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Expert Advisory - Black History Month

Friday, February 9, 2018

Experts from the University of Waterloo are available to share their expertise regarding the successes and hurdles African Americans face in Canadian society today, in recognition of Black History Month this February.

Naila Keleta-Mae - Department of Drama and Speech Communication

Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae is Black and free. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Drama and Speech Communication at the University of Waterloo with research and teaching expertise in race, gender and popular culture. Keleta-Mae is currently working on a book on female blackness in Canada (Wilfred Laurier University Press); she has appeared as a media commentator for the BBC, CBC, CTV, The Canadian Press, The National Post, and The Business News Network; and she has written for The Globe and Mail, Vice Network and The Fader.

"What is too often overlooked about being Black in Canada is the tremendous breadth and depth of valuable knowledge that Black people acquire about life in Canada because we live in a country at a time in its history where institutional and social obstacles are placed in our paths specifically because we are Black."

- Naila Keleta-Mae

Vershawn Young – Department of English Language and Literature

Vershawn Young is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. His expertise lies in the area of comparative analysis of black-white race relations in Canada and comparing that analysis to race relations in America. He focuses on socio-cultural theories of analysis and critical discourse analysis of race. In other words, he investigates how the performance of cultural beliefs and discourse on race (in the news, in media, in public policy) affects racial groups differently in education generally, in society and in the judicial system.

“My perspective on this issue is that in Canada there is a disparity between the way the country expresses its belief in multiculturalism and racial progress and the everyday lived experiences of people of colour, particularly blacks. The country espouses a belief that it is more progressive, more tolerant, while people of colour in various sectors express a different, more grim reaction.”

- Vershawn Young


About the University of Waterloo
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Media Contact:

Matthew Grant
University of Waterloo

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