A new interactive exhibit at the Discovery Centre in Halifax is examining the impacts of racism in Canada from people who have experienced it firsthand.
The exhibit, “Behind Racism: Challenging the Way We Think,” aims to raise awareness about implicit biases and how they lead to racism.
Lilian Ma, the executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, says the exhibit will tour the country in an attempt to share its message with as many people as possible.
“I started off as a scientist in my career… and then I got drawn into this implicit bias racism that happened to me and from then on I started thinking, ‘Why doesn’t science study racism?'” she says.
“Science studies all kinds of phenomenon, so why can’t we study about racism? And with this thought, I began to realize that there’s a lot of things that we can do to make sure that people understand the ‘how.’ We’re not talking about blames or agency… we’re talking about the science lens, which is the ‘how.'”
Visitors will learn about individual accounts of racism and the impact of racism in Canada. The exhibit also aims to help visitors recognize biases, challenge prejudices and combat racism.
Ma says the exhibit also explores how one’s unconscious bias works.
“These are the things that your brain learned when you were a kid… So, until it becomes a belief, then it is very, very hard to eliminate,” she says.
Ma hopes visitors will leave the Discovery Centre with a better understanding of how their brain works and functions on a daily basis.
“We have to recognize that we are sometimes using ‘fast thinking’ to make important decisions when really, we should use our slow brain thinking… to really understand how things should be done, and if we use that all the time, we will do the right thing,” she says.
“So, we’re ruled by algorithm instead of us being the master of our own mind.”
“Behind Racism: Challenging the Way We Think” is travelling to venues across Canada, including Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg and Halifax, until September 2023.
The show debuted at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto in February.
The free exhibition and its tour are presented by the CRRF with the support of the Government of Canada and in partnership with Mosaic Institute, the Ontario Science Centre and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
The exhibit in Halifax is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Discussion about this post