Region Of Durham Faces Backlash Over Black History Month 'Scavenger Hunt'

A former Whitby MP called it "a very poignant example of systemic racism."
Region Of Durham Faces Backlash Over Black History Month 'Scavenger Hunt'

The Region of Durham is under fire over a now-deleted scavenger hunt that was posted online as part of Black History Month. 

Toronto activist and author Desmond Cole took to Twitter to call out the scavenger hunt, which encourages participants to "rise to the challenge" and send the completed tasks to InclusiveDurham@durham.ca. 

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Some of the tasks include "have a conversation with a Black employee," "spend a few minutes to learn about Africa,” "dance to a Reggae song," and "read a poem by a Black Canadian author."

In a statement to Global News, author and former Whitby M.P. Celina Caesar-Chavannes called it a "juvenile, insulting attempt to trivialize not only Black History Month but Black constituency in Durham Region as well as employees."

"[It's] a very poignant example of systemic racism and what happens when you do not have enough Black employees around the table to vet these kinds of things before they go public."

The Region of Durham issued a statement on Twitter on Wednesday in a tweet to Cole saying, "We hear you."

"Through engaging with the community and Regional staff we acknowledge that mistakes will be made when addressing anti-Black racism. This challenge activity is one of them," it said.

"Open dialogue and honest conversations allow us to better understand one another and create an anti-racist environment. We recognize we have a long way to go."

Caesar-Chavannes criticized their statement and pointed out that it lacked an apology. Later, the Region of Durham tweeted this:

"It wasn’t clear: we are sorry. We recognize that missteps were made with this virtual challenge. For that we apologize, and we will continue to do better."

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