February 2003
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The 21st of March has been recognized by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

In 1989 Canada, through the Department of Canadian Heritage, began its March 21st Campaign ~ Racism. Stop It! This Campaign was initated to heighten awareness of the harmful effects of racism.

Here are some activities/suggestions you can use to write a feature, profile or opinion article on this topic:

1. Look at popular television shows and/or shows that depict different cultures in their main characters. Shows such as Dawson's Creek, Friends, Degrassi High, Boston Public, George Lopez or My Wife and Kids. Ask yourself these questions. Then use these questions to write an article on racism in popular culture.

What is the racial/ethnic mix on the show?

From which racial groups do the main characters come?

If there are a variety of groups represented on the show, are they also represented in a variety of roles?

Are stereotypes used to portray characters from different ethnic backgrounds?

Is there any inter-racial dating?

Do you think these shows reflect reality?

If yes, why is reality like this?

If no, how are your visions of society affected by watching these shows?

2. Here is a fun and learning classroom or group activity.

Have five students assume the identity of a different culture: aboriginal, Afro-Canadian, Asian, Muslim, etc.

Then have the first five students research about their particular culture via the interent, from cultural associations in their area or talk with students of different cultures in their school.

The other five students develop questions to ask the students focussed on 'stereotypes' they know on how these cultures are perceived.

Write a story about what you have learnt.

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