What You Can Do About It

(adapted from Racism Free Edmonton)

As an Individual
  • Learn about the history of racism in Canada. In particular, the impact of racism on Aboriginal groups.
  • Think twice when you hear groups and/or communities referred to as “disadvantaged” or “underprivileged”. These labels often have stereotypes that come with them that ignore or mask the attitude of underlying racism, that somehow the group is inherently 'lesser than' others.
  • Recognize racist language, attitudes and stereotypes. Become more aware of the impact of your words and actions on others and how your biases and stereotypes may be impacting your behaviour. Find out what language is acceptable or offensive to groups or communities by asking someone from that group directly.
  • Speak up. Make a personal commitment to object to racist behaviours and attitudes when you encounter them by speaking up in a respectful way. If you don’t speak up, it may appear as though you condone these attitudes or behaviours.
  • Listen to the stories of those who have experienced racism and become aware of the impact of racism on their lives.
  • Educate yourself – read books and watch movies that provide a variety of perspectives and information about groups and communities from different ethnic and racial backgrounds.
  • Be thoughtful and critical about information that you see and hear in the media. Messages in the media have an underlying perspective, belief system or point of view. When you read, see or hear something, ask yourself what these belief systems or points of view might be. Do they perpetuate misinformation or stereotypes about a particular group?
In Your Communities
  • Take the RESPECT NETWORK challenge!
  • Volunteer for an organization that reflects your values and works to eliminate racism and hate.
  • If you are involved with boards and community groups, help ensure that they are serving the needs of diverse communities.
  • Find out if your community has a protocol for responding to racism and hate. If so, familiarize yourself with the process and share with others. If not, contact a member organization to see if they would like help to develop one.
  • Help educate other people by providing information and encouraging conversations about racism and other forms of oppression.
In your organization or workplace
  • Speak up when you see racism or discrimination in action
  • Learn about your organization’s policies and implement a committee to create one if needed.
  • Provide appropriate education and training to employees that help them to create inclusive workplaces and provide appropriate services to those affected by racism.
As a parent
  • Expand your family's perspectives by celebrating the lives of Canadians of diverse backgrounds. Many communities have cultural events (dance, theatre, art) that provide information as well as real insights into the culture, history, and life of different racial groups. Holidays can also be times to learn more about the values of other people.
  • Form interracial friendships.
  • Seek out racially diverse role models/professionals. Children's attitudes are affected by the people they relate to a variety of capabilities (doctors, dentists, teachers, ministers, counselors).
  • Never use or allow racially derogatory terms. Children need to know that comments and/or jokes that belittle or insult the racial or cultural ancestry of any person or group is unacceptable in our homes. It is also important for them to see us confront other adults about their language.
  • Involve yourself in community projects. It is important for both adults and children to be involved in projects in which the leaders are people of diverse backgrounds.
  • Stand with the victims. Even though the circumstances vary from one community to another, there are always opportunities to add our voices to those fighting against the impact of racism, whether at school board meetings, city council hearings, court proceedings or vigils. At times these situations may be appropriate for the participation of children.
In your school
  • Take the Respect Challenge and encourage others to do the same
  • Watch for and challenge disrespectful behaviour and speak up
  • Participate in efforts to educate and eliminate disrespectful behaviour at school
  • Be a leader  and start a campaign to educate others
  • Support and empathize with those who are being mistreated and do something to change it
If You Experience Racism
  • Tell someone you trust.
  • Connect with a community agency to get support.
  • Write down and detail the event(s). Include dates, times, circumstances, names, and anything else that is relevant to the situation.
  • If this is a workplace incident, find out what policies are in place and follow the procedures outlined
  • Contact a BC Human Rights Clinic for advice
  • File a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal
  • If you witness a hate crime, report the crime to the BC Hate Crime Team or your local RCMP immediately. Tell them why you believe it was a crime. Document the incident in detail.
Witnessing racism
  • Challenge racist or hate remarks, behaviours, or jokes. Let them know there is nothing funny about racism or hate to the people affected, even if they don’t mean any harm.
  • Inform the perpetrators that there are laws to protect people against racism and hate and that as Canadians, we have the right to be free from these prejudices.
  • If you witness an incident of a hate crime and it is not safe to intervene, be a good witness, note as many details as you can, call for help, and support the victim where possible. Encourage them to report the incident.
  • In other cases, it may be possible to prevent an incident from escalating by challenging the behaviour or remarks or calling on authorities to intervene.