Saturday, August 8, 2009

Would a Canadian Obama be possible?

I have a new post up at Global Comment

When it was announced that Barack Obama had won the American election, many Blacks across the diaspora cried with jubilation. Seeing a Black man become leader of what is termed the free world gave hope to many that have lived with desperation, racism, violence and hate. Whether or not we agree with his politics, which are decidedly centrist, his body represents hope to many.

In Canada, President Obama actually has a higher approval rating than in the U.S. His rating is also higher than our sitting Prime Minster. When he visited last winter and was greeted by our Governor General, it was as though a conquering hero had arrived on Canadian soil. Even Caesar returning to Rome in triumph was not so besotted with love and adoration.

Despite the love shown for the shiny new American president, if Obama were to run for election in Canada, he would never be elected. No political party has been led by a person of color and we are nowhere near seeing people of color legitimately represented on Parliament Hill. White liberals run special committees to address race issues, but without the input of those that are actually affected by racism, what progress can possibly be made?

The highest ranked Black person in government is the Governor General and based on the fact that she was openly referred to as La Reine-Nègre (Negro Queen), it would seem that Canadians are more than prepared to allow race to determine worth. Though the term La Reine-Nègre is clearly offensive, we were assured that it had nothing to do with race and was simply a commentary on the way she preformed her duties.

Many Canadians look southward with a sense of superiority and it has not escaped the notice of people of color that we do not have a national group, like the NAACP or the Congressional Black Congress, to represent our needs in government. In academia, if one wants to take courses in African Canadian history, one must attend a university in an Eastern province. It is, in fact, impossible to get a degree in African Canadian studies outside of eastern Canada, and this would lead one to believe that African Canadians have not contributed to the growth of Canada as a nation.

Politicians have made many racial comments without apology. Even in the States, they at least attempt to cover their hatred by claiming that they never meant to offend. What better evidence is there of White privilege than the ability to display one’s inner racist to the world without receiving censure or social discipline?

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