A year ago, when I spoke to my mother on the phone, I was shocked to hear her say that “Canada is a post-racial country” and that “there are many white Canadians that have embraced the idea of a Canada where they’re welcome, and where there are no racism issues.”
In this view, we have been on a “historic trajectory,” where our country’s multiculturalism and racial harmony are the norm and no one feels marginalized.
When I first heard this, I felt like I was in a dystopian world, where there was no hope for our country.
When that day came, I knew it was time to leave.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel alone.
I was no longer the person who had to constantly explain to myself why this country had changed and what it meant to me, to my parents and to others.
I now know that it was all a part of a wider movement to reclaim the idea that Canada was a postracial country.
I didn, however, have the luxury of waiting for this movement to catch on.
In recent years, a handful of voices, including a few politicians, have been pushing for a more inclusive Canada.
While they have focused on what was said during the election campaign, they’ve also begun to make the case for a Canada that’s more welcoming and inclusive of its diverse populations.
That, in turn, has inspired a resurgence of activism and the discussion of the meaning of race.
Here’s what I want to talk about today: the idea and practice of post-racism Canada It’s not easy to write about post-racist Canada.
There’s the problem of terminology.
The term “post-racists” is sometimes applied to people who don’t think race matters much in Canada.
This is true, but not the whole story.
Some of us have had the privilege of living in Canada for so long that we have become a collective of people who are not only Canadian citizens but also citizens of the country we are living in.
I’ve often wondered how many of us would call ourselves “post‑racists.”
We are not racists, but the concept of racism is very much embedded in the everyday experience of us Canadians.
In the 1970s, my parents moved from Quebec to Toronto and lived for a while in a house on Bathurst Street, a busy avenue where people walked, talked and ate in the morning.
They didn’t go out often because they felt unsafe.
One of my first memories of the neighbourhood is walking down the street and hearing a woman’s voice tell a story.
It was a story of a mother with a young daughter, the young girl being pushed out of the house, the mother and daughter being robbed and the mother being killed.
I don’t remember what the story was about.
I did not know anything about the neighbourhood.
It is difficult to tell this story today because of the changes that have happened to Canada.
The language and attitudes of those who live in our neighbourhoods have changed.
We’re seeing people who were once racist in our neighbourhood start to be open about their prejudice.
But the language and behaviours of people in our communities have also changed.
Many of us who grew up in the 1970, 1980 and 1990s no longer have the words to describe ourselves in those terms.
We can describe ourselves as post‑racial, but what does it mean to us now?
In the 1990s, I first came across the term “race realist” and found myself wondering what that meant.
When my parents used to call me “post black” and call me a “post racist,” I could not understand what they meant.
I could understand the frustration of seeing an entire generation of Canadians labeled as racists, and I could see why they might feel this way.
My parents were not racist, but their attitudes about race were deeply rooted in the racial anxieties that plagued them.
Today, the term race realist is often used to describe a person who doesn’t identify with any of the racial categories they were raised with.
The “race realism” movement has come a long way since those days, and it is no longer limited to white people, but to other groups as well.
The idea of race realism is that race matters and that racism is simply not a big deal in our society.
It’s the idea, or a belief, that race is not the only factor in how we are treated in society and that we are all just individuals with a unique set of experiences.
This means that people who grew to identify as race realists would see racism as nothing more than an issue of personal pride.
That’s not how I think about race.
My view of race is rooted in my experiences growing up in a mostly white Canadian family in the suburbs of Toronto.
I grew up on a farm and saw how people treated each other.
My father was very protective of me and my siblings, and we were not allowed to go out at all.
My mother was a very caring person