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Black anti-racism groups lob volleys at Canada and Quebec

The Suburban, Joel Ceausu, Feb 3, 2023

“Enough is enough” says Joel DeBellefeuille, founder and executive director of the Red Coalition, which along with the Black Class Action Secretariat-Francophone Division announced a series of actions during this year’s Black History Month.
“It is unacceptable that in 2023 children continue to suffer in schools what I suffered myself 40 years ago! No child should ever be bullied and excluded because of their race or ethnicity, but unfortunately racism is a daily reality for many Canadian children,” said DeBellefeuille at a press conference this week , where he denounced reports of systemic racism and racist harassment of black youth at Rigaud’s College Bourget, which the Coalition served Friday in a mise en demeure.
DeBellefeuille also told The Suburban that in relation to actions by the Quebec and federal government addressing on-going issues of anti-black racism, “both legislative bodies fell short to heed to the demands of black communities across the country. Each government in their own right is complicit to the issues of systemic racism and they must act now and take the situation seriously."
The Coalition and Secretariat joined forces to file an official complaint at the United Nations to the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, as well as to the Rapporteur on the rights of people of African descent and against racial discrimination, against the Quebec and Canadian governments for failing to fulfill their commitment to combat anti-Black racism, within the framework of the International Decade for People of African descent.
They are also requesting the appointment of a special representative to combat anti-Black racism in Canada and official apologies by both governments to people of African descent for anti-Black racism endured in the province and country.

“It is important to remember that for a long time in Canada several provinces, including Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, had segregated schools. It was not until the passage of the Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 that these practices began to change and the last segregated school in Canada closed its doors in 1983 in Lincolnville, Nova Scotia- near Halifax.” However says the statement, a 2021 survey Angus Reid survey showed 58% of young Canadians say they have seen children insulted, bullied or excluded because of their race or of their ethnic origin at school. “The study also revealed that all too often teachers are unaware of or unwilling to stop racist behavior.”
Indeed, as example, the Coalition says young Black and Afro-descendant students in schools like Bourget are having their hair pulled, spat on and are called the "N" word by young white students, and further noted the “tone deafness” of the school, offering Black History activities like a series of QR-coded sheets posted on walls leading users to a Wikipedia page.
The groups cite a 2022 Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruling: “In the current social context, this word inherently carries a strong racist connotation… It is now seen as deeply offensive to people of black color because it is associated with a bygone slavery past, the very memory of which stirs violent emotions. Members of society can no longer ignore that outside of an appropriate context, the use of this word constitutes a substantial and unjustifiable insult.”
DeBellefeuille told The Suburban that the Quebec bill to protect freedom of expression in academic circles has emboldened racist behaviour and tolerance of same. “The Red Coalition and the Secretariat also believe that this relentless insistence to tolerate and even encourage the use of the “N” word in the field of education, amounts to racial harassment towards Canadians of African descent in their daily lives.” Moreover, this seems to be interpreted by some educators, they say, to facilitate the spread and acceptance of its use and contributes to anti-Black racism in the workplace.

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