To mark the World Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we spoke to one of our Multicultural Mentorship Committee members, Hassan, about his experience and thoughts on racism.

Q: What are some things that people have said to you that you found racist or offensive?

Things such as “go back to your country.”

Q: What are some things that people have said to your friends/family that were racist or offensive?

Stupid questions such as “what do you use for transportation, do you own a camel or a horse for transportation?” or “How does it feel to see the snow?”

Q: How often are you asked ‘where are you from’?

I'm always asked where I come from. Personally it doesn't bother me, it’s not shaming for me to answer.

Q: What’s it like working with predominantly Canadian European seniors?

I never notice it.

Q: Given the most recent scare with COVID-19, do you feel that you’re treated differently than the general population?

I don't feel like I’m treated differently than anyone else.

Q: How do you handle racism when it’s projected at you and your loved ones?

I stand up for myself and I don't tolerate it.

Q: What would you like to see change in society?

I would like to see society recognize racism as it is and not sugar coat it. We have to be honest with ourselves and learn to celebrate our diversity.

Q: Has racism gotten worse or less from your parents’ generation to yours and what would you like to see for your kids’ generation?

I think it’s getting better as people are talking more about it.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?

As you become a part of a society, the on-on-one racism is not the larger problem because society starts to accept you and know who you are. There is some structural racism that’s in our systems – that is the one that is hard to beat because it keeps you away from reaching your full potential.

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