This year, people have been having a number of very frank discussions related to racism. Over the course of the summer I also noticed dialogue surrounding education and its intersection with race. Articles such as this one left me applauding the students, parents and educators who have taken a stand.

Today, I’m honoured to share a discussion I had earlier this summer with scholar and educator, Dr. Joseph Smith.

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Photo courtesy of Dr. Smith

Specializing in history and the social sciences, Dr. Smith first joined the Toronto District School board as a teacher in 2014. In the fall of 2018, he obtained his first contract…


I first saw the video at the head of this Op-Ed tonight on Instagram.

Its beauty, honesty, and power touched me.

And yet something strange happened.

A part of me winced when I heard the phrase “women of colour”. (Spelled with a “u” here, just before I get into my rhythm because yes, I’m Canadian.)

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Jennifer Felicio — Unsplash

We are Black. It is ok.

Some find Blackness upsetting. Racists certainly find it ugly. Yet neither of those ideas take away from the fact that scores of us wake up every day and go to bed every night being both Black and female.

If…


Earlier today via Instagram, I shared the following post by Tracy Moore.

In Tracy’s caption, she commented on people gaslighting her and other Black people, in response to speaking out about racism.

In this post, I want to talk about the rationale behind that gaslighting.

In a nutshell, most Black people know the truth: A number of white people are addicted to the status quo. They enjoy being comfortable. And they want to avoid admitting that racism actually is a problem, because doing so will disrupt their comfort levels.

In other words, “If racism really, truly is as bad…


Over the past few days, I’ve flip-flopped on whether or not to share this piece. For the time being, I’ve decided it’s here to stay.

I’ve been having a dialogue with a white male contact about racism and the current news cycle. In this piece, I’ve decided to name him John.

Recently, I approached John with a candid question related to Tom Cotton’s Op-Ed. I had read it, and was horrified. I didn’t think it should have been published in the first place.

In contrast, although he disagreed with Senator Cotton’s perspective, John thought it was important for him to…


Dealing with racism is a matter of morality. Apart from familiar arguments, the following came to me today.

Close up of a diagonal angle on the American flag.
Close up of a diagonal angle on the American flag.
Photo by Samuel Branch via Unsplash

Last year when Surviving R Kelly was on TV, I noticed the audience’s reaction to it via social media. Among the many tweets that I read, one in particular stood out. It was from a man who was a father of teenage daughters. As an observation, he said that his friends’ reactions to Surviving let him know who he could still be friends with.

Pleasure is an important part of the human experience. Yet there are men who prioritize satisfying their desire…


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Image via Valerie Sigamani on Unsplash

In my lifetime, I have seen clergy from all over North America bend themselves over backwards and twist themselves into pretzels, determined to despise certain people over so-called sins. Yet said sins involve behaviour that is none of their business.

Their insistence on doing this tells me two things. First, it reveals the truth about their commitment to loving each other. Jesus himself said that we are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yet time and again, people look for loopholes.

After all, it’s much more fun to judge others. White Evangelicals are, above all, white. Whether they acknowledge…


Years ago, I started trying write a lengthy blog post called “American Jesus”. Its main theme is racism and religion. I’ve been reluctantly adding to it as I’ve reflected on society.

Living in Canada, some of the white pastors that I’ve encountered have either spoken or acted in ways that left me feeling uncomfortable. I couldn’t help notice that they modelled themselves a certain way. Specifically, they seemed interested in mimicking what you might witness in American-style, Big Box Christian circles. Hence, my title.

This post goes out to every Black Person who has had to tolerate bigotry in a…


On any given day, when I wake up, I tend to start with a spiritual ritual. Then, I try to remember my schedule: “What am I doing first, again?” After that, typically, I might start to consider what I’m having for breakfast.

But around the middle of last month, instead of engaging with my normal set of early-morning ideas, within seconds of opening my eyes, my train of thought kept getting disrupted. A switch kept going off, and reality glared down at my hazy thoughts. “Remember, Claire. COVID-19 is here. You’re living in a pandemic.”

I would exhale. The subtext…


Is that it hurts.

And it isn’t just the big, newsworthy incidents, involving racial slurs and risked lives that are upsetting. Snide comments leave a mark. Overall, various microaggressions can sting and leave irreparable scars.

As for addressing racism directly, it can be challenging when people think their words and attitudes are meaningless. In certain folks’ minds, their lack of physical aggression renders their behaviour harmless. After all, they haven’t raised their fists or used any slurs. Meanwhile, what some would refer to as benign behaviour is actually incredibly toxic.

Last month via social media, I noticed two different posts…


A sea of lit tea lights in a darkened space. Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash.
A sea of lit tea lights in a darkened space. Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash.

This past Sunday in the wake of the news about Kobe Bryant, I had a lot of thoughts. Among them, I was wondering whether or not I should post something on Instagram, and if I did, what would I say?

In the midst of my questions, there flickered an idea. It was one that I’d had before: “If you don’t post, people might not think that you care…” Deep down, I know that this isn’t true. And in the past, I’ve been silent regarding certain events.

But honestly. Those words capture the kind of world we live in. For some…

Claire Francis

Word wrangler from the wonderfully wild North.

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