Racism is a disease that afflicts many.  The classification of human beings into races is even worse, or at least as bad.  Many people, and rightly so, are challenging racism more and more every day as it seems acts of racism are on the rise.  Yet there is a significant shortfall in most, if not all, approaches that deal with racism.  That being few if any are discussing how to finally end racism.  Many know how to fight the symptoms but few seem to know the antidotes needed to cure the disease.

This lack of solutions tells us that a giant step must be taken to put an end to this disease.  Some may express this cannot be done.  On the contrary; it can be done and must be done.  The desire, strength and goodness of most people collectively within a new paradigm can do it.  To any doubters I say if people can fly, cure serious diseases, go to the moon, climb the highest peaks, run the 100m in less than 10 seconds, elect Barack Obama, prolong the lives of Aids victims, we can eradicate this disease.

Before I proceed let me be clear as to what I believe racism is.  Racism is an act of hate, discrimination, violence and exclusion based on skin colour.  Racism includes feelings and thoughts that lead to negative and harmful actions.  Furthermore, I believe that any act, action, or behavior that assumes, expects, categorizes, classifies, gives praise to, qualifies, disqualifies anyone based on the colour of their skin is an action of racism or minimally feeds the divide between people.

In this article I will discuss Canada and my Canadian brothers and sisters.  Canadians must admit that we as a people have a serious racist problem.  Anyone in doubt must stop being in denial.  Canada is a country with a racist past and present and if we don’t admit to the problem we will never echo MLK’s words free at last and we will never end the disease.

The multitude of examples of Canadian racism are too many to list here but here are a few prime examples:  The destruction of Africville a non white community in Nova Scotia, Canadian slavery, white only signs, denials of accommodations, racial attacks by racist haters, rise of white supremacy we nicely call white nationalism, the presence of the KKK in cities like Vancouver in the 50s and their rallies that attracted thousands, a number of students have been expelled from St. George’s private school in Vancouver.  The students were involved in a neo-Nazi Facebook group.  These are just a few examples that occur in this country every day.

Racism has always been here and without accepting this and the solutions to ending it, we will not and cannot flourish or say that our country is a true democracy with freedom for all.

Education Systems

The education systems of our country must play a significant role in this struggle.  Firstly, students of all ages must be taught within new curricula, kindness, caring for others, compassion, civility, accepting all people as equals.  The emphasis should be put on respecting all people’s cultures, all people’s likenesses not just their differences.  Perhaps most important may be teaching all children that actions result in consequences and that they must take responsibility for their actions and not blame others.  Yes, diversity and accepting that our differences make us strong is important but without stressing we are one human family to be accepted and loved by each other, we will not move in to the right direction.  These educational strategies may take three generations to stick but we must start in our schools now or we will never create adults who are not racists.

In classrooms teachers, through modeling and new curricula, must teach and explain to all students how racism is wrong and how it damages the lives of all Canadians including the lives of their students.  Clearly, we all flock to people like us and tend to reject others who are different from us.  So it follows that when we put emphasis on what binds us together as one people we are making a step in the right direction.  This notion and approach must begin with children as young as five or six years old and continue being taught all the years of their lives from K to 12.  The system must change to ensure students in all schools learn and are taught nonracist behaviours in all areas of their education and daily lives.

The Justice System and Government

It is up to all levels of government and the justice system to ensure that all acts of racism are met by the full force of the law. The trauma and damage of racism on its victims must be taken as seriously as physical attacks, as the trauma lasts for a lifetime and the damage is no less harmful than that of a physical attack. 

The Canadian justice system must respond harshly to all acts of racism and there must be a zero tolerance stance by our police, prosecutors, judges and those who make our laws; civic, provincial, and federal.  This means, where anyone’s rights and freedoms are breached, the consequences must be swift against perpetrators of hate, racism and hate speech, and violence based on hate and racism.  That means those who act out of racism must be arrested, tried, and when found guilty must face punishments and not just be allowed to apologize.  Such consequence as electronic monitoring, prison and listing on a national racist list, not unlike the sex offenders list, are just a few ways and means to treat convicted offenders.  We must make it clear to all that the consequences of racist acts will be met with the full force of the law at all levels of the justice system nationwide.  There are far too many occasions where this is not being done. 

For example, the three-day suspension of a student in Vancouver who posted a violent and racism threat towards black people and the Prime Minister’s black face racist antics show the breadth of the problem.  More problematic is that in both cases an apology with no serious consequences resulted for both people.  Saying sorry for racist acts cannot be our accepted standard if we wish to end racism.  By the way, the student was never charged with a crime.

