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Racism In Toronto

Sep. 15th, 2012

Kim Katrin Milan

on 23 September 2015

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Transcript of Racism In Toronto

Systems Of Advantage vs.
"The system isn't broken, it was built that way."
These are the social and political constructions that define social location and these systems are the foundation upon which our economy is based on. As it determines who gets what and in what quantity. They serve a very clear purpose and they are always intentional.
Prejudice is an irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of persons, usually based on stereotypes. Virtually everyone feels some sort of prejudice, whether it’s for an ethnic group, or for a religious group, or for a type of person like blondes or large people. The important thing is they just don’t like them — in short, prejudice is a feeling, a belief. You can be prejudiced, but still be a fair person if you’re careful not to act on your irrational dislikes.
Discrimination takes place the moment a person acts on prejudice. This describes those moments when one individual decides not to give another individual a job because of, say, their race or their religious orientation. Or even because of their looks (there’s a lot of hiring discrimination against “unattractive” women, for example). You can discriminate, individually, against any person or group, if you’re in a position of power over the person you want to discriminate against. White people can discriminate against black people, and black people can discriminate against white people.
Goals & Accountability
Terms & Definitions
Strategies For Solidarity
Systems of Advantage
Illuminating Intersectionality
Privilege & Power
Toronto Based Examples Historical to Present
Local Community Responses
"May we continue to disagree, may we continue to distinguish our movements by their bases of accountability, may we continue to give different accounts of how we got here and where we are, and may we collaborate but never compromise our visions of where we ought to be."
- Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Stereotypes are generalizations about a group of people whereby we attribute a defined set of characteristics to this group
Race In Contemporary Toronto
Whiteness is a racial identity created by upper class colonialists to distinguish themselves from indentured servants and slaves. A guarantee against being enslaved & a strategy to secure white wealth & domination.
Colonization is the violent taking of land, wealth and labour of indigineous peoples through domination & conquest leading to their extermination in some cases & Trans-Atlantic slave trade which created a underclass based on race and gender that persists today. This persists uniquely as cultural colonization, appropriation and language .
Systems combine social power, institutional power (policies & practices), cultural messages, and individual actions.

I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
White Privilege
Cis Male Privilege (MAAB)
If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.

If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.

My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.
Heterosexual Privilege
I can be pretty sure that my roommates, hall-mates and classmates will be comfortable with my sexual orientation.
If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented.
I do not have to fear that if my family or friends find out about my sexual orientation there will be economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences.
Key Definitions:
Ten Lies You are Told Every Single Day
1. If you don’t physically hold someone down, you can’t be an oppressor.
2. Racism is physically hating and acting on that hate based on a person’s race.
3. White Privilege means you are rich and/or have an easy life.
4. Pointing out racism is a racist act.
5. Not knowing better is a perfectly justifiable reason to have hurt someone.
6. There is a specific way to be (insert race here)
7. White and whiteness are the same thing.
8. Anger is childish.
9. Using angry phrasing or curse words makes your point invalid.
10. It is my job to teach you but not your job to search for knowledge on your own.
White Saviour Industrial Complex
Privilege Happens At The Expense Of Others




