Tag Archives: racism

That Other Time the Toronto Police Tried to Solve the Race Problem: The Ethnic Relations Unit, 1970s-1980s

David M. K. Sheinin In the early 1970s, to gain insights into the Italian immigrant community in Toronto, the police set up an Ethnic Relations Unit. In 1975 the unit created a “Black Section” followed by Jewish, Southeast Asian, and other sections. The experiment in building bridges to ethnic communities failed because this solution to growing police-community tensions reinforced rather… Read more »

Could Covid Cure Classical Music?

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By Jessi Gilchrist With the onset of COVID-19, we have seen orchestras, operas, and small ensembles retreat from the concert stage and disperse into their lonely practice rooms. There is no doubt that COVID-19 is not being kind to Canada’s musicians or music institutions. Yet this time away from the spotlight also provides an opportunity for critical reflection on the… Read more »

Missing Pieces: The Romanticisation of the RCMP in CBC’s “When Calls the Heart”

By Erin Isaac With rising awareness and concern about police violence against people of colour in Canada and the United States, and following several recent instances of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) violence against Indigenous persons — including the killing Rodney Levi of the Metepenagiag First Nation in New Brunswick, the RCMP attack on Chief Adam Allan of the Athabasca… Read more »

Epidemics and Racism: Honolulu’s Bubonic Plague and the Big Fire, 1899-1900

Yukari Takai More than a century before the global outbreak of Covid-19, another deadly disease struck Honolulu, one that ignited the tragic unfolding of many stories about public health, urban fires and social inequalities, particularly racism. The bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, hit Honolulu’s crowded and throbbing Chinatown in December 1899 when it took the life of… Read more »

12 Black Scholars on the Black Lives Matter Movement and Canada

As millions around the world take to the streets to defend Black lives, decry racist police violence and structural racism, and articulate visions for a radically different future, a number of Black scholars in Canada have engaged with public audiences to help contextualize this moment and lay out how racism is very much a Canadian problem as well. The below… Read more »

Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism and Commemoration in Western University’s Department of History

Will Langford At the cancelled Congress 2020, Olivette Otele was scheduled to deliver the Canadian Historical Association’s keynote address. Otele was recently appointed the first History of Slavery professor at Bristol University. Her immediate research will examine Bristol University’s historical ties to the transatlantic slave trade. A growing number of universities are detailing institutional links to slavery and showing why… Read more »

Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism, Academic Freedom, and the Far Right, 1970s-1990s

Will Langford In 1989, psychology professor Philippe Rushton inflamed debates over discrimination at Western University (then known as the University of Western Ontario (UWO)) by outlining his racist theories at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For some, Rushton’s academic racism made him unfit to teach at UWO. For others, protecting academic freedom was… Read more »

Revisiting “Was Laurier Canada’s Obama?”

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Of course, the real interest in the piece, as in the book manuscript I had just completed, wasn’t what happened in 1911 but what happened at the next election in 1917, namely, the most racially polarizing campaign in Canadian history.

Congress 2020, Interrupted: A Brief History of University Codes of Conduct

Will Langford Congress 2020 is cancelled. But before the conference is forgotten, let’s ponder the anti-racism Congress that never was. At last year’s gathering, in a brazen act of racial profiling, a participant harassed political scientist Shelby McPhee and falsely accused the Black graduate student of theft. Following an investigation, the perpetrator was issued a ban for violating the Congress… Read more »

Won Alexander Cumyow and the Fight for Democratic Rights

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Editor’s Note: This post is the second in our special election series.  Timothy J. Stanley  The photograph of Won Alexander Cumyow voting in the 1949 federal election marks an important landmark in the struggle for democratic rights in Canada. Although born in Canada before the country existed, Cumyow had to wait 88 years to have the unfettered right to vote…. Read more »