The History of Racism In B.C.

In August, it will have been 150 years since British Columbia joined Canada.

It is a history of 150 years of racism and discrimination against black, indigenous, and Asian Canadians which is recounted in Challenging Racist “British Columbia”: 150 Years and Counting.

“British Columbia” is the history of empire. It is a history which divided aboriginal lands through the Treaty of Oregon of 1846. It is a history which encouraged white colonization and settlement on those lands. It is a history which kept those lands “white” by banning immigration from Asia and by removing Japanese Canadians from the west coast.

Challenging links this history to racism today. It looks at the encroachment of the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) pipeline on Wet’suwet’e land. It examines systemic racism against black and indigenous Canadians including illegal police street “checks.” It also looks at anti-Asian racism in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Challenging also honours the activities and communities who have fought racism in B.C. for 150 years. From the Chinese and Japanese Canadians who defended their homes and businesses in the Vancouver Riot of 1907, to South Asian Canadians who took the government to court in 1913 over unfair immigration policy, to the Black Lives Matter movement, Challenging is the story of the fight against racism in B.C.

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