Racism alive and well in Canada

At times, racism can be used on a national scale against another nation or against a certain group of its own citizens.

Racism is an easy “ism” to define. Simply put, it is one person or a group of people expressing a feeling of superiority over people who are different from them. Racism is learned. No one is born a racist. The degradation of a certain group of people is taught and accepted by some people who may or may not use violence against the people they consider inferior.

At times, racism can be used on a national scale against another nation or against a certain group of its own citizens. The action by a nation may or may not involve violence, such as in Nazi Germany, or it may be non-violent oppression.

For example, within a nation, an oppressed minority may not be given the right to vote. Or, they may be told where they can and cannot live. Possibly, certain lands may be set aside for this minority, lands determined by the majority group without any consultation. On these designated lands, the minority group usually suffers from a lower standard of education than the one enjoyed by the majority. The government may pass legislation outlawing their language, their religion and their culture. Their children may be forced to attend schools populated with children from the majority group in society in the hope that they may give up their heritage and become like the rest of society. For those who do attempt to become integrated, they still face prejudice in the form of being hired for jobs, or receiving pay equal to that in the rest of society. Also, within the mainstream culture, the minority group may be portrayed in the media and in literature as being uneducated, uncivilized, backward, simple, rather than being considered as human beings with the same wants and desires as the rest of us despite their difference in language, religion, and culture. In addition, they may live in sub-standard housing, be living in constant poverty with little or no hope for self-improvement.

They are usually considered by the rest of society as being second-class citizens. In some countries, they may not even be accorded citizenship. In addition, they suffer with sub-standard medical care and their life expectancy is lower than the rest of society. Being a minority, their voting power, if they have any, is so minor that their concerns can easily be dismissed by the elected government. Should they protest, even peacefully, many in society object to their demands.

No, this is not apartheid in South Africa. This is the treatment Canada has meted out to its Native peoples.

Bob Abrahams