May 1: Nominations Announcement

May 29: Winners' Circle

June 1: Awards Gala

Desmond Cole, "The Skin I'm In", Toronto Life

Journalist Desmond Cole’s “The Skin I’m In” not only swept the 2016 National Magazine Awards (winning one gold and two silver awards), but brought the issue of carding in Toronto to the city’s attention. This award-winning article tells the story of Cole being routinely stopped, and often carded by the Toronto Police Services. Exhaustive narratives of anti-black racism in Toronto work to expose the myth of the city’s supposed multiculturalism. The CBC has since expanded upon Cole’s Toronto Life publication, turning it into a documentary called "The Skin We're In".  

"The Skin I'm In", which has helped bring the practice of carding in Toronto to the public’s attention, is available to download for free in the NMA archive section. 


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The film pushes Cole’s piece one step further, exposing systemic racism in Canada. It opens with the author at the National Magazine Awards gala, giving his acceptance speech for Best New Magazine Writer. He talks about the very common experience of black men in Toronto being subjected to the racist police practices of police checks. Cole goes on to acknowledge that he is lucky, in that not everyone who has been subject to carding ends up on the cover of a magazine, with an opportunity to tell their story. While the province of Ontario recently changed carding regulations, making specific the rules around voluntary interactions between the police and the public, Black Lives Matter Toronto (for which Cole has become an unofficial spokesperson) co-founder Sandy Hudson told the CBC in an interview that banning carding would be more productive in eliminating anti-black racism in Canada’s criminal justice system. 


Visit the NMA archive section to download Cole's acclaimed essay.