Why so harsh?  Because the harm, trauma, hurt and pain racists cause their targets are devastating and the trauma lasts a lifetime.  Acts of racism and discrimination should breach the charter, human rights codes, and civil rights of people and contravene the Criminal Code of Canada.  If we are to end racism we must ensure perpetrators of racist crimes have the justice book thrown at them.  Our justice system at all levels must become serious, and accept, and be committed to put in place serious consequences to confront the damage racism causes its victims.  New laws that dictate harsh consequences for perpetrators of racism must become the norm.  Also, the laws, where they fall short on serious consequences must be sharpened to ensure racist acts are met with arrests, prosecution and minimum sentences.

A serious and necessary step in our country is that all hate/racist groups have no place in our Canadian society and, due to the damage they cause, all hate groups must be disbanded and all members of hate racist groups must be prosecuted.  It is up to community pressure and the will of our legislators to do this.

I have listed below some actions I sent to the Vancouver School Board that would include the Vancouver Police Department and would illustrate their commitment to ending racism.  These actions can and should be used across the country.  There is much more they can do but these are starting points:

  1. Both agencies should hold school community meetings immediately, at least within one week, after a racist event has occurred and not wait until community members request a meeting. In these meetings the police and the school board officials should outline the policies, procedures, restraints and laws governing what the police and the school board can do and cannot do when dealing with a student who breaches the criminal code and the governing code for dealing with minors if a student is a minor.

  2. The VPD and the VSB should consider a joint press conference outlining racist events and allowing questions while giving assurance they take this very seriously and will do whatever they can to enforce the laws regarding acts of racism in our schools and in the community.

  3. To show the diversity of VSB personnel and VPD personnel, members from diverse groups should be included and participate in as many events and activities as possible.

  4. A joint VSB, VPD, Vancouver Parks Board and Vancouver City council committee should be formed to coordinate programs and strategies needed to confront racism in the Vancouver community as a whole.

  5. All leaders in government, religious orders and community organizations should participate in like activities to show they are unified in their commitment to ending racism.

The Media

Let me move to the media, meaning movies, social media, magazines, news reports, commercials, radio programs, newspapers, and books.  These industries have an enormous influence on society and they all must join the struggle to end racism instead of perpetrating it like many do.

For these groups, censors must be put in place to help vanquish racist approaches, actions and commentary.  The free reign the media has in regards to racism must come to an end and to do this they need monitors to enforce non-racist regulations.  There must be total inclusion of all peoples no matter what colour they are in all areas of the media.  This includes social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all others and they all must monitor racist comments, websites, blogs, etc. that promote racism.  Anything that is racist must be taken down immediately and those who are found to perpetrate racism must be denied access to all and any social media or other media places.  Punishment for any hatred or racism must be put in place by government legislation and enforced on the media sector.

All media must promote the rights, equality, fairness and freedom for all people.  I am talking journalists, reporters, editors, broadcasters, producers, movie studios, etc.  The entire industry must not sanction works that are racist.

Some will say my words here are putting limits on free speech.  I say freedom of speech must be based on the right to say what all people wish to say as long as it does not denigrate, endanger, harm or harass others.  Perhaps most important, all media and commentators can help lead the charge by not just talking about and reporting acts of racism but by talking about how to end racism.  Additionally, all news and its journalists need to stop describing members of any group as one mind who think, vote and act alike as one.  For example, such words as “the black vote”, “the Chinese vote” must end. 

We must make it clear to all that the consequences of racist acts will be met with the full force of the law at all levels of society, including the media.

History and Literature

The majority of Canadian history books and other literary works tell us of the settling and building of this country by non-coloured people.  Few books offer an accounting of the toil and strife and hard work people of colour contributed to the positive growth of our nation.  In fact, people of colour today continue to make Canada the good country it is in so many ways.  The sacrifices of others besides non‑coloured people must be included in a true a Canadian history that includes all people who built this country.  Also, all of us must be made aware of the theft and attempted genocide Canadians have perpetrated against Indigenous peoples.  Far too many of the existing history books hold the narrative that only none coloured people alone built Canada. This is not a way to end racism but to enhance it. 

The Economy

Simply put, a great deal of racism is based on the fear of losing one’s job, the fear of losing one’s status, the fear of someone else getting ahead, and the fear of others gaining more of the dream.  Fear forms the rational for being a racist.  We can cure this part of the racist mindset to a degree by ensuring all Canadians no matter what colour they are have a living wage and complete health care, housing and financial security.  Those who cannot work must have the services they need to thrive and survive.  How you might ask does financial security aid us in ending racism?  With the security all people want in place, few can blame others for the pain and fear of not having enough.  Especially when so much of the racist mindset is to blame others for bad times and a stressful economic life.  Beyond this, it makes sense that all Canadians in this wealthy country have enough economic security no matter what the colour of their skin.


