelerating it.”

Le racisme systémique sera exclu du rapport du groupe d’action, prévoit Legault

Consistent but misguided:

Le groupe d’action contre le racisme ne demandera pas au gouvernement du Québec de reconnaître le racisme systémique, a conclu avant même la fin des travaux le premier ministre François Legault.

Il répondait mardi aux questions sur le sujet lors d’une conférence de presse à Montréal, visant principalement à faire le point sur la situation du coronavirus au Québec.

Interrogé sur la question de savoir s’il allait reconnaître le racisme systémique si le groupe d’action le lui demandait, M. Legault a d’abord laissé entendre que la question était hypothétique.

Puis, se ravisant, il a répondu qu’il ne s’attendait pas à ce qu’une telle recommandation apparaisse dans le rapport final, car il en avait déjà discuté avec les membres du groupe.

Le groupe d’action contre le racisme a été formé par le gouvernement Legault en juin dernier dans la foulée de la mort de l’Américain George Floyd.

Il est composé uniquement d’élus caquistes, qui doivent réfléchir à des façons concrètes d’enrayer le racisme et déposer un rapport au premier ministre au plus tard cet automne.

Refus

François Legault a toujours refusé de reconnaître le racisme systémique, même après que de nombreux politiciens, dont les maires de Québec et de Montréal, et le premier ministre du Canada, Justin Trudeau, l’eurent reconnu dans des termes très clairs.

Mardi, M. Legault a continué de marteler qu’il existait deux groupes de Québécois : un groupe qui reconnaît le racisme systémique et l’autre qui ne le reconnaît pas.

« Mon rôle comme premier ministre du Québec, c’est de rassembler les Québécois, de poser des gestes, d’agir enfin […] pour lutter contre le racisme, [y compris] chez les policiers et dans les hôpitaux », a-t-il déclaré. « Pour moi, c’est ça la meilleure approche. Ce que je comprends, c’est que M. Trudeau en a une autre, c’est son choix. »

Ce serait une « erreur » de « se mettre à dos une bonne partie des Québécois qui pensent qu’il n’y a pas de système de racisme au Québec, comme le propose M. Trudeau », a poursuivi M. Legault.

Plus tôt, à Ottawa, le premier ministre Trudeau avait réitéré l’importance de reconnaître le racisme systémique, notamment en ce qui a trait aux peuples autochtones.

« Au gouvernement fédéral, nous savons depuis longtemps que de reconnaître le racisme systémique, c’est la première étape nécessaire pour marcher sur cette voie de réconciliation, d’éliminer ces barrières réelles et cette violence qui est trop souvent faite contre les peuples autochtones à travers le pays et aussi d’autres minorités visibles », a-t-il déclaré.

Il a également encouragé toute personne en position d’autorité, dont les chefs d’entreprise et les leaders communautaires, à reconnaître « la réalité du racisme systémique et à s’engager à lutter contre cette injustice qui dure depuis trop longtemps dans notre pays ».