Video: Debate on being Black in Canadian culture


A great video on Being Black in Canadian Culture. The invited guests talk about the comparison between the African-American and the Black Canadian experience, why some young people don't like Black History Month and about the pros and cons of Tyler Perry.

The guest are:
  • Ato Quayson, professor of English and director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto 
  • Esi edugyan, author of "Half-Blood Blues" 
  • Donna Baily Nurse, literary journalist 
  • Kwame McKenzie, psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto 
  • Dwayne Morgan, Poet 
It could have been a discussion about the Afro-European experience.

Black History

The history of Canada also includes African-American history. During the 18th and 19th centuries slaves from Colonial America fled to Nova Scotia, Canada to get their freedom. See some history at Black History Canada

Also check the post of Black Media Mine about the The Colored Hockey League, Nova Scotia


  1. Thank you for posting that television program about Black Canadians. I found it quite interesting, though I thought that FAR too much time was spent on discussing Tyler Perry's "Madea". I suppose that the point was that what is largely seen as a negative stereotype of Black women is found in and accepted in Canada as well as the USA. However, that point could have been made without taking up so many moments of limited programming time.
    I would have preferred to hear discussed what the panelist thought were Black stereoptypes which were prominent in or unique to Canada.

    Scattered in that discussion some panelists mentioned the stereotype of the "special Black" or "the exceptional Black person" who is different from all the other undifferentiated Black people or the criminalized Black people from which this special Black person comes. I also believe that I heard a panelist mention that the mixed race Black person is a type of Black person that is central to Black Canadian experience/s.

    I also heard a little bit about about African Americans being different from Black Canadians because African Americans are a larger percent of the USA population and we therefore are able to experience being part of a community of Black folks, and (it seemed the panelist was asserted that) African Americans are more politicized. I wish there had been more discussion of those points.

    It also seems to me that "the Black Canadian experience" could have been discussed as various possible Black Canadian experiences, depending to a large degree on whether that Black Canadian grew up in or lived in Alberta and other provinces with very small Black populations or in some place like Toronto with relatively larger Black populations. Of course, there are some African Americans who also live in areas within the USA where there are also very few other African Americans and very few other People of Color, but that's an aside to my larger points.

    Yet, in spite of those criticisms, I applaud the television show for focusing on this subject, and I again applaud this blog for alerting its visitors to that program.

    1. Thanks for the comment Azizi, and you're right about the Tyler Perry discussion.

  2. After watching the video, I have no clue what the black Canadian experience is all about. Once again African Americans are in the forefront of discussion.

    It was truly an eye opener to hear why young students did not like black history month, because it did not focus on contemporary black people and that it focused on slavery and the African American experience - very interesting.

    In my search for knowledge, I visited the North American Black Historical Museum & Cultural Center is in Amherstburg, Ontario to learn more about black Canadian's history. It was interesting, but the exhibit was very small.

    1. You're right Laura, I was also surprised when I heard that young black people didn't like BHM, but I can imagine they want to know more about their own black history.

    2. Hi, I stumbled upon your blog doing some research on Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

      If I may interject my personal opinion, the reason I believe young African people are resistant to Black History Month is it's focus on the time of slavery to the 1960's as the only representation of their history.

      African history goes much, much further back than this shameful era and they're hungry for information about it. I don't blame them, so am I.

    3. Sonya, I found this really good article by
      Dion Rabouin that speaks about Black History Month in the way you do. I hope it's okay to post the link.

  3. First of all, I avidly follow 21 blogs and websites every single day, Afro-Europe International Blog being one of them. I can truly say that my absolute FAVORITES are Bad Dominicana, a tumblr blog, and this gem, Afro-Europe!!!

    I am a native of metropolitan Detroit, just across the Detroit River from Windsor, Ontario, so this thread is very personal for me. In my late late teens/early twenties, when I went to my 1st clubs I would head over to a specific club in the city of Windsor.There I met my first Afro-Canadians. What impressed me most about them was 1.) their friendliness and lack of "attitude", and 2.) almost always they were in the club with fellow White Canadians. (On the Detroit side of the River white and black Americans did not party in the same night circles, generally.)

    In that part of Ontario, unlike Toronto, the overwhelming majority of Afro-Canadians are the descendants of African-Americans who escaped slavery and moved to southern Canada. So I really feel a close bond with them. Before I moved out of Michigan Afro-Canadians held an Emancipation Festival every August to commemorate their ancestors' escape from slavery. Some years the festival took place outside the city of Windsor and some years in the city of Leamington. I found through attending these festivals that Afro-Canadians have a unique story and culture to share; similar to their brothers and sisters in the U.S. and at the same time uniquely theirs.The informative video posted here is an example of this.

    Again, THANKS, Afro-Europe, for being the #1 blog out there informing, educating and uniting the African-Diaspora like no other!

    OH, and P.S.
    I read your invitation for me to contribute something for Black History Month. Thanks for the invite. Hopefully I will make time in my day before this too-short month of February is over. :-)

  4. As a Black Canadian, African American culture and Black history month have always been part of my heritage.

    Our contribution in building Canada was never mentioned, neither thought at school. This is why I had to turn to African American culture and Black history month to find a sense of pride and self love.

    Now that I live in Europe (for almost 3 years) I see all the positive impact that the Black pride that I have developed has on me. For example, when I am confronted with discrimination I know that the problem is not me but their ignorance.

    Because of African American culture and Black history month, I've learned to love being Black!

    Our Diversity at Work.

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