Posts tagged "culture"

For the Brown Canada Project. 

Brown Canada: Komagata Maru Plays Volunteer Posting
(Part Time – Until end of June) 

Start & End Dates : May- end of June 2012

Brown Canada, lead by CASSA, is a community-led history project to encourage South Asian communities to create and document their histories in Canada creatively, through writing, video, interviews, art, theatre or other means. Our collective entry point for this project is through the Komagata Maru incident of 1914, when a ship of South Asian people was denied entry into Canada due to restrictive immigration policy known as the continuous journey regulation. Through this project, we are creating an interactive website, offering educational and creative workshops, producing a short video as well as seeking to tour a short theatre piece to raise awareness of the incident and spark community dialogue within Ontario.

The Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) is currently recruiting a team of volunteers to help out with the final Komagata Maru Play that will be held on June 27.

We are looking for a team of volunteers to be responsible for assisting in media relations, community outreach, stage hands, costume design . These positions will work closely and report to the project coordinator.


  • Community outreach to spreak word about the event
  • Stagehands & lighting 
  • Help out with set designs, makeup, and  costumes


  • Volunteers of all ages are welcome
  • Relevant interest in theatre or experience
  • Interest in educating others about South Asian/PoC history is always a bonus!  
If you do not have experience working with community members, community organizations and agencies, and or theatre, but are interested in working on the play, feel free to send in your resume.
We are hoping to have a volunteer meeting as soon as possible, so please email Deena  at before June 15th if you are interested in working with CASSA on this project.

CASSA is committed to employment equity & encourages applicants from equity seeking groups.

Follow our facebook fanpage , brown canada tumblr, and website for more information.


Brown Canada & CASSA

Position Type: Arts / Crafts, Community Outreach, Event Helpers, Performing

Duration: Short term (Less than 6 months)

Location(s): Toronto

Great For: Youth (ages 13-18), Youth (over 18), Groups, 40 hour high school program, Physically Challenged, English as a Second Language, Virtual (can be done remotely), Wheelchair Accessible

What are Racial Microagressions? Racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications when they interact with racial/ethnic minorities. A taxonomy of racial microaggressions in everyday life was created through a review of the social psychological literature on aversive racism, from formulations regarding the manifestation and impact of everyday racism, and from reading numerous personal narratives of counselors (both White and those of color) on their racial/cultural awakening. Microaggressions seem to appear in three forms: microassault, microinsult, and microinvalidation. Almost all interracial encounters are prone to microaggressions
from PsycNET 

African Canadian Heritage Association is a non-profit and community supported organization, which operates a curriculum-based heritage program for families with children from five – 16 years of age. The programs objectives are achieved by including the seven principles of Kwanzaa in all the activities and events. The children are taught about the history of African people in Canada, Africa and the Diaspora. They learn this through the media of creative arts, classroom instruction and other real life applications. The African Canadian Heritage Association started out as the Black Heritage Program in 1969. It was first located in a church basement in the Thorncliffe Park area of East York. The program was formed by concerned African Canadians who thought it was necessary to provide Black children with an avenue to learn Black history.

In 1975, the program moved to Valley Park Middle school in East York and remained there for over 20 years. In 1989, the name of the program was changed to the African Canadian Heritage Association to reflect the African heritage of all Black Canadians regardless of where in the Diaspora, they may have been born.Due to government cutbacks and subsequent financial challenges in 1998, the program ended it relationship with Valley Park and moved to the Harbourfront Community Centre. After four years at Harbourfront….the program moved to our current location at Centennial College – Progress Campus in Scarborough. .Centennial College has opened the college facilities to ACHA and we continue to build on the partnership that we have established.

ACHA is a self-sufficient and self reliant non-profit association. All the program funding comes from registration fees and fundraising activities that are scheduled throughout the program year. The major fundraising activity is an annual walkathon that usually generates about 50% of the funding required for the   program. Other fundraising activities include an annual brunch, event raffles, t-shirt sales and at times, donations from program supporters.

Some examples of the innovative programming offered by ACHA include:

Š  Entrepreneurs’ Day (encourages the spirit of entrepreneurship among our youth)

Š  African History Challenge (students in the program are organized into teams to complete for prizes in an annual quiz about African Diasporic history)

Š  Kwanzaa Open House (a community-based tradition in which the seven Kwanzaa principles are highlighted)

Š  An annual fundraising Walkathon for Youth, usually with an historical perspective

Š  Live stage performances to showcase students and community talent

Š  An outdoor family winter ice skating event at Harbourfront

Š  Field trips to community events, the local food bank and other places of interest

Š  An annual hike and farm visit to Milton

Š  Youth programming that features Rites of Passage and a weekend Youth Retreat



The new CBC series 8th Fire, hosted by Wab Kinew and featuring Winnipeg’s Most amongst many other talented Indians, challenges the relationships between “us” and “them”.

Tonight debuts the first episode of 8th Fire, the new, four-part CBC series exploring relationship building between Indigenous and settler society in Canada. Geared towards a much larger, non-Indigenous audience, the first episode is meant to introduce a broad cross-section of Aboriginal peoples to Canada and features rappers Winnipeg’s MostTaiaiake Alfred, and Evan Adams amongst others.

RPM’s Marika Swan spoke with Jon-C of hip-hop group Winnipeg’s Most about their involvement in the project. Read the whole article here:


Colorblind Ideology is a Form of Racism

What is racial colorblindness?

