Watch now: Race and Reckoning in Canada


Published: 23Feb2021

A lecture from Dr. Debra Thompson about what defines the boundaries of Blackness and belonging in Canada, which took place on February 18, 2021.

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Canadians revel in an image of their country as a multicultural exception in a world that has taken a hard-right turn towards intolerance of racial and ethnic pluralism. Canadians are particularly keen to draw a distinction between Canada and the United States, even as America's foundational ideas, beliefs, narratives, obsessions and psychoses have greatly influenced the formation of Canada’s national identity by negation. The logic is something like this: racism exists in the United States; Canada is not-America. So, there is no racism in Canada.

Dr. Thompson's lecture used the analytical insights of black political thought and personal narrative to make the case that there’s something truly unique about Blackness and the persistence of anti-Black racism in Canada, in part because of the lingering, ubiquitous spectre of Black America.

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