Anti-racism campaigner Husoni Raymond is questioning why a Mount Allison University professor used him as an example to support her argument that racism doesn’t exist in New Brunswick.
“NB is NOT racist,” Psychology Professor Rima Azar wrote in an online blog post on June 15, 2020.
“Canada is NOT racist. We do NOT have ‘systemic’ racism or ‘systemic’ discrimination,” she added.
Azar was commenting on a CBC report in which Raymond was identified as one of the organizers of a provincial Black Lives Matter chapter.
In her blog post, Azar asked why St. Thomas University would honour him with a trophy for strong leadership, “if NB is as racist as you are claiming.”
“Her argument is a bit ridiculous in the sense that one black person winning an award does not mean that there’s no racism,” Raymond said today in a telephone interview.
“One of the reasons why I won that award was because of my advocacy against racism within the institution and within society more broadly,” he added. “I just don’t get the connection.”
Mt. A. announced on Monday that it has launched an internal review after receiving complaints about posts on Azar’s blog “related to systemic racism, sexual violence, gender and colonization.”
Raymond, who is now the anti-racism co-ordinator at the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, says an online survey the Council conducted in November shows there’s a wide belief that there is racism here even though some people in authority “are unwilling to recognize how deep-rooted racism is within our society.”
He says that links to the 30-question survey were distributed via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and included in mainstream media reports.
Raymond acknowledges that the people who chose to complete it may have been especially interested in anti-racism efforts.
“However, we did get a large amount of people, over 900 responses from all across the province, various ethnicities, different age groups, different immigration status, so we think it does cover a broad demographic of people.”
According to the Multicultural Council, 95% of those who filled out the survey believed that there is racism in New Brunswick with 83.6% reporting that they had witnessed it firsthand.
Raymond points out that 71% of respondents believed there is systemic racism in New Brunswick which the survey defined as institutional policies and practices that result in the exclusion or promotion of designated groups.
He said, for example, that racialized people are over-represented in the criminal justice system and earn less than other Canadians.
“Employers are about 40% more likely to interview a job applicant with an English-sounding name despite identical education, skills and experience,” he added.
Raymond says that as a black person himself, he has experienced racism in a wide variety of ways.
“A simple example is that a few months ago, I got my wisdom teeth extracted,” he said, adding that when he took his dentist’s prescription for pain killers to the pharmacist, he was told to take less of the drug because he was black.
“I was drowsy from the operation, so I did what she said, but throughout the night I was feeling pain so the next day, I decided to do some research,” he said, but added that he could not find any information to support the notion that black people are more sensitive to pain killers.
“What I did discover, though, was that black people, often in health-care contexts, are undiagnosed for pain or given less pain medication because they are seen as being more resilient or tolerant to pain,” he said.
“That’s a narrative that stems straight from slavery that is still within the health-care sector that leaves racialized people vulnerable.”
I am reading “The Skin We’re In: A year of Black Resistance and power” by Desmond Cole, 2020, Doubleday Canada. I would suggest that anyone who claims there is no racism in our fair country should read it, maybe twice.
I agree with the commenter above; there is racism in NB, in Canada and around the world. Hopefully as awareness grows it will be reduced as more ‘enlightened’ people begin to get it!
Years ago I taught an ESL computer course for immigrants in Calgary. My wonderful students came in a rainbow of colours from white (fleeing Russia) to every other shade from various nations. Every single one of them was a professional in one field or another – holding Masters or PhDs in their fields of study – engineers, architects, medical doctors, researchers… Not ONE of them was employed in their field of study – they were working at restaurants, hotels, flipping burgers, parking cars – whatever it took to put a roof over the heads of the families and food on their tables. They were the most inspiring group of wonderful people that I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and work with.
The Canadian government at the time (2001-2) had lured the people from their home countries with promises of employment opportunities and a better life. Instead, they arrived with little in the way of possessions due to the cost of shipping goods, having had to leave treasures behind. It broke my heart. On breaks we’d talk about their lives and the hardships they faced complicated by their limited knowledge of English and the colour of their skin. It broke my heart to hear how they were treated.
The race war raging in our culture – according to social media which is not real life – is part of the larger divide and conquer tactics that are at work and promoted by our rulers who love to dominate us and distract us from real issue…Canadians are the most welcoming to all races… just look at our demographics if you think otherwise.. no other nations has undertaken the level of demographic change that our nation has – which by the way was seen as an experiment by Pierre Trudeau – diversity is our nation .. it is said to be our strength – so stop promoting a race war and start promoting unification of people and addressing real issues: poverty, homelessness, and unemployment… these are the matters that must concern us ALL.. IN UNITY.
What Mount Allison University refers to as “Systemic Racism” is nothing more than a justification for systemic “Classism” though in this case this racism can be proven so it is actually “Institutional Racism” and a type of Hate Culture that has been endorsed as doctrine at places the university. It is a doctrine that seeks to divide us into groups by race and gender and pivot society against each other through fear mayhem and destruction, fronted by bullies and not the truth in any way. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said there is “Nothing to fear but Fear Itself.”
The Notion of Virtue in the Dialogues of Plato “that moral virtue is not knowledge” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/notion-virtue-dialogues-plato-moral-knowledge-demian-hammock/
Sincerely Demian Hammock,
BFA, Mount Allison University; Diploma of Advanced Studies, Human Resources Management, NBCC.