New Documentary Looks at Discrimination in the Legal Profession
Nov 3, 2020
Being a daughter of immigrants, the idea of Canada being a meritocracy was instilled in me from a very young age — if I just work hard enough, I will succeed. When I was told that I would never become a successful lawyer because no one would take me seriously due to my gender and ethnicity, I simply laughed it off. I later realized that there was more truth to that statement than I initially thought. Racialized minorities face many barriers in the workplace and in life generally, and these barriers can show up in the most insidious of ways. From “compliments” for speaking “proper” English, to being mistaken as the accused in the courtroom, the discrimination experienced by racialized minorities is something that needs to be addressed openly, and not as stories of shame and embarrassment shared only behind closed doors.
This is why the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) (FACL BC) is creating a mini-documentary on the discrimination, stereotyping, and bias experienced by members of the Pan-Asian legal community, from law students to senior members of the bar. In more detail, FACL BC is a diverse coalition of Asian Canadian legal professionals who are actively working to overcome barriers through mentorship, community involvement, and advocacy. What FACL promotes is equity and opportunity for Asian Canadians, and this is done by creating spaces to support and be in solidarity with one another in a plethora of endeavours, including this upcoming documentary that is also a companion to But I Was Wearing a Suit documentary (“BIWWAS”), which was spearheaded by a group of leaders in the Indigenous legal community.
Beyond exposing how discrimination is more prevalent than one would think, I hope that the documentary brings light to the fact that to be anti-racist, it requires an active effort to constantly examine our thought processes and interactions with others, as well as many other actions. In this regard, it is clear that a lot more work must be done in the profession. I also hope that the documentary is able to connect all racialized members of the legal community together. Although these are unfortunate experiences, these are shared experiences that should further entrench the understanding that we should not be ashamed of our names, our appearances, our languages, our cultures, and our identities.
How you can support us
With all of that being said, to make this mini-documentary a reality, contributions are needed. If you have any stories, experiences, or any incidents you have witnessed, I invite you to be a part of the project. Submissions can be brief or lengthy, and personal or anonymous. If you would like more information, please visit faclbc.ca/documentary or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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