We need to talk about Racism

Racism is hard to talk about. It is scary, hurtful, and brings out so much pain. But the only way to stop racism is to acknowledge it and take action against it.

I went to an event on Saturday called “Talk About Race: Conversations Leading to Action.” It was a gathering of people, of all colours, who came to discuss racism and ways to stop it. The event encompassed speeches, presentations, performances and round-table discussions.

At one point in the day, we were told to create our own discussion groups on a topic. I started a group called “No Child left Behind.” It is the name of a Bush policy about every child being important, no matter what colour they are or what neighbourhood they live in. Unfortunately that is not the case in the U.S. or in any country.

I am of the opinion that if we can start the lives of our children properly, by making sure they are healthy and smart, they will grow up knowing that (OBVIOUSLY) the colour of your skin doesn’t matter. Knowledge is a powerful weapon against ignorance.

The economic cost of systemic racism was also brought up: from overloaded jail systems, to poverty, to extra healthcare costs because of a stressful lifestyle and lack of nutrition, and more. Racism is hurting us in more ways than we can imagine.

Canadians can’t afford to marginalize groups of people and not allow them to reap the full benefits of being a citizen of this beautiful country. We are all in this together, and we need all hands on deck to create a better world.

When I first thought about moving to Halifax, I knew history says Africans were some of the first settlers of Nova Scotia. I searched Halifax and black history and encountered the story of Africville, a black community in Halifax that was uprooted from their homes and sent away in order to make way for infrastructure improvements. A horrible event that happened within the last 50 years!

I saw the effects of this displacement first hand, in the eyes and actions of some of the people at the event. It broke my heart that they had to go through something like this, in what is supposed to be a fair and just country.

All in all, I met so many people with totally different life stories, and heard perspectives that I had never thought of. This was truly one of the greatest days of my life. I felt open and free with this group of people. There was no judgment, everyone was honest, and there was so much  love and support.

Also, the people I met were great, and very brave. I learned so much from every person I met and also made a lot of contacts, which will be great in the future.

Not a single person who went to this event left with out a sense of hope for the future. All of the attendees will have a better understanding of race issues in Nova Scotia and will be taking action.

I would also like to thank the organizers and The Hub Halifax for hosting this magnificent event.

This post only scratched the suface of what was uncovered during the six hour event. If you attended and have more to say, or just have an opinion, please comment below.

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5 Responses

  1. I like to think that racism is dying… It’s a slow death, but it’s dying none-the-less. It likely won’t happen in our lifetime, but there will be a day when people of all colours will sit around together laughing about how ignorant their ancestors must have been.

  2. We cannot have a laissez-faire attitude towards this serious problem.
    One point brought up at the event, was the issue of justice.
    Racism is not justice. It is the exact opposite.There are ways to stop perpetuating the negative feelings that racism thrives in, and we need to find them.

  3. Anthony – wow – it sounds like this was quite the event/day for you!

    I sometimes fall into the trap of believing in an idealistic world and hope that things like racisim are not a daily issue that we have to deal with. unfortunately this is not the case. i completely agree with you though, we need to find a way to stop this cycle of hatred and like you alluded to, this needs to start with children and education. the only way that this cycle will stop and opinions will change is if children are taught that every person is equal and that the colour of our skin or any other identifier means nothing in the grande scheme of things – we are all human beings – and to me that is all that matters!

    Education is key! we need to be passionate about this and really strive to teach generations that come after us to hopefully, like you said, make it a better world.

  4. […] what some of the participants said on this blog and this […]

  5. The fact is… in Canada.. we’re all immigrants. Nobody belongs here more than somebody else.

    When I think down to the core of racism, it’s so ridiculous to me .. that I can’t even put it into words. What does it matter what colour someone’s skin happenes to be? This statement seems so simple and something a million people have said… But I can’t help but keep asking it.

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