Canada’s “multiculturalism” is a form of tokenization on a mass scale. How much do we really know about each other? There is this honoured- but very damaging belief in Canada that, “we don’t see colour because everyone is equal.” People are usually trying to communicate that they are not judging people by the colour of their skin and that our society is accepting of people of colour, minority groups, immigrants and Indigenous peoples… but this is not the reality.
In reality, all of our schools, workplaces and institutions are struggling with their anti-racist work. As a matter of fact, 63 universities in Canada say they cannot answer CBC’s question on racial demographics because they don’t ask students to provide information about their racial identity. It’s “not something we talk about” because “we’re all the same.” But we are not. And we do not all experience the same “Canada” as multicultural Canadians.
You see, the “I don’t see race” crowd renders themselves completely useless in the fight against racism. People can’t make an impact on what they don’t see. People can’t address what they don’t acknowledge. People cannot understand inequality, different needs of racialized groups and the barriers and hurdles faced by these marginalized groups. The misguided well intentions of colourblindness can also be seen as, “[We] do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, colour, sexual orientation, disability, national or ethnic origin, or any other grounds prohibited by law.” It’s NOT a discrimination to understand who we really are to see what we really need. It’s not discriminatory to honour each of our unique, beautiful and various ethnicities and cultures. In order to stop tokenizing BIPOC peoples to boast “a diverse and multicultural Canada” how about we start learning, honouring and celebrating our diverse backgrounds?