The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.
Another’s experience does not invalidate your own, but it should and necessarily does complicate your own.
Privilege happens at the expense of others.
Treat others the way that they want to be treated. Ask.
Imagine that your allyship card expires at the end of the day.
It is no one’s responsibility to educate you but your own.
Listen. Learn. Practice. Repeat.
Acknowledge Privilege. Dissolve Guilt.
Take up less space. Fall back.
Collect your folks.
Center. Listen. Acknowledge. Inquire. Move towards resolution. (CLAIM)
Strategies For Solidarity
"to remain exempt from perpetuating social inequity"
(cc) photo by medhead on Flickr
Omnibus Crime Bill
Introduction Of Mandatory Jail Sentences
Harsher Sentences For Young Offenders
Fewer Conditional Sentences
Prison Expansion
I still get asked in interviews, ‘Is there racism in this country?’ Unlike the United States, where there is at least an admission of the fact that racism exists and has a history, in this country one is faced with a stupefying innocence. We have a deeper problem. It is this ‘innocence’ that causes people of colour to modify their claims to words such as ‘access’, ‘representation’, and ‘inclusion’ instead of entitlement. Here we get caught in a trap of numbers, percentages, as if the percentage of justice in the society should match the percentage of people of colour in the population. What we are debating in the end is whether this country intends to give people of colour full human rights as opposed to provisional human rights.’
- Dionne Brand
prison expansion, yonge street riots, toronto gun violence, food deserts
“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Malcolm X
"As the 2008 report “The Roots of Youth Violence” found, while crime rates are stable “severe violence is apparently becoming more and more concentrated among socially disadvantaged minority youth.” The report concluded that the roots of youth violence are often found in poor, socially deprived neighbourhoods: the immediate risk factors of impulsivity, low self-esteem, alienation, hopelessness and lack of voice are compounded by longer-term issues of racism, poverty, community design, barriers to education and a lack of economic opportunity. The social exclusion of racialized youth and the alienation and denial of full citizenship they experience must be addressed."
"When shots were fired in the Eaton Centre last Saturday, leaving 24-year old Ahmed Hassan dead and six people injured, it was not the names of these young men that tripped off the tongue of police officers, news broadcasters and elected officials.

Nor was it the name of Chantal Dunn, a 19-year-old black student at York University, who was murdered in 2006 in the Keele and Sheppard area, another victim of gun violence. Nor mother of three Rachel Alleyne, also a young black woman, shot to death in 2007 while socializing with friends in a backyard at Jane and Driftwood."
Following the Eaton Centre shooting a well-known Toronto journalist wrote: “Frankly, I don’t much care if hoods want to bump each other off . . . Saves the rest of us a lot of trouble . . . Hell, I’d even jail the targeted ‘victims’ of gang hits, should they survive the attempted rub-out. Usually, they asked for it.”

Racism can be understood in part as the collective denial of the humanity of “the other.” Unlike those deemed “innocent,” poor, racialized young men impacted by youth violence are our “urban other.” Victims and perpetrators alike are spoken of as “hoods,” “gang-affiliated” or “known to police,” never as “citizens,” full members of our community. They are criminalized in life and in death. This “othering” is a form of violence in and of itself.
The Hierarchy Of Victimhood
In this city that treats white rapists and murderers like the boy next door gone unaccountably and sadly wrong, no ‘he was such a nice guy, you’d never think’ for Brownman and Tiger; no wedding pictures of theirs plastered all over the newspapers, showing what a normal life they led. In fact, what the popular media would say was that Brownman had many girlfriends, playing to the stud icon of Black male sexuality, but Paul Bernardo, who is charged with murder and multiple accounts of rape, was the so much more trustworthy, dream boat, blond boy next door icon of white male sexuality with the fairy tale wedding. For Brownman and Tiger no week long sympathetic, emotional, tragedian rumination on their mental state.
High-school students picket the aboriginal affairs and northern development office on the Fort William First Nation in Northern Ontario. One in five Canadian aboriginals live in poverty and an untold number live without basic necessities such as clean water and electricity. (Dec. 15, 2011)
Racialized immigrant women earn only 48.7 per cent of the employment income that non-racialized immigrant men earn, while racialized women as a whole earn 56.5 per cent ($25,204) of what white men earn ($45,327)
The Persistence Of Racialized Inequity
I only draw attention here to the dominant discourse on culture in Canada. Its response to criticism from people of colour, womyn, (queer & trans folks) and progressives has been to try and assimilate a few voices into the discourse without overturning it fundamentally. Yet more vibrant possibilities exist in the multitude of voices now emerging in this country. These voices see the imagination as transformative , as leading out of the pessimism of colonial discourse as making new narratives
“Instead the new tactic is to dehumanize and terrorize Black people through police brutality and surveillance, to make sure drugs are readily, cheaply (and legally, i.e. liquor) available (or even mandated i.e. vaccines, Ritalin) to our young people and to mount a massive propaganda war on Black People in North America as a whole, labeling us drug addicts, criminals and whiners because we should have been able with the little that they gave us to turn ourselves into millionaires. Here a racist revisionism is in full swing in this country that never talks about race but about immigration and self-government, meaning people of colour and First Nations’ people, meaning anybody who ain’t white. They say 300 years is to soon for First Nations self government. They say cut back immigration from countries that are not compatible with ‘Canadian’ culture, meaning white culture. They say immigrants are taking away Canadian jobs, as if immigration is something altruistic and not about the economy and cheap labour.” - Dionne Brand
Canada is a racist state. If you have a racist state, then you have racist police”. The murder of Buddy Evans August 9, 1978, and Albert Johnson August 26, 1979 marked the beginning of BADC’s mass demonstrations against police brutality. Evans was a 24 year-old Black man shot at a downtown bar, and no charges were laid against the officer who shot him. Johnson was a 35-year-old Black man shot by Constables William Inglis and Walter Cargnelli at a rooming house in the Vaughn/Oakwood area.

