Trump is the new 'we didn't have slavery' for white Canadians

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support today for as little as $1 per month!

An anti-racism protest staged at the United States Embassy in Ottawa on Aug 22, 2017. Photo: Obert Madondo/Flickr

Raise your hand if you're a marginalized person who has been victimized by the age-old white Canadian proverb "At least we don't have Trump."

Calling this an age-old proverb isn't me sprinkling the truth with a little bit of Maggi/salt/MSG or your seasoning of choice. As far back as the late 1800s when Canada had a state-mandated policy of starving Indigenous folks into reservations and submission, white Canadians still held themselves on a moral platform above America.

Donald Trump's presidency has been traumatizing for people of colour, immigrants, women, LGBTQ+ folks and the poor. White Canadians however, have benefited from yet another American benchmark to measure themselves against. For as long as America has it's well documented, relatively publicized history of slavery, oppression and genocide, Canada thrives. Not only do these smears on American history polish the shine on Canadian morality, it serves as a tool to silence non-white people in Canada. America's disease allows white Canadians to be ignorant.

For every stop and frisk America has, Canada has a Black man carded. For every Black woman and girl missing and silenced in America, Canada has a missing or murdered Indigenous woman. For every Japanese family torn apart by the American government during World War Two, there is a Canadian family in the West with clear memories of a head tax  placed on them for being Chinese. For every Indigenous Water Warrior at Standing Rock, there is an Indigenous activist fighting a pipeline in Canada. For every American travel ban, there will be a Canadian immigration prison fighting human rights abuses claims. Canada's history with people of colour is as soiled as America's. But America has always been the louder, more obnoxious cousin that Canada can point out to distract from its own demons.

For as long as Canadians tell us that "at least were not as bad as America", our experiences, our struggles will be de-legitimized. For as long as people of colour are silenced, we will have Truth and Reconciliation reports that are disregarded, activists detained and ignored, and people living in fear. We will forever be expected to react to racism with the quintessential Canadian politeness, or "love and courage" as we're now calling it.

Quietly executing state sponsored systematic oppression while marketing diversity and progressiveness is as Canadian as Tim Hortons, over-apologizing, or saying "eh."

If you consider yourself an ally, depend not on the unethical practices of your friends in the North to clear your conscious. For one, it's irritating -- trust me, we know the world is ending. But the world has been a dangerous place for us way before Trump showed up, and it will continue to be dangerous for as long as we aren't allowed to be critical of Canada and Canada's Top Model Trudeau.

Sharon is a freelance writer, event planner and lover of all things African History. Sharon is a Feminist, Anti-Racist, Anti-Misogynistic, Anti-Homophobic, Anti-Transmisognistic and Aunty to Tyvus and Neavah. Sharon lives in Canada and is constantly trying to navigate the world with fierce pride for her people, but with no fear whatsoever, of critiquing those very same people. Sharon also realizes she has written all this in third person and feels a little strange about it.

Photo: Obert Madondo/Flickr

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism.


Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.