Protests in Ferguson, Missouri, November 25, 2014

Racism is everywhere and everyday. It has a 500 year history. People who experience racism get angry. And understandably. The Centre for Race and Culture has a vision of a society free of racism. We have direct communication with many people who experience this form of discrimination and most often we are incredibly frustrated that there is no recourse for their pain. A contractor is sidelined by an unscrupulous white businessman and has evidence to indicate it is due to racism. What is to be done? Police can’t deal with it. The association of professionals is controlled by the discriminator and there is no hope of recourse with a complaint to them. There is not an opportunity to make a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission because it does not involve employment, goods and services, tenancy, publications and notices, or membership in trade unions. The contractors, originally from outside Canada, are kind and giving people. They want to do good business. They want to act fairly. But they are being sabotaged by one racist human.

A moving company arrives to move furniture for an organization. The white man doing the moving has “choice” words for the people he encounters. Words which are blatantly racist toward the people who have hired him. What do they do? Police can’t help because nobody was assaulted. Lawyer has nothing clear to act on.

Gary Moostoos is evicted from City Centre Mall in Edmonton and has the presence of mind to RECORD his interaction with security personnel. Finally, an incident hits the headlines due to his courage.

The current mass protests in Ferguson, Missouri, USA need to be noted. Throughout the past 500 years, since colonization, key incidents like this have been a spark to ignite a huge flame. The kindling for the fire is the accumulated anger of all people who experience racism. It is not necessarily a reaction to the specifics of this incident. The anger of being treated unjustly and without humanity for centuries is the cause. We need to stand up and pay attention to these protests because all must understand what is being protested. 500 years of racism.

Charlene Hay
Executive Director
Centre for Race and Culture