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With the entrenched idea that white is the norm comes a very strong privilege ...

Christopher Conrad/Getty Images

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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On the basis of race

Re Racism, On A Spectrum (April 4): A letter writer asks, “How does one respond to accusations of privilege on the basis of race alone?“ Here’s how: Understand that Canada and North America has an inherent whiteness. And that with the entrenched idea that white is the norm comes a very strong privilege. Invisible to those who have it, painfully obvious for those who don’t.

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I, like many other Canadians of colour, have had to defend my Canadian status in the face of persistent questions: “Where are you from? No, where are you really from? No, where were you born? No, where is your family from?”

I was born here, my parents, too. But I get asked where my family immigrated from almost as soon as I say my name.

White people don’t get that question, unless they have an accent. That is privilege.

Victoria G. Chiu, Toronto

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Many black persons living in Israel want to emigrate here. A reasonable individual might wonder why, given that almost every day we read that the police are racist, schools are racist, medical services are racist, the civil service is racist – I suspect there isn’t a sector of society that hasn’t been described as racist at one time or another, not to mention those that are “deeply racist.”

I believe, or would like to believe, we’re not as racist as many would have us believe, but suspect that for some groups to be able to label others as racist means the argument is over, no further effort required. Since racialized people still want to come here (are they no longer visible minorities?) is the conclusion that although we may be racist, other societies are even more so?

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Full disclosure: This is written from my height, or depth, of male white privilege.

Ian Guthrie, Ottawa

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Re A Welcoming Country Needs A Tight Border (April 2): I found much of your editorial offensive. You say that an increase in illegal immigration from the U.S. could cause a backlash to non-white immigration to Canada. Nonsense: For many years now, much of the legal immigration to Canada has been non-white, and this has been accepted with no problem by Canadians as a whole.

The issue of illegal immigration by, say, Haitians and Salvadoreans entering from the U.S. has nothing to do with their skin colour; it is the fact that it is illegal that causes a problem. We would have the same problem if, for example, the migrants were from Argentina, where the population is mainly white.

Although Donald Trump has made intolerant comments about illegal Mexican emigration to the U.S., the main problem with illegal immigration is not racial but the huge numbers of illegal immigrants, and the issues arising from this influx, mostly in states bordering Mexico. Mr. Trump is reacting to a situation that is totally out of control.

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Tom Healy, Gatineau, Que.

Hang tough on NAFTA

Re Canada Demands Concessions From U.S. As NAFTA Deal Nears (April 4): Bully Boy Donald Trump has dug a hole for himself. Mexico has stood up to him and won’t (unsurprisingly) pay for his wall, a major election promise Mr. Trump made to his base.

Mr. Trump then shifted his weasel-eyed gaze north to try to bully Canada into accepting a quick NAFTA deal so he could boast he eliminated the trade deficit he lied about in the first place.

On top of this, he has unleashed a trade war with China, which is also standing up to him, sending the stock market reeling.

Mr. Trump is holding a bad hand; he desperately needs a “win.” Knowing this, Canada should hold firm and follow Mexico’s and China’s lead. We have a good hand, should act like it, and demand more to settle NAFTA.

Alan Mew, Baie d’Urfe, Que.

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Health care’s orphan

Re What Should And Shouldn’t Be Covered By Medicare? (April 3): The proposed dismembering of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) may send mental health back into the shadows of Canadian health care.

As André Picard notes, major inconsistencies exist in coverage for mental-health services. Only Ontario, Quebec and B.C. have expanded public coverage of psychotherapy. Gaps in care are ubiquitous across Canada, and little progress has been made in developing more supportive housing for people living with mental-health and addiction problems.

While the federal Health Accord will increase funding for mental-health services by $5-billion over 10 years, we are still far short of the 9-per-cent mental-health-spending target proposed by the MHCC in 2012.

Canada needs a pan-Canadian organization to shine a light on what is happening or not happening in mental health across the country. Otherwise, we run the risk that mental-health services will continue to be the orphan child of health care in Canada.

Steve Lurie, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto

Carbon-policy illogic

Controlling Canada’s pollution is important. We may only be responsible for 1.68 per cent of global CO2 output but with only .49 per cent of global population, we produce some 70 per cent more CO2 than we should. We need to cut our CO2 production from 1.68 per cent to .49 per cent just to get an “average” rating.

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If all Canadians reduced their carbon footprint by 70 per cent, we would be so busy taking our savings to the bank, we wouldn’t even notice the carbon tax.

The purpose of the carbon tax is to encourage conservation. Can any Canadian say, with a straight face, they don’t waste any energy?

Steen Petersen, Nanaimo, B.C.

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“If your kid behaves irresponsibly, do you let her off the hook because the kid across the street messed up in a bigger way?” asks a letter writer concerned about climate change (Tiny Percentage Fallacy, April 4).

Unfortunately, Canada’s policies on climate change are more akin to “My neighbour has too many kids, so I’m getting a vasectomy.”

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Andrew Spencer, Paris, Ont.

Bin there, not done that

Re Five Things To Never Do On A Plane (April 3): While overhead bins are not specifically assigned to the seats under them, they should be.

I find it really irritating when I get to my seat and someone from another row or across the aisle has put their luggage in the bin above my seat. It means I have to put my luggage somewhere else, makes it hard to retrieve my own stuff during deplaning, and to access my things during the flight.

The airlines are also at fault here for not adhering to their own carry-on luggage size limits.

If you can’t stand to check your luggage, then wear your bulky clothes instead of shoving them in my bin, and divide the rest of your belongings among your small carry-on item, your purse or personal item, and your own foot well. Leg room is at a premium and it’s not reasonable to ask someone else to use up theirs with their luggage, or to wear their coat through the entire flight while you use their overhead bin.

Allison Smith, Ottawa

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