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Philosopher and educator Dr. Cornel West wrote a book about Canada... when he was 12.
George asked West, "Why Canada?," when the Smiley & West podcast host was in Toronto as part of the Xpressions Against Oppression Speaker Series.
"I was just curious," said West. "Cause I'm in California and I'm wondering what's going on just north of the border. And I fell in love with Canada.
"Reading about Nova Scotia, reading about, there's a brother by the name of Josiah Henson, a towering figure. Born in Maryland, comes across the line and underground railroad connected to Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman writes the autobiography that becomes the fugitive figure George Harris in Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe... you had towering figures. Just like you got Austin Clarke, another towering figure in modern literature coming out of the chocolate side of Canada.
George also talked to West about the treatment of First Nations communities in Canada, asking him if there were similarities to what African-Americans face.
"Oh, absolutely," said West. "Because any time you have precious human beings of whatever colour, sexual orientation or civilization who suffer, you need to focus on it. And our indigenous brothers and sisters too often are invisible in our public discourses. And we need to be hyper-sensitive to their suffering the way we're hyper-sensitive to anybody's suffering.
"It could be a baby in Tel Aviv, it could be a baby in West Bank, a baby in Ethiopia, Guatemala, or a baby in Toronto, or in First Nations and others."
Dr. Cornel West's interview with George airs Monday, March 10 on CBC.