Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo
COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

Instances of racism in the community

As mentioned, students of colour experience discrimination and racism within and outside of the classroom.

Regardless of context and situation, experiences of discrimination and racism have cyclical and dominating effects in the lives of students of colour meaning instances of racism in the classroom can affect day-to-day life outside of campus and vice versa. This section is to arm you with some tips on addressing and navigating discrimination and racism in the Hamilton community.

How to address it

Addressing encounters of racism and discrimination can be scary, especially when you are alone without witnesses.

A key suggestion is to disengage from the perpetrator. Often, those who inflict racial violence progressively become escalated, defamatory, labile, and at times violent. Quickly and safely removing yourself from the situation should be held paramount at all times, especially if alone. 

If you have witnesses nearby or you are with a friend: before disengaging and if wanting to pursue things legally, attempt to non-invasively obtain identifying information ie. the perpetrator's name, evidence of their face, or license plates, record witness statements, or video record. This can assist in navigating police involvement as the criminal system of reporting hate crimes often goes sour or dismissed without “concrete evidence”.

If it is not safe to collect this type of information, disengage, and when in a safe space attempt to recollect the date, time of occurrence, location, verbiage, descriptions of perpetrators, etc.; this can assist with case building. However, the unfortunate reality for a lot of folks is without “concrete evidence”, the police and the law often can not intervene. If this happens, finding a therapeutic service or support group to unpack what had happened should be of primary concern. 

An additional safeguard is consulting legal aid; a free over-the-phone “pro bono” service that can consult with you about what happened and arm you with advice, strategies, terminology, and if deemed necessary, legal representation to handle the hate crime you may be reporting. A link to legal aid can be found here: https://www.northpeeldufferinjustice.ca/contact-us/?gclid=CjwKCAjwpMOIBhBAEiwAy5M6YPFWgr1LvnDN9BO0jinq2Kl3P7khp0xv53L10MGAlbAIsxjLICkfLhoCrDQQAvD_BwE

Navigating police involvement

Navigating police involvement can be uncomfortable as police have often been a fixture of discrimination, racism, and profiling in communities of colour.

However, if armed with concrete evidence, clear timelines, and legal advice, the likelihood of hate crime reporting being successfully resolved can increase. Here are some tips if wanting to involve police: 

  • Gather as much detail as you can: photo evidence, video recordings, names, license plates, witnesses, date, time, location, whether or not employees or recordings from stores are accessible, etc. 
  • Obtain legal consult or representation throughout the reporting process 
  • Consult with the victim services unit; they can assist in directing you to the appropriate legal departments, advice on reporting and disclosing, and can assist with supplying a support person if you choose to report to the police in a formalized way such as through the victim impact statement. They do have a website dedicated to hate-motivated crimes to explore that navigates when, how to report and other useful information: https://hamiltonpolice.on.ca/victim-services/hate-motivated-crime
  • You can report in the moment by calling 911, after ards by calling HPS 905 546 4925 and specifically address you would like to report “a hate crime under motive of race and ethnicity”, or report online through https://www.coplogic.ca/dors/en/filing/showprefilingquestion?dynparam=1628523128731
  • Keep your investigator/officer accountable; when someone does reach out to obtain further details of your case, ask for their department, badge number, name, and direct extension for follow-up. Keep in mind this process could take months 
  • Inform your support circle and information share with the HCCI contacts (more information in HCCI Hate crime reporting system) 

HCCI Hate crime reporting system

The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion has been an instrumental resource for people of colour in Hamilton;

they have an independent, user-friendly, community-based online hate reporting platform that is geared toward tackling hate on an individual and societal level through research-based initiatives. While they are not able to directly make legal reports on your behalf, they do provide a reporting platform that allows the Hamilton community to give an informed and enhanced picture of the climate of hate in Hamilton: https://hcci.ca/hate/ 

The HCCI is also a great tool and resource for Black Youth Mentorship, equity, diversity, and inclusion training, political education, and a site for strategizing, mobilizing, and addressing hate crimes and racism at the community level. We encourage you to explore their website: https://hcci.ca/hate/.

Resources for therapizing and counselling (free or scaling)

Some resources useful on campus that can assist in individual or collective therapy and counselling are:

Some website resources for low cost or scaling-cost community therapy that is racially and ethnically reflective, focusing on instances of racism and discrimination: