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Old 01-16-2012, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Moose Jaw, in between the Moose's butt and nose.
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Just wondering if it's ever been seriously discussed. While the racism in Canada (particulary towards blacks), wasn't nearly as toxic as it was in America...I'm sure that Dr. King had some influence (even if it wasn't intentional) in Canada and why not use the same concept like Veterans Day = Remembrance Day. Also, in a few provinces, like BC, there's not 1 federal or provincal holiday, between New Years and Victoria Day....I think it would be a good idea, but, maybe because of lack of direct influence, there's not the cry for it in Canada, like there was in the States for obvious reasons.
Thoughts?
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:02 PM
 
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I don't see it as necessary. There are many causes that could be observed as holidays. Where do you draw the line if you start declaring "Civil Rights Day" as a holiday? What about Animal Welfare Day, or Breast Cancer Awareness Day?
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:27 PM
 
Location: London, UK
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I think that there are quite a few steps necessary before a Civil Rights holiday is even seriously considered in Canada.

First of all we need a real Civil Rights Movement in Canada to happen first. While no one will ever argue that historically racial issues were not as toxic in Canada as the US, the fact remains that currently Black Rights are at least 2 decades behind in Canada in comparison to the US. It is because of these trying times in the US that Blacks in America have progressed considerably more than their peers in Canada (Both Native and Foreign born)

Look into the decision by the TDSB to approve an Afrocentric School. Currently there is no standard meaningful Black History and Literature taught in the TDSB and Toronto has the largest Black population in the country.

Black students and professionals are lagging behind their white Canadian counterparts at an alarming rate. Only 3 of the 308 Members of Parliament are Black (Credit should be in order to Quebec for electing 2 black MP's and BC 1.) which only represents under 1% of Parliament. There is only 1 Black TDSB member and only 1 Black Toronto City Council member out of 45, in Canada's largest city and home to the largest black population.

This topic has been discussed at length in other threads, but the topic of Black rights is ignored by most in Canada and Canadian politics because of our lack of representation. Until an open and honest discussion happens there will be nothing resembling MLK Jr Day in Canada.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Moose Jaw, in between the Moose's butt and nose.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarp View Post
I don't see it as necessary. There are many causes that could be observed as holidays. Where do you draw the line if you start declaring "Civil Rights Day" as a holiday? What about Animal Welfare Day, or Breast Cancer Awareness Day?
How can you rate a post negatively?
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by beenhereandthere View Post
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indeed.

there's a "Civic Holiday" of some sort in most of English Canada in early August that's supposed to be related to England's abolition of slavery, but it's pretty much "whatever you make it-holiday".
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:50 PM
 
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Canada did have a civil rights movement. It was called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which enshrined many civil rights in a written charter. Black people do not own the term "civil rights" - last time I checked they apply equally to all people. Also, why should Canada teach black history. They make up a very insignificant percentage of Canadians. By the same logic, they should focus on Indian and Chinese history at the TDSB.
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Well, it wouldn't make sense to have a civil rights day. While racism certainly existed, it didn't manifest itself in denying blacks civil rights as it did in the states. As far as I understand, they were granted full civil rights before Canadian Confederation happened. And why single out blacks? They're one of the smallest racial minorities in Canada and by no means form a cohesive cultural bloc as they do in the US. The native African Canadian culture has always been very small, and indeed these old stock blacks descended from African American immigrants are a minority among Canadian blacks, most of whom come from various African or Carribean countries. I'm sure that it's true that they are statistically disadvantaged, but perhaps that makes more sense when we consider that many are recent immigrants. We should look at this more through the lens of how we as a society are handling immigration as opposed to through a race lens. To me, it doesn't make sense to lump Canadian blacks together as a group, because they're not a group. There's Anglophones and Francophones, Congolese, Haitians, Afro-Nova Scotians. Torontonians and people working in middle of nowhere Alberta. They all face different problems and the history of blacks in Canada is fundamentally different from what happened in the US. If we have a day to raise awareness it'd make more sense to raise it about the challenges facing visible minorities in general, it'd make more sense in the Canadian context.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:33 PM
 
Location: London, UK
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Since we are speaking about MLK, I would have thought it would be easy to connect which Civil Rights movement I was referring to. The US Bill of Rights preceded the "Civil Rights movement" by almost 100 years, depending on whether you use the 1948 timeline or after.

