Racism in Canada: Words to tell wrongs

Canada is usually referred to as a country of immigration, a country open to difference, a country that embraces multiculturalism. But more and more voices are rising to denounce ordinary or systemic racism and racist incidents, some of them tragic.

We therefore wanted to make the victims of racism heard, to give voice to the words that tell the wrongs.

This dossier brings together a few testimonies from victims of racism in Canada. Testimonials that vividly demonstrate the tragic experiences that can be experienced by those whose skin is not white or whose name comes from ‘elsewhere’, whether they are immigrants or born in Canada.

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Pamphinette Buisa represents Canadian rugby internationally and at the Olympic Games. Involved in the fight against racism since the tragic death of George Floyd in the United States, the player of Congolese origins has participated in numerous demonstrations and actions in British Columbia. She also tries to use her influence as an athlete to give a voice to those who have been left out. She agreed to share her experience with racism with Radio Canada International. Read More

Vanessa Garcia is part of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens since 2006. She has worked her way up through all levels of this prestigious dance company, from corps de ballet to principal dancer. Today, Vanessa is also one of the choreographers of Les Grands Ballets. She was born in Spain and graduated from the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza de Madrid. Read More

Yan-Maverick Quitich is familiar with racism. ‘I am proud to be an Atikamekw from Manawan. A small leader who expresses himself with care, despite the loss of his mother tongue.’  These words full of meaning had lost their meaning for Yan-Maverick Quitich when the young Indigenous man was subjected to racism two years ago. On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, he testifies.  Read More

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of discrimination against Chinese and Asians have increased significantly around the world. The city of Montréal in Quebec is no exception. Read More

I have been living in Canada for over 30 years. Personally, I have never been discriminated against because of my skin colour, gender or age, but I have heard and seen such incidents in the news. Racial discrimination exists in every society in the world.  Read More

About two years ago, we went to the United States to attend a family wedding and took a Greyhound bus to get there.  At the bus station, we were the only Asians.  Read More

When I came to Canada, the last thing I would have imagined was the way the police would treat us here. For me, that was a surprise. It was a wake-up call. We would always leave school as a group, as there were many new arrivals from El Salvador because of the war. That high school was full of newly arrived Salvadorans, like me. Read More

My name is Joni Ismael Velázquez Gutiérrez. I am Mexican. I came to a ferme [farm] to work in the livestock industry, in the milk industry. There, I can say that I experienced a certain degree of racism and verbal abuse from my employer, because he insulted us, he always scolded us. Read More

Alf Bell is a public relations specialist who lives in the Greater Toronto Area. He came to the Queen City in 2000 as a permanent resident. In this testimony, he chose to keep his name confidential. However, in accordance with our journalistic standards and practices, RCI certifies his identity.  Read More

Francisca Mandeya was born in Zimbabwe where she witnessed racism in her early years. She then moved to Canada’s Far North – to Iqaluit, Nunavut. There she experienced racism once again. Read More

Mohammed Mahmoud and his daughter Layal, residents of Montréal. Discrimination based on name and skin colour. Having names such as ‘Mohammed’ or ‘Mahmoud’ may not make life easier in the West. The Syrian-Canadian we spoke to has both. Mohammed Mahmoud came to Canada with his family in the early 1990s. The family chose to live in Montréal, Quebec’s largest city.  Read More

Racial profiling and discrimination on the basis of skin colour. There are cars that cause trouble to their owners because of mechanical problems. There are also cars that are very reliable in terms of their mechanics, but cause another kind of trouble to their owners, especially if they are black. Hassan (not his real name), of African origin, told us about the problems he had driving luxury cars.  Read More

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