Power & Privilege in Canada

There’s been a lot of public discourse on racism, power & privilege, white supremacy and how it shows up in every day life in Canada for specific populations in Canada. That this is not seen or experienced by many people in society creates great distress and tension when major events that affect only certain populations that are marginalized by oppression occur. There are exclamations about being shocked when such events occur, and statements that these are only extreme events that don’t reflect the “true” nature of Canada. Sadly though, this is the true nature of Canada. We as a society have just invested heavily in denying this truth.

This is my attempt to conceptualize visually all the thoughts that have been tumbling in my mind over the last few months as I react to ongoing national and global events, while trying to process and learn more about white supremacy, settler colonialism, orientalism, racism, colonialism throughout the world, ableism, sexism and the displacement of people across the world. This work is necessary for all Canadians in our committment as a nation towards Truth and Reconciliation for First Nations, Inuit and the Metis Nation. It is also critical that we work past our false security that Canada is a free and open society, because for many Canadians all over the country, many people are in fact not free to live their authentic lives openly and unapologetically because it threatens long-held thoughts and “norms” based on a Euro-ethnocentric patriarchal and colonial construct.

I hope you find this tool (available for download at the end of this post) helpful in deepening your understanding, critical thinking and discussions about how we can create more inclusive, equitable and just spaces in society for each and everyone of us, regardless of our different intersecting privileges in a truly respectful, open and safe (for all) manner in Canada.

I sincerely thank my friends and colleagues who reviewed this tool for me and gave critical thought and feedback about the evolving language while challenging and pushing my thinking about these concepts. I am extremely grateful to Aimee Bouka MD, Alexandra Dobie MSW, Doug Myhre MD, Doreen Rabi MD, Jillian Ratti MD, Pamela Roach PhD, and Farha Shariff PhD for your invaluable contributions from your different perspectives and sharing of your expertise to what this graphic tool became with your edits and suggestions.

Please feel free to download this tool and share it for use in your discussions with people in your own circles. If you have any constructive feedback or comments, please share them either through the Contact form on this site, or below. Please note that inflammatory comments will not be addressed and will be removed.

Thank you.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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