Is the term “Canadian” the new code word for racist references to black people?

I read an interesting article in this week’s newsletter of the Clarington Durham Regional Humanists. Apparently the term “Canadian” is being used by some in the Texas court system as a safe code word for “Black people”. Apparently this usage of “Canadian” is being used a bit more broadly than just be Texan court workers, as this usage of the word is the 4th listed definition of “Canadian” on Urban Dictionary, and has received 316 thumbs up ratings versus 192 thumbs downs.

Here is the definition offered at Urban Dictionary:

Expression for black people used by whites as “code” when they want to refer to blacks in a semi-derogatory manner without being detected in a group of people

“Jeezus, look at all the Canadians out tonight.”

Tags for this definition include “spooks”, “porch monkeys”, “jigs”, and “Africans”.

Here is the post from the CDRH Humanist Hub (as linked in the newsletter):

Is term ‘Canadian’ used as racist word?
Email lands Texas district attorney in hot water term ‘Canadian’ used as racist word?

Email lands Texas district attorney in hot water
Jan 26, 2008 04:30 AM
Brett Popplewell
Staff Reporter

Is “Canadian” the new black? Perhaps – that is if you’re a racist speaking in code.

Recent revelations that the term “Canadian” is being used to replace racist names for black people have got a Texas assistant district attorney into trouble and have left others wondering what exactly it means to be labelled a Canadian in the American south.

Long derogated as weak-kneed liberals with lax laws and funny monopoly money, Canadians have carried a negative connotation in certain regions of America – but not as a replacement for the N-word.

Earlier this week a columnist with the Houston Chronicle uncovered an email from Harris County assistant district attorney Mike Trent who, in a congratulatory note to a junior prosecutor, used the word “Canadians” to describe blacks on a jury.

Trent wrote of the prosecutor in a 2003 email: “He overcame a subversively good defence by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing.”

Trent’s email remained unchallenged by colleagues who received the email, despite there being no actual Canadians on the jury.

But when Trent’s office came under scrutiny this month over an unrelated incident, the email was unearthed, leaving Trent open to accusations of bigotry.

Those accusations are grounded in allegations that the use of “Canadians” was in keeping with the definition listed on an online racial slurs database that defines “Canadian” as a masked replacement for the N-word.

In his own defence, Trent said he honestly thought there had been Canadians on the jury and did not understand the negative connotation of the word.

Others, including the columnist with the Houston Chronicle initially thought the reference to Canadians may have been a misspelling of Californians, who are themselves seen to espouse many of the same liberal values as Canadians.

Despite the controversy, Henry Wells, a Texan and media relations officer with the Canadian Consulate General in Dallas, says he has never heard the term used in a racial manner before.

23 Responses to “Is the term “Canadian” the new code word for racist references to black people?”
  1. Karen says:

    So some of these racist Texans hate/fear both African-Americans and Canadians.

    Huh??? Can somebody, anybody, explain the link?

  2. ronbrown says:

    I don’t think they hate or fear Canadians at all. Though it seems that some Texans think of less of Canada than of the US, and by a significant degree. It’s just a code word. I bet someone said it one day and it was funny and effective, and it spread. But as for Blacks, yeah, that’s probably the case among many.

  3. M says:

    every time I read this story, I think to myself that it’s got to be a big freaking hoax, right? in what possible world could this be true?

  4. audaciousman says:

    I’m in Oklahoma and the first time I heard someone use the word Canadian for black people was nearly two years ago working as a waiter at a restaurant. The manager had to bring it up at a meeting: no racist nonsense or slang.

    So one day a couple of guys from Toronto were at one of my tables and I went to the kitchen and said, “Huh, I got a couple of Canadians at my table.” Everyone freaked out, telling me, “hey, you can’t say that.” It was very funny.

    But so, yeah, it’s true.

  5. ronbrown says:

    Audaciousman: That’s hilarious!

    M: Only I America….Only in America. What a country!

