Quebec has a racism issue, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just plain wrong.
Even the provincial government knows racism is a major problem in Quebec. That’s why the Couillard government is overseeing a province-wide investigation into systematic racism that will begin this month.
Sometimes referred to as “institutional racism,” this brand of discrimination refers to when people are barred from economic and political opportunities based solely on their racial, cultural, or religious background.
In other words, it’s when the system favours white people above everybody else.
And yes, this is a problem in Quebec.
A study from the Quebec Human Rights Commission basically proved this. The 2012 study shows how people applying to a job with a Quebecois-sounding last name had a 60% better chance of getting an interview than applicants with a foreign-sounding last name, reports CBC.
The inquiry into Quebec’s systematic racism problem was created in response to a petition against racism that garnered many signatures.
Individuals who have experienced racism in Quebec will be able to speak about their experiences during the inquiry, which will hopefully shed some much-needed light on the darker corners of Quebecois culture.
Somewhat strangely, however, the inquiry will be an entirely private affair. Only people who want to speak about their experiences can attend; the media and the public at-large will be denied entry.
Keeping the inquiry private is being done so that those testifying can feel comfortable with sharing their stories, says the provincial government.
Still, some critics believe a private-approach isn’t the way to go. Having the door closed means communities can’t come together to face, address, and find resolutions to racial problems.
Yes, the individuals speaking will probably feel more at ease not having to speak in front of a crowd. But that means the average Quebecer can’t hear, first-hand, about what it’s like to experience racism.
Fortunately, a second phase of the inquiry will begin in November, which will be open to the public. Results from the inquiry will be made available by October 2018.