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Join Date: Apr 2002
I am by no means an expert on Canadian life like your husband (just a few trips there and had a boyfriend from Quebec). I always figured that it was hard to tell whether there is less racism, or simply less opportunity for (overt) racism because there are so few minorities there, statistically. And there's so much vacant land that people can easily stay with their "own kind" without it looking like segregation.
Malcolm Gladwell talks about Canadian racism from whites in an article called "Black Like Them" (can google it). Malcolm is part-Jamaican (mother is a b/w mix with Ashkenazi ... ), and his father is English. He is a Canadian national. Here's an excerpt:
"[In Ontario] whites never guessed [I had African ancestry], and even after I informed them it never seemed to make a difference. Why would it? In a town that is ninety-nine per cent white, one modest alleged splash of color hardly amounts to a threat." But more telling ...
"The infamous Jane-Finch projects, in northern Toronto, were considered the Jamaican projects. The drug trade then taking off was said to be the Jamaican drug trade. In the popular imagination, Jamaicans were--and are--welfare queens and gun-toting gangsters and dissolute youths. In Ontario, blacks accused of crimes are released by the police eighteen per cent of the time; whites are released twenty-nine per cent of the time. In drug-trafficking and importing cases, blacks are twenty-seven times as likely as whites to be jailed before their trial takes place, and twenty times as likely to be imprisoned on drug-possession charges."
He goes on to address more negative white Canadian reactions to blacks, including a personal encounter: someone from Toronto made racist comments to Malcolm without realizing that Malcolm is the very target of his complaint.
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