Systemic Racism

What can we do individually and as a country do to help mitigate systemic racism? For me to start...

Someone asked me the other day " what is he like as a young basketball player". I replied "he's a typical Toronto black player" Man, that is systemic racism.

Canada should immediately provide funds to all Reserves in Canada to have safe drinking water. Can you imagine the uproar in middle and upper "class" Canada if the water was unsafe to drink.

We should start the process to develop ways to bring our police forces out of the "occupy' mindset.. Stronger recruitment practices, require a degree in criminology, stop requiring cops to be everything, develop powerful and paid oversight tribunals, develop restorative justice programs.


I generally agree with your three points though I think almost any amount of money spent on reserves is likely just not going to work - the core issue there is that with as remote and poor quality as that land tends to be, there's just no non-artificial point for people to live there.

Re: systemic racism, I try to start with myself. What is my reaction when I see a resume come in with an Asian / Middle Eastern / Indian subcontinent last name? Am I more likely to eliminate that resume due to pre-judgment as to their abilities to communicate effectively in English? What are my biases towards them as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon last named person? (The irony of this is significant considering I myself have a Middle Eastern last name. But I still can fall prey to this bias!)

If I can try to be more aware myself, I can help stop the systemic issues from repeating.

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Oh....that HR issue and the name is a very good example.

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Canada has spent lots of money on reserves. Ask the leaders where the money went . And then wonder why the Grinning Idiot allowed in Ottawa allowed the leaders to close their books otherwise it was "racist."

Sully, I agree with your point about the location of the reserves. It's more a problem of geography.

Sorry if this response is viewed as political but it is the only place I can view this thread going.

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Yes the reserves receive billions every year yet people live in squalor. Remenber that one band whee the council went on a luxury cruise while people Froze in substandard housing.
Steven Harper government introduced the accountability act in which the bands had to reveal where the most ey was spent. Fair enough. The liberals get elected and no more accountability. How are you helping the average person living on the reserve.

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Where is the systemic racism, what company, what law?

You just admitted your own bias or some would call it racism, does that make the CFL guilty of systemic racism because one guy they employ is racist. To me, it makes you human and the CFL employs a flawed person (like every other company)

That DOESN'T make it systemic racism unless they know about and aid and abet your behaviour with examples of your not giving someone an equal opportunity.

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I have a problem with the over use of the word systemic. I am sure systemic racism exists in some govts and some businesses and some social circles etc, but I am not sure if it is as wide spread as some say. The more I study the word, the more I think that it does not apply to Canada as a whole, nor the RCMP as a whole. Racism is not endorsed, encouraged, accepted, or ignored by those at the top, as my understanding of systemic would imply. The disease of racism seems to run rampant through many institutions and groups of peoples, but this does not necessarily mean that it is systemic.

At the very least, one should be able to question the use of the word systemic as it may or may not apply to such as the RCMP without losing not just one, but two jobs.

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I don't really see much point in treating the issue like we're being judged in a giant courtroom of morality. Declaring people or organizations guilty or innocent or good or bad doesn't accomplish much.

What I think is helpful is to use examples like mine to help people recognize the following:

  • All of your decisions are made through a racial lens; it's uncomfortable to admit but true
  • There's (probably) no evil conglomerate of people making sure society stays racist; instead, we've all kind of bought into various biases and are ourselves perpetuating the problem

There's other non-racial biases too that I encourage everyone to think about: Do you tend to hire people who have the same kind of sense of humour as you do? The same hobbies or interests? Went to the same school?

You might reasonably think that hiring people with those traits makes things more comfortable in the office - and maybe it can, you've got more things in common - but mostly it just screens out people who don't have the same socioeconomic background as you do. As a byproduct, maybe it also screens out people of other races than you, or of the other gender.

That, to me, is the systemic part of it. We all do it and we mostly do it subconsciously. I've no grand solutions other than simply trying to be more conscious myself when it comes to hiring and communication.


^ I'll buy that!

I have only one sort of prejudice. I dont like when people dont learn to speak english when they come to live in Canada. It is only usually a minor annoyance. Specially when doing business or customer service etc. One time I was in a University cafeteria in Toronto and I ordered a hamburger and I tried to ask her to put ketchup on both top and bottom bun, and she just kept saying yah yah ketchup, and then only put it on one. grrrr

As far as systemic goes, there are dictionary definitions. I wish people would stop giving it their own made up definitions. This applies to lots of misused words

and BTW, almost none of my decisions or actions are made thru racial lens.

I do plead guilty to some non racial bias though

For certain positions you need both hard skills and soft skills.

In the example of the RCMP, those hard skills would be a certain level of fitness and strength. On average, men would be naturally more strong than a woman which could certainly explain why there would be an "underrepresentation" of women in these roles. You could argue the same for positions like welders, pipe fitters, etc.

Cultures also vary. When you look at Asian culture, school work is viewed in higher priority than, say, Canada. This would explain why Asians are consistently scoring higher on SATs.

There is a combination of both nature and nurture. I dont think you can blame systems for this. If you want your child to score higher on the SAT, perhaps take a look at Asian culture and adapt your parenting to how they do things.

So, in short, not everything is "sexist" or "racist" or whatever else. In a good majority of the cases, these professions are just shaped because of the practical nature of the job and hiring just to meet a quota of so many women or so many of this skin colour just isn't realistic or just doesn't make sense.

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I agree with some of what you're saying, but I do think there is a systemic component to some of the disparity we see in our society.

In the case of Africans whose ancestors were brought to North America as slaves and in the case of many indigenous communities, their language and culture were intentionally stripped from them. They don't have that same bedrock of tradition to build from that other ethnicities might have.

Once that is gone, it's a struggle to regain footing. Poverty and cultural alienation contribute to the cycle repeating itself, so that certain groups are more likely to remain poor and disenfranchised.

When I think of systemic racism, I don't think it means that our politiicians and community leaders are formulating racist plots to keep certain ethnicities down. It's more about ways the system unconsciously and perhaps unintentionally reinforces racism.


...I agree with what you’re saying Dave and coupled with what FYB said, maybe ‘systemic’ isn’t the right descriptor. Perhaps ‘inherent’ is the correct that it’s been around forever and while it certainly isn’t written into the rules of Canadian society it very hard to say it doesn’t run within the fabric of our society...

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I agree only to the extent that our education system gives in to what would be a "self fulfilling prophecy". When you are told you are "oppressed" and the world is out to get you, you tend to give up. As a parent with that mindset, you may not discipline your child to stay home and study. I also think leaders within these communities are extremely bitter which then infiltrates into the lives of their people. I would say a good chunk of it is mindset.

There is trauma as well. I wont downplay that. FASD and everything else certainly plays a role. However, I'm not sure changing "systems" is going to improve the lives of individuals who choose to remain addicted.

Why is it that some can break cycles whereas others cannot?

So some people are stupid and others are not. We already knew this and giving it a misnomer does not legitimize it's existence as systemic. If patterns follow as they do it will soon be in law books and shortened to SSR. Gotta love those three letter acronyms.

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Systemic is not a bad descriptor, it is not the same meaning as systematic.

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...thanks QC, you are correct, I had the wrong definition in mind...

If you repeat something often enough it'll become a reality.

Its pretty basic psychology. This "systemic racism" nonsense is kind of what would be considered a self serving bias where you blame outside forces for the situation you are in. Eventually that gets ingrained and impacts motivation to do anything to better yourself.

I was there for awhile too but eventually you learn you can't just blame "the government" for your problems or expect them to solve everything for you.

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