racism canada

Donovan Bailey says in Canada you get racism with a smile

Canadian Olympian Donovan Bailey has something to say to Canadians who somehow think that racism in our country is less rampant than in the U.S.: that our racism is just as bad, but simply exists under the veil of our characteristic Canadian kindness.

"Blatant racists [like in America] are really easy to deal with. You've got somebody who's already shown you their cards... Now in Canada, it's a little different," the Sports and Olympic Hall of Famer said to CTV News on Sunday, calling Canada's particular brand of prejudice "racism with a smile."

He went on to say that though people of colour "are invited into the boardroom and into applying for jobs," he feels that a lot of this type of equal opportunity sentiment is just performative, and not authentic.

"We know for sure that in many cases, the decision's already been made, and so this is just protocol for them," he said.

This type of racism, to him, needs to be dealt with in a different way, and requires people of colour being more involved with decision-making processes.

Bailey, who was born in Jamaica and grew up in Oakville, Ontario, added that he's felt "tired and numb" since George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, and wonders if all of the subsequent civic action will actually lead to real societal change.

The athlete has spoken up about his experiences with anti-Black racism over the course of his career, saying in the mid-'90s that people "who don't appear to be Canadian," meaning people of colour, "don't get the same treatment" here.

Well said Donovan. This is your experience and the experience of many other Canadians. It's important to articulate. I am seeing some negative comments and I don't understand that. You were asked your opinion! Guess some people don't want to hear the truth.

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