Behind Racism: Challenging the Way We Think (Level 1 Gallery)

Explore what science can teach us about racism.

May 31, 2022 – October 16, 2022

This exhibition has passed.

A woman gazes at a display showing faces of a diverse group of people. Partially obscured.

Ontario Science Centre

Exhibition details

Discover the mental roots of discrimination. Explore the social consequences of our assumptions and perceptions. Learn to recognize and resist the inherent biases that give rise to racism.

There is no scientific basis for “race” and its injustices. Yet our mental and emotional biases can lead us to believe that one race is superior to another. This exhibition invites you to explore the psychological and social roots of racism. Discover how empathy and self‐understanding can counteract misunderstanding and hatred.

Video: Behind Racism: Challenging the Way We Think

This travelling exhibition was developed in partnership by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the Ontario Science Centre.

We are pleased to offer free admission to this exhibition.

How our Minds Build Beliefs

Human beings constantly experience sensations, emotions, memories and thoughts. Our minds work hard to cope with our ever‐changing environment. Mental and emotional shortcuts help us understand the world, make decisions and relate to each other.

Interactive activities and tests in this exhibition let you explore how your systems of perception can influence your actions and beliefs.

A woman stands next to a large photo of a crowd where someone is holding a sign that reads “Canada is not immune to racism.”

Lilian Ma, former Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. Ma started the "Behind Racism" project because she was interested in understanding racism from a scientific perspective.

Photo: Ontario Science Centre

Recognizing the System we are Part of

One of the mental shortcuts we often take is sorting people into categories. But unexamined beliefs about groups of people can take dangerous forms, such as racism. These beliefs can become embedded in society’s institutions. Personal and social beliefs can reinforce each other and create systemic racism.

Explore the experiences and consequences of racism in Canada. Learn about the social construction of racism. Find out why scientists say “race” doesn’t exist the way we think it does.

A freestanding set of panels presenting text, video and interactive digital displays.

Interactive and informational displays let you discover the roots of racism and other biases.

Photo: Ontario Science Centre

Appreciating our Differences

To practice anti‐racism, we must learn about ourselves and about each other. Understanding bias and how it leads to injustice lets us act together to make change. We can become aware of our beliefs and how they influence our attitudes and actions. This lets us make more conscious and compassionate choices.

A woman stands in front of information panels presenting text and a large photograph.

Bhavleen Kaur, Senior Scientist with the Ontario Science Centre. Kaur hopes the exhibition will spur conversation and help people unlearn racism.

Photo: Ontario Science Centre

Behind Racism offers powerful stories, important information and interactive experiences. Identify and challenge your biases and assumptions. Discover how we can all cultivate empathy and mutual respect to resist racism.

Behind Racism: Challenging the Way We Think runs in the Level 1 Gallery starting May 31, 2022.


The exhibition and its tour are presented by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation with the generous support of the Government of Canada and in partnership with the Mosaic Institute, the Ontario Science Centre and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is grateful to Wawanesa Insurance and CPA Manitoba for their support of the exhibition in Winnipeg.