Dealing With Racism

Messages From Role Models


Casey Desjarlais
Vancouver, British Columbia

Casey speaks about experiencing racism and discrimination as a young child, even before knowing what they really were, and how she learned to be proud of her culture.  

Fireside Chat with Hanwakan Whitecloud

""No. I'm going to do this." You have to have a vision and just say, "No. I'm shooting for that and it doesn't matter what everybody really says." And even if you fail sometimes, you still go for it. Yeah. Because I think a lot of times I just said yes to things. I was just like, "Yep, I'm going to do that. Yep. I'm going to do that." And that really helped because there was a lot of people along the way, I think, that really helped me."

Discussion Guide

Our Team

I’m an expert in my field but I wouldn’t be where I am without those who've helped me along the way. That’s why I love connecting with like-minded people and using my passion and skills to make a difference.

Suggestions From Youth

"If and when you come across a racist person, do not take their words to heart, do not take it personally no matter how much you are shaking. Remind yourself that those people are ignorant and not educated about your people. Do not say a word back, as much as you want to, because it'll make the scene worse. Keep your chin up, and simply walk away." 
-Patricia Kablutsiak

It depends on what is happening. Learn how to identify if someone is just ignorant and asking an honest question, or racist. Learn how to be diplomatic in answering people. Know when to educate, and when to ignore and walk away.
-Shelton Nipisar

"Be proud. Just don't take those comments seriously. If anything, feel bad for those people because they're missing out on a huge beautiful amount of knowledge of their Indigenous counterparts." 
-Casey Desjarlais

Tools & Resources

What Are Racism And Racial Bullying?

Racism is where someone thinks you’re inferior because of your colour, ethnicity, nationality or race. This can result in them treating you differently or unfairly, this is called racial discrimination. 

Racial bullying is a type of racism where someone’s bullying focuses on your race, ethnicity or culture. Racism and racial bullying are wrong and you can get help to make it stop.

Racism and racist bullying can include:

  • being called racist names or being sent insulting messages or threats
  • having your belongings damaged or having to see racist graffiti
  • personal attacks, including violence or assault
  • being left out, treated differently or excluded
  • people making assumptions about you because of your colour, race or culture
  • being made to feel like you have to change how you look
  • racist jokes, including jokes about your colour, nationality race or culture.

Racism can affect anyone. It can make you feel like you’re not important or don’t fit in. You might feel upset, depressed or angry. You can be affected by it even when it’s not aimed at you, like if you hear someone discriminating against someone’s culture.

This resource is based in the UK, however the information and resources can help you deal with racism.

From: Racism and Racial Bullying

How To Deal With Racist People

Knowing how to react when someone utters racist remarks or behaves in a racist way can be difficult. The following link has some tips and techniques to use to deal with the situation. 

  • React calmly
  • Be kind
  • React towards the issue, not the person
  • Document
  • Don't follow your initial emotional response
  • Don't reveal personal details
  • Don't react at all
  • Don't try to educate
  • Expose the racist act
  • How to tell people they sound racist

How to deal with racist people

Did You Really Just Say That?

"Can I touch your hair?"

"That's so gay."

"You'd be pretty if you lost some weight."

Microaggressions—the brief statements or behaviors that, intentionally or not, communicate a negative message about a non-dominant group—are everyday occurrences for many people.

Here's advice on how to confront microaggressions, whether you're a target, bystander or perpetrator.
From: Did you really just say that?

For more information:
What exactly is a microaggression?

Unmasking 'racial micro aggressions'