Racial issues are often uncomfortable to discuss and rife with stress and controversy. Many ideas have been advanced to address this sore spot in the American psyche. Currently, the most pervasive approach is known as colorblindness. Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity.

At its face value, colorblindness seems like a good thing — really taking MLK seriously on his call to judge people on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. It focuses on commonalities between people, such as their shared humanity.

However, colorblindness alone is not sufficient to heal racial wounds on a national or personal level. It is only a half-measure that in the end operates as a form of racism.

Problems with the colorblind approach

Racism? Strong words, yes, but let’s look the issue straight in its partially unseeing eye. In a colorblind society, White people, who are unlikely to experience disadvantages due to race, can effectively ignore racism in American life, justify the current social order, and feel more comfortable with their relatively privileged standing in society (Fryberg, 2010). Most minorities, however, who regularly encounter difficulties due to race, experience colorblind ideologies quite differently. Colorblindness creates a society that denies their negative racial experiences, rejects their cultural heritage, and invalidates their unique perspectives.

Let’s break it down into simple terms: Color-Blind = “People of color — we don’t see you (at least not that bad ‘colored’ part).” As a person of color, I like who I am, and I don’t want any aspect of that to be unseen or invisible. The need for colorblindness implies there is something shameful about the way God made me and the culture I was born into that we shouldn’t talk about. Thus, colorblindness has helped make race into a taboo topic that polite people cannot openly discuss. And if you can’t talk about it, you can’t understand it, much less fix the racial problems that plague our society.

Colorblindness is not the answer

Many Americans view colorblindness as helpful to people of color by asserting that race does not matter (Tarca, 2005). But in America, most underrepresented minorities will explain that race does matter, as it affects opportunities, perceptions, income, and so much more. When race-related problems arise, colorblindness tends to individualize conflicts and shortcomings, rather than examining the larger picture with cultural differences, stereotypes, and values placed into context. Instead of resulting from an enlightened (albeit well-meaning) position, colorblindness comes from a lack of awareness of racial privilege conferred by Whiteness (Tarca, 2005). White people can guiltlessly subscribe to colorblindness because they are usually unaware of how race affects people of color and American society as a whole.

Colorblindness in a psychotherapeutic relationship

How might colorblindness cause harm? Here’s an example close to home for those of you who are psychologically-minded. In the not-so-distant past, in psychotherapy a client’s racial and ethnic remarks were viewed as a defensive shift away from important issues, and the therapist tended to interpret this as resistance (Comas-Diaz & Jacobsen, 1991). However, such an approach hinders the exploration of conflicts related to race, ethnicity, and culture. The therapist doesn’t see the whole picture, and the client is left frustrated.

A colorblind approach effectively does the same thing. Blind means not being able to see things. I don’t want to be blind. I want to see things clearly, even if they make me uncomfortable. As a therapist I need to be able to hear and “see” everything my client is communicating on many different levels. I can’t afford to be blind to anything. Would you want to see a surgeon who operated blindfolded? Of course not. Likewise, a therapist should not be blinded either, especially to something as critical as a person’s culture or racial identity. By encouraging the exploration of racial and cultural concepts, the therapist can provide a more authentic opportunity to understand and resolve the client’s problems (Comas-Diaz & Jacobsen, 1991).

Nonetheless, I have encountered many fellow therapists who ascribe to a colorblind philosophy. They ignore race or pretend its personal, social, and historical effects don’t exist. This approach ignores the incredibly salient experience of being stigmatized by society and represents an empathetic failure on the part of the therapist. Colorblindness does not foster equality or respect; it merely relieves the therapist of his or her obligation to address important racial differences and difficulties.

Multiculturalism is better than blindness

Research has shown that hearing colorblind messages predict negative outcomes among Whites, such as greater racial bias and negative affect; likewise colorblind messages cause stress in ethnic minorities, resulting in decreased cognitive performance (Holoien et al., 2011). Given how much is at stake, we can no longer afford to be blind. It’s time for change and growth. It’s time to see.

The alternative to colorblindness is multiculturalism, an ideology that acknowledges, highlights, and celebrates ethnoracial differences. It recognizes that each tradition has something valuable to offer. It is not afraid to see how others have suffered as a result of racial conflict or differences.

So, how do we become multicultural? The following suggestions would make a good start (McCabe, 2011):

  1. Recognizing and valuing differences,
  2. Teaching and learning about differences, and
  3. Fostering personal friendships and organizational alliances

Moving from colorblindness to multiculturalism is a process of change, and change is never easy, but we can’t afford to stay the same.


Comas-Diaz, L., and Jacobsen, F. M. (1991). Clinical Ethnocultural Transference and Countertransference in the Therapeutic Dyad. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 61(3), 392-402.

Fryberg, S. M. (2010). When the World Is Colorblind, American Indians Are Invisible: A Diversity Science Approach. Psychological Inquiry, 21(2), 115-119.

Holoien, D. S., and Shelton, J. N. (October 2011). You deplete me: The cognitive costs of colorblindness on ethnic minorities. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 10.1016/j.jesp.2011.09.010.

Tarca, K. (2005). Colorblind in Control: The Risks of Resisting Difference Amid Demographic Change. Educational Studies, 38(2), 99-120.

McCabe, J. (2011). Doing Multiculturalism: An Interactionist Analysis of the Practices of a Multicultural Sorority. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 40 (5), 521-549.

(via proletarianinstinct)