Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Racial Bias in Canada?

As a white South African old enough to remember Diefenbaker and Trudeau's campaigns against apartheid and my parents' disparaging remarks about Canadian "hypocrites" who should mind their own business (I didn't agree with them but that's another story,) I was naively surprised when I first learnt about the unresolved issues in Canada around First Nations' treaties and quite shocked upon first hearing about the forced removals of Inuit and M├ętis children from their families and being placed in "civilised" residential schools. Given these issues and after being raised on a diet of race and human rights in South African politics I am amazed at how insignificant a role race actually plays in Canadian politics, at least judging by the amount of silence raised on these subjects in political rhetoric.

Although not registering the same levels of shock on the Richter Scale as the above, I was still surprised on reading Rosie Dimanno's column in The Star on Saturday which opened with the following words: In a Hamilton courtroom recently, a mistrial was declared – in large part – because too many potential jurors declared themselves to be intrinsically biased against the black defendants.

I don't automatically agree with everything Rosie Dimanno writes and there are some issues where we are far apart, but this article is worth reading. Click here for the article.

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