On Thursday, the Toronto Star published an article by Natasha Grzincic called “5 other labels for people of colour er… non-whites uh… racialized people.” Later that day, it took the article down.
The article, still available at partner sites like this one, notes that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has settled on the term “racialized” to describe people instead of using what it calls “more outdated and inaccurate terms” like “racial minority” or “non-white.”
The Star doesn’t have a style on using the term “racialized,” Public Editor Kathy English says in an email. Its style guide currently says to use the term “visible minority” rather than “nonwhite.” (The Star urges journalists to not refer to “colour or ethnicity unless it is relevant to the story.”)
Grzincic’s article looks at how “visible minority” and other terms are deployed. For example:
Like “visible minority,” there’s the problem with “minority,” which could have a subordinate meaning. Same goes for “marginalized groups.”
Non-preferred, because it defines people by what they are not. Used by StatCan to define visible minorities.
English says her office began to receive complaints that the article “made light of a sensitive, serious subject” not long after it was published. English said she discussed the article with Star Managing Editor Jane Davenport, who she said had not seen the piece before it went up.
Davenport thought the story should come down, so the Star doinked it and appended a note “In line with the Star’s transparency goals,” English said.
“Davenport’s view of the piece – which I agree with — is that a discussion of how visible minorities should be ‘labeled’ is inappropriate material for a listicle,” she writes. She continues:
The piece was flippant and commented on instead of reporting on the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s arguments. The writer of the piece is not a columnist with latitude to make such comment.
The Star is trying to find other outlets that published the piece and inform them it has removed it, English said. Further, “The newsroom is also looking further into the circumstances of the article being published.”