Tapestry

The American dream and Canada's great outdoors: how these national ideals leave out people of colour

Reniqua Allen on the broken promises of the American dream for black millennials, and Phillip Dwight Morgan on cycling across Canada as a young black man.
Reniqua Allen, left, on the broken promises of the American dream, and Phillip Dwight Morgan, right, on race and the Canadian outdoors. (Nina Subin, Submitted by Phillip Dwight Morgan)
Listen to the full episode54:01

Author Reniqua Allen says once segregation ended as official U.S. policy, black Americans started believing they too could benefit from the promise of economic freedom and upward mobility white Americans took for granted. Decades later, she says, the failure of that promise is driving young black Americans to burnout. 

That stereotype that black people don't do the great outdoors … the poet and writer Phillip Dwight Morgan blows it out of the water. He's an experienced rock climber, canoeist and camper with an endless list of back-country adventure stories. His status as a "real Canadian" is unimpeachable. But he wonders, why did he need to prove himself in the first place? Why is cycling the Trans-Canada any more Canadian than playing soccer in Scarborough, like he did as a kid?