Marginalized communities, such as those formed in the wake of diaspora, are often internally fractured and artificially removed from one another. While it can be hard to point to one all-encompassing reason for division, a fair amount of fracture can be attributed to the violence of the colonial project. Colonial powers created hierarchies among and between people, often relying on pre-existing ethnic tensions to strengthen rule. These hierarchies ranked things like skin colour, sexuality, and class. (Click to read more!)
At this year's Oscars, Patricia Arquette made a call to action to fight against the gender wage gap. While she was widely applauded for her speech, she also inadvertently summed up 'white feminism' perfectly. A privileged white woman implores 'everybody else' to help women get equal pay because, as she said, "It's time for all the women in America, and all the men who love women, and all the gay people and people of colour we've all fought for, to fight for us now." (Click to read more!)
It is no secret that racialized minorities are sorely underrepresented on McGill's campus. This lack of representation is strikingly visible within the composition of academic staff at McGill, where racialized people are outliers in a homogenous environment. This is a visible reality that is not only impossible to miss within classrooms at McGill, but it is also one that is supported by statistics. In 2011, a report on the issue of diversity and equity was released by a task force created in 2009 under the purview of former principal Heather Munroe-Blum in response to the university's lack of diversity. The report's first recommendation called on the University "to demonstrate a firm commitment to the recruitment, retention, and professional development of diverse and excellent academic staff, administrative and support staff, and students." That same year, a report on employment equity showed that an underwhelming percentage of staff self-identified as a 'visible minority,' 'ethnic minority,' or 'Aboriginal.' Yet to this day, four years later, these statistics remain largely unchanged, and in some cases have even regressed.(Click to read more!)
Although it may be the most notorious example, the U.S. is not the only country in the Americas whose history is marred by slavery. Canada too, despite a widespread perception to the contrary, exploited slave labour - slavery wasn't completely abolished until 1834, and the impacts are still felt today. (Click to read more!)
There is an insidious form of racism in the Canadian healthcare system. A systemic lack of access to care, as well as unwarranted assumptions, neglect, and other racist practices, from doctors’ offices to emergency rooms, decrease the quality of care for patients and create harmful situations. (Click to read more!)
The sixties marked the beginning of the first natural hair movement, when hair relaxers and pressing combs were tossed and replaced by hair picks and natural curls. (Click to read more!)
Anti-racist activism is pivotal in many histories, and McGill's history is no exception. McGill students are often characterized as apathetic, apolitical, and generally disengaged from the community; although this description holds some weight, it should not be used to erase the university's rich history of activism. (Click to read more!)
The American and Canadian media have always treated East Asian people unfairly. We have been the butt of many unfunny jokes, whether they're about the variety of food that we eat, the rich cultures to which we belong, the way that we look, or our languages. We have always been portrayed as cringeworthy stereotypes that force us to adopt internalized racism or into silence. Despite the myriad problems surrounding East Asian representation in white-dominated media, one of the most harmful portrayals regards sexuality. (Click to read more!)
As climate change continues to accelerate in a world that is warming at an alarming rate, individuals, organizations, and governments alike are mobilizing to adapt to the increasingly precarious situation. In the Canadian context, the predicaments are plenty: Canada's diverse array of ecosystems and regional climates face a wide range of issues, both natural and human-made. This is of particular importance to many Indigenous communities, as activities such as mining and tar sands often take place on their land without their explicit consent, or share in the profit. (Click to read more!)
Kosisochukwu Nnebe is a Nigerian Canadian artist who has made a name for herself in the Montreal scene. With pieces currently on display in the U.S., Nnebe regularly speaks on local art panels and conferences, sharing her vision with the Montreal community. In her spare time, she somehow also manages to pursue a degree in Economics and International Development Studies (IDS) at McGill. Her art explores the intersection of race, gender, and class, and in doing so exemplifies the intersection of self-expression and political resistance. Nnebe invited The Daily into her home/studio to talk about how she approaches these intersections through her multimedia project Coloured Conversations. (Click to read more!)
I think there is something to be said about seeing Canadian society as a cultural 'mosaic.' Not that it accurately describes any particular national directive, but when writing about race in Canada, it's hard not to acknowledge it as a vocalized cultural discourse. Even in contrast to the American 'melting pot,' there is an ambiguity to the concept of 'Canadian' nationality. Growing up as mixed race provides a different vantage point to experiencing what it means to exist within this 'mosaic.' In interviews with people of similar descent to myself, I got the feeling that we shared this sense of being ethnically half-Japanese, yet growing up as nationally 'Canadian.' (Click to read more!)
I often get asked the following:
Where are you from?
What's your parents' background?
What is your last name?
What are you?
If it's not these words directly, then it's some derivative. If it doesn't happen within the first couple of minutes, then it happens eventually. (Click to read more!)