An American black man experiences Canada

And loves it.

Way to go Canada! Let’s hope America learns from you.

Clearly you didn’t go to Quebec City. I went there as part of a French immersion exercise, along with some other students and our two African instructors. They were actively harassed while there. At one point, Wabi and I squared off with a couple of assholes, which gave them cause to reconsider. Honestly, it is the whitest city I’ve ever visited.

It would seem that Great Britain could also use some education on the topic of racism.


Canadian racists are mostly racist against natives.

It depends who they live near. Racists target whoever they come into regular contact with that looks & acts different. It doesn’t matter to the racist - it’s just “those other ones”.

I very recently reread Robert J. Sawyer’s “Quantum Night” in which a black character makes exactly that same observation. (The bigotry against native peoples is also mentioned.)

I couldn’t help thinking of the old Eddie Murphy film from SNL: “White Like Me.”

So much for praising the positive.

Toronto is rather famously diverse and cosmopolitan. And, y’know, they’re Canadian ;).

I’d like to say he’d have a similar experience in San Francisco, just based on similar sort of diversity and open-mindedness. Unfortunately Californians aren’t Canadian and culturally often don’t tend to be either particularly warm nor gregarious with strangers. So probably not :(.

Is this just because african slavery was never as a major issue in Canada?

I think whatever slaves Canada did have were aboriginals, and aren’t they victims of racism there?

On that note, why are the gypsies so hated in eastern europe?

Prolly a good thing he went to Toronto and not Ontario, eh.

When based on a false premise and delivered with passive-aggressive phrasing, yes. So much for that.


My mother-in-law, a very liberal (white) person born and raised in the US, got a job in Windsor ON about 20 years back. She LOVED Canada. “They’re so wonderful,” she said, “so progressive.” Health care. More public transport. Less sexism. And maybe most important, less racism. “Did you know that the people here helped the escaped slaves?” she asked many times. (Yes, especially after the first time she told us.) “and race relations in Canada are SO GOOD compared to the US.”

Four years later she had soured on her job, was feuding with her neighbors, and had changed her tune about Canada. “They want you to think they’re not racist,” she said darkly, “but they are. They didn’t like the slaves at all. True, they didn’t send the slaves back into slavery, but they treated them very poorly when they arrived. It’s just as bad.” She returned to the US, where she resumed her complaints about US racism, sexism, and so on.

Now, my MIL is more than a bit of a loon, so make of it what you will…But this was definitely her perception.

I’m glad the guy in the article had such a great experience, though.

There’s also the fact that until relatively recently, there just weren’t that many black people in a lot of places in Canada. I was born in the late 60s, and didn’t have any black kids in my class at school until halfway through grade 6, when I switched schools after we moved.

It wasn’t a matter of schools or neighbourhoods being segregated, either. There just weren’t that many blacks around. Other ethnicities were represented, but still not with great numbers. I think we had three Chinese families near us, and one Indian family, and that was about it.

Things started to change in the late 70s, but up until then, where I lived was just incredibly white.

True story…

My (future) wife came down from her small town in CT to visit with me several years ago. One night we stopped by at a grocery store to pick up pet food on the way home from a show. It was about midnight. As we walked down one aisle, she whispered, “Did you notice that we’re the only white people in the store?” I replied, “Not really. But I have noticed when we shop at your local grocery store in CT that there are absolutely no black people in the store.”

Police in London (Ontario) are now investigating the incidence as a possible hate crime, based on statements alleged to have been made before the cellphone video was taken.

‘I want to leave’: London, Ont. police investigate race-related incident as possible hate crime

It was gradually eliminated in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, by court decisions in some of the colonies, like Lower Canada, and legislation in Upper Canada.

We do, however, have historic populations of black citizens, especially in Nova Scotia and parts of Ontario, because of terminuses of the Underground Railway. They certainly have suffered from racism by a predominantly white society. For example, there was Viola Desmond, who’s going to be on our $10 bill later this year: imprisoned and spent a night in jail for sitting in the area of a movie theatre the management reserved for white folks, instead of up in the gallery.

Victims of racism, yes; slavery, no. Read about the Residential schools fiasco. Plus the reserve system, and the Sixties Scoop of indigenous children. A lot of government policies had the effect of breaking up family structure, which has had a horrendous inter-generational impact.

Can’t really speak for Eastern Europe, but they are fairly universally distrusted in the UK (and I think Western Europe as well) due to their reputation for crime at all levels (from petty shoplifting to serious organised crime), parking their vehicles in places where people would prefer not to have them (i.e. pretty much anywhere), and leaving a load of trash behind when they leave. Now, I’m not particularly liberal by UK standards, but I do have some sympathy for travelling people. No doubt a lot of their problems stem from the fact they simply don’t conform to modern societal norms, and I think it is unfair to punish them for that. On the other hand, as with almost any society, there are bad apples in the bunch who end up tarring all of them with the same brush. I must admit it is galling when you see a travellers’ site messing up nice green space with a mixture of caravans, dogs, horses, some very badly maintained vehicles, and quite often some really rather smart vehicles that you have to suspect (if not outright proceeds of crime) are unlikely to have purchased with income that has been declared to the taxman. How much of that is prejudice and how much is fact I couldn’t say, so I try to give them the benefit of the doubt where possible.

Sorry for the hijack.

This thread reminded me of an episode of (the radio show/podcast) This American Life. It’s act 3 (“Newfies”) of number 201, from Dec 7, 2001. It’s one of the more moving stories I’ve heard told on there.

Travellers and Roma are two different groups.