  6. autumnrhythm says:

    Canadians may have been a misspelling of Californians? what, because there’s a C in both of them? That is so bad.
    From a purely *canadian* point of view, I think this is funny, but the fact that they’re using our country’s name to hide their racism isn’t.
    btw, I’m horrible, but has anyone seen the newest Jay and Silent Bob movie…the word “porch monkey” plays a role, so when I saw that word here I laughed for a good five minutes. I’m an awful person.

  7. ronbrown says:

    Autumn: Yeah, you disgust me.

    I didn’t know there was a new Jay and Silent Bob movie. But knowing about it, I now want to see it. Is it in theatres now or on DVD? Oh, and are there a lot of Canadians in it?

  8. autumnrhythm says:

    …oh, I meant to say, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, here’s the link,
    That’s a last time before now that I heard this term mentioned, so I immediately thought of it.
    also something to think about from the same film, transformers: spawn of satan?

  9. Marcus says:

    Wow, as a Canadian ( a person who lives in and holds citizenship in Canada ) I find this… strange and troubling.

    I suppose I will start using the term ‘Texan’ when ever I need slang for ignorant racist white people.

    As in: Boy, look at all the Texans in this honky-tonk bar.

    • Clownbaby says:

      Marcus: Except there’s no political stigma against profiling whites, otherwise they wouldn’t feel pressured to refer to blacks as “Canadians”.

    • Olivia says:

      Marcus me too I am canadian born and raise and I am black too and i totally agree with you. using the word Canadian to hide there racist thoughts is so low. I don’t care how they thing that the US is better. We think the same there a bunch of shit that hey do have but Id never switch for example our health system for theres fuck no so me too I will use the word texan to refer to racist white people that have a problem with black and other immigrants of darker color or from other places. Its because of people like this that peace will never happen they think because their skin is lighter they are better, smarter or wtv well guess what they are not!!!

  10. Bill M says:

    It’s because blacks are just as cheap as Canadians, as anyone who ever had the misfortune of serving one in the food industry would tell you. There is always underlying truth in stereotypes.

    • stephan h says:

      Bill W wtf??? why the need to be racist??? by the way im a canadian and i bet a lot of people hate you because of that comment

    • Olivia says:

      OMG seriously people like you are pathetic. Its just sad i bet you and your family are all racist. Your just as cheap as your stupid comment. You nobody and never will be so keep on staying negative the day youll die and be judge by God he will know what to do with your useless, worthless soul. LMAO how about you go hide somewhere and prey that no black people or canadian ever touch speak to you or anything lmao. Stephan is right bunch of people might hate you for that I bet you you hate yourself too for other reason that’s why you lash out like this. Did your parents wish you were black or canadian or a strong and beautiful as a black person ahhahaha did one of your parent left for a black person or a canadian hahahahahaah. SERIOUSLY DO US A FAVOR WITH YOUR RACIST COMPATRIOTS AND GO KILL YOURSELF

  11. canadian says:

    I am a Canadian. I am not black or a racist. This is the Dumbest “new” racist term I have heard lately.

    • DrIvoButtfucknik says:

      Racists typically aren’t the brightest of the bunch; made apparent when they attempt to hide their racism.

      • Olivia says:

        i agree with everything you said!!! seriously the people that are racist are the ones that are usually mentally block they say its by fear fear of what challenge, difference ohh plz stop acting like stuck up bitches and plz racist people remove that huge cock that is stuck far far far up your asses. Canada is a peaceful country find another racist term you idiots.

    • Anonymous says:

      this term is not new its been around since the 90’s when I worked as a server in a restaurant

  12. malcolm says:

    WOW im a canadian citizen and proud of it but holy why in the first place do you need to be racist also why use the name of a country? great way to keep peace relations!

  13. Anonymous says:

    First, if you are an actual Canadien you have no understanding of the cultural context of the persecution that political correctness has foisted upon US. society. I guess we could start using the term “French”. Second, where is all of this self righteous outrage over the use of terms like whiteboy, cracker, or hoogie that are derogatory terms used in reference to people of the caucasian persusian.

  14. a says:

    This website is great 5105dd8b8bd94e1b75ed610be39d598a

  15. Anonymous says:

    Reason munber 2000 why the US is a crumbling joke

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