Within this direction to end racism, parents must play an important and possible determining role if their children are to grow up and not be racists.  There is such a wide range of responsibilities parents have so it is important to prescribe some relatively simple tasks for parents to follow in their homes with their children.  In this vain parents need to begin a new push to teach their children good manners, respect for others, loving behaviors and fairness, compassion and kindness.  We must teach and model behaviours that are not racist.  Perhaps most important is that we teach our children they must take responsibility for their actions while showing them there are consequences for all they do good or bad.  The bottom line is to influence our young to treat others the way they would like to be treated.  Overall it comes down to civility including consideration for all people.  This cannot be done by lectures and preaching at our children but my modeling all of this in the way parents treat others.


Multiculturalism is not a racial concept and can play a positive role in the quest to end racism in Canada.  

We celebrate our different cultures and that is certainly a good thing.  But wait. In the context of ending racism we need to celebrate our likeness as well.  We all have a common ground.  We all have a story, we all have fears, we all are valuable, we all are imperfect, we all wish for peace, to be loved, and to be secure and safe in our daily lives.  This should be celebrated along with our multicultural pursuits.  One should not overshadow the other.

Canadian cultural groups are many.  The vast cultures in this land are positive components of this country and should be celebrated by all Canadians.  Culture meaning human behaviours, emotions, mores, norms that are exhibited in music, dance, theatre, food, fine and performing arts, literature and more, should form a tie that binds all of us in a cloak of acceptance and respect.  All Canadians should participate in each other’s culture.  In doing so we all need to remember there is not one Canadian culture but many.  This gives us a clear understanding and vision of each other and this makes us strong and united.  When we add that all people are all members of the human family, to the Multicultural Mantra we have a winning formula.  As the song goes:

“From sea to sea a tapestry of colour, shapes and sounds.  We're a people bound together by the visions we have found.  From place to place, face to face, we share this common bond.” 

Many will say all of this is an unattainable goal.  I say if we do not accept ending racism as a possibility and an ideal it will continue to threaten the peace we as Canadians desire.  Many harmonious relationships between people will disintegrate and we will end up with an extreme level of racism no reasonable person wants.  We must stand together as one people and implement sound polices, behaviors and strategies to end this plague.  United we stand.  Divided we fall.

 We the People

As members of society, including parents, teachers, religious and community leaders, all of us need to adapt new ways of seeing each other and thinking of each other and speaking to and about each other.  An aside here is my belief that race is a myth formed and perpetrated by oppressive racists. The word race  needs to be stricken from our vocabulary.

When seeing a person of another colour we need to condition ourselves to seeing them not as a colour but as another equal member of our human family not of another race.  Forget colour and race.  We need to omit from our minds and speech racist slurs, stereotypes and generalizations.  We must reject colour and racial slurs in our comedy, music and everyday speech no matter who commits these errors.  Also, let’s forget abbreviations such as the N word as the N word conjures up in our minds the worst racial slur we can think of.  Abbreviations do not solve the problems and no one should license themselves to continue using racial slurs.  Maybe most important is we need to stop judging each other based on colour.  If we really feel a need to judge each other, let it be on character not colour.

For all victims of racism I recommend we stop falling into the trap of being defined as a colour or a race especially since no different races exist.  Why keep walking into the trap racists have laid for the human family so long ago.

Those who are targets of racism need to take a different tact themselves.  To be clear, this is not meant to be victim blaming but rather victim empowerment.  Firstly, we all must stop forming groups comprised of people of one colour.  We must replace these groups with coalitions of all people of any colour and band together as one to fight racism.  Groups based on colour isolate their members from other peoples in society.  Isolation leads to setting up walls between people.  To break down these walls we must accept that we are all one human family.  Note to existing organizations and groups populated by one colour of people:  Don’t disband just invite people of all colours to join you in your quest for equality justice and fair treatment.  I abhor these one day history months based on colour as they are token events.   Being aware and supportive of all people, everyday needs to take precedence over these one day quick fix months of recognition.

 As a country, most Canadians will say they believe in freedom.  With this in mind, we need to band together and engage racist and be sure they face serious consequences for any form of racist actions.  We must begin a national dialogue stating that racism is not accepted or tolerated in Canada.  All people must be taught that racism harms everyone’s families, communities, cities, provinces and overall our country and its entire population. 

We the people will have to lead this charge with new approaches to ending racism.  Implementation is everything.  Firstly we all must accept that all actions and programs so far to eradicate this disease have failed.  So it should logically follow that a new paradigm must be developed tested and applied.  All good Canadians at all levels of society can do it.  We must make this a national priority and fight for it every day.

Many will say all of this is pie in the sky and an unattainable goal.  I say as a people united against racism we can win and end this illness for once and for all.

We as Canadians must spark the creation of national dialogue to end racism not to just respond to it.  All of this can only be accomplished when we, as Canadians, form coalitions of all peoples to end racism across this country from the provinces, territories, cities and communities.  We must compose and enact a Canadian strategy. Some are mentioned here and I am sure there are many others ways and means to end racism.  As a people we must lay before us the plans, strategies, actions, and tasks needed to end racism and take personal responsibility to make this work.  It is time to Wake up Canada before it’s too late.