Real Talk on Race | Point of view

As part of our series Real Talk on Race, CBC Montreal asked 10 people to share their personal stories about race. These stories are in their own words.

Stories from Montrealers about how they live, see and understand race

Why conversations on race matter

7 years ago
Duration 0:57
Our POV contributors tell us why they think it's important to have real conversations about race.

As part of our series Real Talk on Race, CBC Montreal asked 10 people to share their personal stories about race. These stories are in their own words.

We will be publishing their stories over the course of the series and will add them to this page.

Share your reactions or your own point of view with us on FacebookTwitter or email

Feeling like a stranger in your own backyard

By Gage Diabo

Gage Diabo got his first real taste of life outside the reserve when he began attending CEGEP in Montreal. But he soon began to feel like a stranger in his own backyard when he overheard the hurtful and ignorant things people would say about his community.

The need for mentorship as a woman of colour

By Rachel Zellars

As a single mother, PhD student, and woman of colour, Rachel Zellars says her ability to to succeed and be happy is closely tied to the mentorship she has received — mentorship that she believes women of colour owe to one another.

Iraqi journalist finds peace and acceptance in Montreal

By Hussein Al Hilli

​Hussein Al Hilli and his family landed in Montreal 24 years ago. Since then, Hussein says he's found tolerance and understanding.

How one Inuk man's parka connects him to his community

By Stephen Puskas

Back home in the North, Stephen Puskas didn't think much about his parka. But when he walked around Montreal, it gave him a sense of a belonging in a community that's spread out across the city.

Chinese or Canadian? One Montrealer's identity crisis

By Day's Lee

I remember my first identity crisis like it was yesterday. I was about eleven years old and watching a Habs game. The Canadians scored. I cheered. My parents asked who was winning. "We are!" I said. My parents laughed. "That's not us. We're Chinese."

'Change her name. Don't tell her she's native'

By Nakuset

My parents chose me out of a catalogue of First Nations children. It was the trend in 1970 to offer First Nations children to non-Aboriginal homes. It was a government imposed initiative which has become known as "the 60's scoop"— the solution to the enduring "Indian problem.

The weight of the veil 

By Dania Suleman

Dania Suleman says she never decided to stop wearing the hijab, but felt it came with a heavy burden — "that somehow, since you wear the veil, you are an ambassador for this vast religion called Islam."

Broken crayons still colour

By Svens Telemaque

Arrested six times in his youth for drugs and weapons, Svens Telemaque once fit an all-too-common stereotype. But now he's working to arm others with the knowledge that you don't have to be confined by your past and other people's perceptions. 

Growing up as the white minority

By Coltrane McDowell 

As a child in Sub-Saharan Africa, Coltrane McDowell was very aware of his own "whiteness." In Montreal, where his skin colour made him less conspicuous, he became even more aware of the role his minority status played in his early life.

Real Talk on Race is CBC Montreal's special series exploring personal conversations and experiences around race in the city.