Similarly in Canada we need a modern day civil rights movement to push a black rights agenda which never happened on a wide scale in Canada. I have no idea why the mention of Black Rights is so offensive to some people, we are not talking about a militant movement, but rather one that pushes the black community to be involved in the political system to have a voice in local and federal politics.

I personally believe that Chinese and Indian history should be taught in the TDSB, but why are those subjects more worthy of consideration than Black History? Blacks make up 9% of the population of Toronto; Chinese 11.5% and South Asian 12%. With over 210,000 people identifying as Black in Toronto I would think this should be a subject considered important to students in Toronto.

Finally the issues facing the Black Community are much different than those of other Visible Minorities. Blacks lag behind every single other visible minority group in unemployment rate, median income, education attainment. 90% of the murder victims in Toronto are Black Males. I think an open discussion on these issues is more than overdue.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:44 PM
 
Location: London, UK
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
Well, it wouldn't make sense to have a civil rights day. While racism certainly existed, it didn't manifest itself in denying blacks civil rights as it did in the states. As far as I understand, they were granted full civil rights before Canadian Confederation happened. And why single out blacks? They're one of the smallest racial minorities in Canada and by no means form a cohesive cultural bloc as they do in the US. The native African Canadian culture has always been very small, and indeed these old stock blacks descended from African American immigrants are a minority among Canadian blacks, most of whom come from various African or Carribean countries. I'm sure that it's true that they are statistically disadvantaged, but perhaps that makes more sense when we consider that many are recent immigrants. We should look at this more through the lens of how we as a society are handling immigration as opposed to through a race lens. To me, it doesn't make sense to lump Canadian blacks together as a group, because they're not a group. There's Anglophones and Francophones, Congolese, Haitians, Afro-Nova Scotians. Torontonians and people working in middle of nowhere Alberta. They all face different problems and the history of blacks in Canada is fundamentally different from what happened in the US. If we have a day to raise awareness it'd make more sense to raise it about the challenges facing visible minorities in general, it'd make more sense in the Canadian context.
BimBam, it is worth noting that while all blacks cannot be lumped together into one cohesive group, Blacks of all different backgrounds face the same challenges because of skin colour and not only because of their new immigrant status.

Consider new Immigrant Blacks in the US, if you separate Foreign Born Blacks in the US from Native Born you still see a level of success as a group that is not present in Canada. Immigrants from Africa have the highest education attainment level of any group in the United States, yes higher than Native Born Americans and Asians. Do you not think that the Civil Rights movement of African Americans did not pave the way for this success? In my opinion they go hand in hand.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Why do I find it offensive? Because of the word "rights". It implies that they are treated unfairly under the law and are not legally equal at present. That's simply not true. The black agenda thing isn't so bad, but I'm fuzzy on what this black agenda would entail? I don't know much about the underlying reasons for economic inequality in Toronto's black community because I'm not from Toronto. Is this a Toronto problem or is it the same everywhere? Are the underlying reasons the same everywhere? I generally view race based anything with suspicion because I'm suspicious of founding identity and culture on the racial differences between people. If discrimination on the basis of race is already occuring, fine, let's address it. But it feels wrong to have the state put people in boxes and promote a cultural identity based on such an arbitrary thing as what continent your ancestors came from. It hurts Canadian unity. If there's walls between people already, let's knock them down, not put up new ones and emphasize how "different" blacks are, which is what I worry this would do. It'd make people more likely to think of black people as black people instead of as individual humans who could come from any one of a score of different cultures. If we want to promote political participation in certain communities, let's do that. If we want to promote education, let's do that. But some day seems like an empty gesture that could do more harm than good, and lead to people oversimplifying what's probably a complex issue that needs to be understood in it's local contexts. Is it racism from everyone else? Is it that there's not enough role models in, say, the Jamaican community? Is it isolation? I can't be sure if I want to back a day until I can get why Blacks are in the positions they are in.

Last edited by BIMBAM; 01-16-2012 at 04:02 PM..
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