Tag: racism

When a young black woman accused the Halifax police of racially profiling and abusing her in connection with an alleged shoplifting incident at Walmart last week, officials did what officials do. They obfuscated, they passed the buck, they pretended to take it seriously. I still don’t know nearly enough about what actually happened inside the […]

“‘Truth and Reconciliation’ versus ‘the Murdered and Missing’” was intended to be a serious academic lecture by one of Canada’s most esteemed poets and social justice truth speakers. Somehow it all went wrong. I don’t know George Elliott Clarke well, but I have known him for a long time. Back in the mid-1980s, before he […]

His hiring as a Halifax police officer in 1969 happened only because the city feared what might happen if it didn’t at least pay lip service to inclusion. But over the course of his 36-year policing career, Calvin Lawrence proved a more than worthy fighter against racism. Calvin Lawrence remembers the life-altering moment well. It […]

Last week’s Blackface/Brownface controversy raises the complicated question of how we navigate our way through all the competing, compelling, often contradictory private and public actions of our politicians to determine who — if anyone — deserves our vote. Voting is easy. Choosing who to vote for? Not so much… In our federal parliamentary, first-past-the-post system, […]

“This is North Preston” is a film about the stereotype of North Preston that allows the young men who’ve been stereotyped for so long to speak for themselves. Jaren Hayman is from Toronto. He’s 32 years old, a white man. He began his professional career as a drummer, touring North America, but eventually morphed into […]

As he begins the second half of his first term as a city councilor, Lindell Smith reflects on what’s been accomplished. And what’s still to do before he moves on. He is not, he says again/still, a career politician. This column first appeared in the Halifax Examiner February 25, 2019. What are you most proud […]

In 1970, a dozen outside experts came to Halifax for a week to turn the city ‘upside down.’ Last week, a local group played excerpts from ‘Encounter on Urban Environment,’ the NFB’s documentary on that cataclysmic week in Halifax, and discussed whether it’s time for another upside-downing. This column first appeared in the Halifax Examiner January 28, 2019. I […]

“People don’t like to talk about race, culture, bias,” Bayview Community School principal Lamar Eason explains, adding elliptically: “Doing your job can lead to questioning the people employing you. Understandably, people get defensive. But [race relations officers] are not there just to support schools; we’re also there to support students and their families. There can […]

Back in the fall of 1968, Stokely Carmichael’s mere presence scared the hell out of Halifax. Are there lessons for today? The column first appeared in the HalifaxExaminer December 3, 2018. Last month, the Bank of Canada released its new $10-banknote featuring an image of Viola Desmond, the iconic Canadian civil rights pioneer who refused to give […]

This column originally appeared in the Halifax Examiner on February 19, 2018. Let’s start with this. Any jury might have acquitted Gerald Stanley, the 56-year-old white Saskatchewan farmer who shot and killed Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old indigenous man, on his farm in August 2016. There are two competing narratives about what happened, and even more about the meaning […]