In response to the Johnson murder, BADC mobilized the Black community, and their efforts culminated in 2000 people marching from Vaughn/Oakwood to 13 Division headquarters to protest his death. When Johnson was killed Dudley Laws formed the Albert Johnson Defense Committee Against Police Brutality.

On October 14, 1979, 1000 people rallied at Nathan Phillips Square. The Albert Johnson Committee had three demands in their struggle for justice. One, that constables Inglis and Cargnelli become charged with murder instead of manslaughter. Two, they formed the Albert Johnson Family Fund and requested that Toronto police provide full compensation to his wife and four children. Three, they demanded the Province and Ontario Attorney-General Roy McMurty establish an independent civilian review board for complaints against the police.
“[A] white person coming into the lives of a person or people of color who are often low-income, troubled, and/or severely oppressed. […] [where] the white saviour comes in, quickly sympathizes with the problems of the people of colour, learning what needs to happen to solve their problems, and in doing so, wins their favour and becomes their hero.”
Lost Lyrics works with youth in the city's Jane-Finch and Malvern neighbourhoods, making space for artistic and leadership development and critical conversations about social issues. But with its focus on the concept and practice of alternative education, the organization goes beyond fashionable programming trends. The upcoming conference creates space for conversation about how education in Toronto links up with a broad, radical vision of social justice, says Amanda Parris, who co-founded Lost Lyrics with Natasha Daniel.
Brown Canada is a community-led project documenting, creating, and sharing diverse South Asian histories in Canada.
Our collective entry point is through the Komagata Maru story of 1914, when 376 Indians were denied entry to Canada
due to restrictive immigration controls designed to maintain a "white Canada."

Systemic Power vs. Relational Power
Why is it so difficult for many white folks to understand that racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks, but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation? The prejudicial feelings some blacks may express about whites are in no way linked to a system of domination the affords us any power to coercively control the lives and well-being of white folks. That needs to be understood
– bell hooks
Kim Katrin Crosby
By Simon Black
One of the victims, Nixon (may he rest in peace) in last Saturday's shooting at the Eaton Centre is moved to an ambulance for transport to hospital.
However $105 cases of water, $28 heads of cabbage and $55 boxes of infant formula are only one piece of the poverty puzzle that Northern communities face.


Contrary to the myth, living in the North doesn’t guarantee high wages. Inuit living in the territories make far less than non-Aboriginals in the same region — about $43,378 less. Within Inuit Nunangat, the traditional Inuit homeland, non-Aboriginals made an average of $50,128 according to 2005 Statistics Canada numbers. For Inuit, it was only $16,669.

For many that means living pay cheque to pay cheque, or in some cases welfare cheque to welfare cheque. And with grocery prices what they are, feeding one’s family comes before paying the bills, if a family can afford to eat at all.

Nunavut also has Canada’s youngest population with an average age of 24. Much of the population is too young to not wear diapers, let alone contribute to family income.
'Charity is not the answer.'
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