Stories from Montrealers about how they live, see and understand race
As part of our series Real Talk on Race, CBC Montreal asked 10 people to share their personal stories about race. These stories are in their own words.
We will be publishing their stories over the course of the series and will add them to this page.
By Day’s Lee
I remember my first identity crisis like it was yesterday. I was about eleven years old and watching a Habs game. The Canadians scored. I cheered. My parents asked who was winning. “We are!” I said. My parents laughed. “That’s not us. We’re Chinese.”
My parents chose me out of a catalogue of First Nations children. It was the trend in 1970 to offer First Nations children to non-Aboriginal homes. It was a government imposed initiative which has become known as “the 60’s scoop”— the solution to the enduring “Indian problem.
By Dania Suleman
Dania Suleman says she never decided to stop wearing the hijab, but felt it came with a heavy burden — “that somehow, since you wear the veil, you are an ambassador for this vast religion called Islam.”
By Svens Telemaque
Arrested six times in his youth for drugs and weapons, Svens Telemaque once fit an all-too-common stereotype. But now he’s working to arm others with the knowledge that you don’t have to be confined by your past and other people’s perceptions.
By Coltrane McDowell
As a child in Sub-Saharan Africa, Coltrane McDowell was very aware of his own “whiteness.” In Montreal, where his skin colour made him less conspicuous, he became even more aware of the role his minority status played in his early life.
Real Talk on Race is CBC Montreal’s special series exploring personal conversations and experiences around race in the city.