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Systemic Racism in Canada | Munk Debates

SEASON TWO - EPISODE #31

Systemic Racism in Canada

Be it resolved, Canada is a systemically racist country.

Guests
Shree Paradkar
Rupa Subramanya

About this episode

The murder of four Muslim Canadians in London, Ontario. The discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in BC. A rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Asians, and Jews across the country.

As Canadians are confronted by racially-motivated attacks, both past and present, many have come to believe that these are not unique events. Racism in Canada, they argue, is embedded into our culture, our institutions, our media, and indeed the very fabric of our day-to-day lives. Sweeping reform in government, laws, and education must be undertaken to address the country’s systemic racism and make Canada a safe place for all of its citizens.

Others disagree with this assessment. While Canada’s history has indeed featured institutionalized racism towards different groups, most notably towards its indigenous communities, the country has made remarkable progress in acknowledging its diversity and celebrating its differences. One-off hate crimes do not represent the majority of Canadians and their attitudes towards marginalized and racialized communities. As Canada’s high rates of immigration attest, the country has won a global reputation as a welcoming home for all – regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexuality. To claim Canada is systemically racist is a gross mischaracterization that ignores the country’s success as pluralistic democracy and undermines social cohesion.

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Guests

Shree Paradkar

“History is not something that's a story that happened in the past, and that was magically resolved into some sort of equality today.”

Shree Paradkar

“History is not something that's a story that happened in the past, and that was magically resolved into some sort of equality today.”

Shree Paradkar is a Toronto Star columnist who writes on anti-oppression and social justice issues. She is also the Star’s first internal ombud, a position created to develop an anti-racist newsroom. She is the 2018-2019 recipient of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and winner of two Amnesty Awards for Human Rights reporting. Earlier this year Shree won the Racial Justice in Media award by the Urban Alliance of Race Relations. The author of Betrayed: My Cousin's Wrongful Conviction for the Murder of her daughter, Aarushi, Shree has been a journalist in Bangalore, Mumbai, Singapore and Toronto.  

Rupa Subramanya

“We as Canadians continuously are working towards becoming more tolerant, inclusive, and welcoming to all people. This is a sign of a society moving in the right direction.”

Rupa Subramanya

“We as Canadians continuously are working towards becoming more tolerant, inclusive, and welcoming to all people. This is a sign of a society moving in the right direction.”

Rupa Subramanya is public policy analyst with graduate degrees in economics and international affairs. She’s a columnist for the National Post and Nikkei. She’s previously written for the Wall Street Journal India and Foreign Policy. She’s co-author of a best-selling book Indianomix: Making Sense of Modern India, published by Random House in 2012.

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