A Black Lives Matter mural is painted on a boarded up shop in Montreal, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

7 in 10 Black Canadians experience racism on regular, occasional basis: survey

The findings are the “first step” to dismantling anti-Black racism, says researcher Lorne Foster

Seven in 10 Black Canadians have experienced racism on a regular or occasional basis, suggests a preliminary study that experts are calling a “first step” toward dismantling systemic discrimination.

Researchers at York University released early findings Friday from a national survey examining how Black Canadians experience race and racism across social spheres.

The interim report, produced in partnership with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, draws from the responses of roughly 5,500 participants, including about 1,800 Black people, between March 21 and May 5.

Seventy per cent of Black respondents reported facing racism regularly or from time to time, while roughly half of Indigenous people and other racialized people said the same, according to the ongoing study.

Lead author Lorne Foster said the research breaks new ground in compiling granular data on Black Canadians, in contrast to existing literature thatcombinesall racialized groups into the catch-all category of “visible minorities.”

“We see this data as really the first step in dismantling systemic racism, particularly anti-Black systemic racism,” said Foster, the director of York University’s Institute for Social Research

“With this type of information, it’s difficult now to even deny or ignore the calls from the Black community to address racism in the major sectors and institutions of our society.”

Researchers blended traditional online survey techniques and new digital tools to gather a wide breadth of insights, including participant-submitted policy proposals, said Foster.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

Foster said he and his team will continue to refine and expand their investigation as data collection continues through June 1.

But the initial results paint a clear and detailed picture of the extent to which anti-Black racism pervades Canada’s systems of education, employment, health care, child welfare and criminal justice, he said.

Of particular concern is racism in the professional world, which Foster pointed to as a primary driver for socioeconomic disparities along racial lines.

A staggering 96 per cent of Black respondents said that racism is a problem in the workplace, including 78 per cent who saw it as a serious or very serious issue.

Moreover, 47 per cent of Black Canadians told researchers they have been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay or promotion in the last year.

Some respondents told researchers that the stress and trauma of workplace racism was so severe that it resulted in mental health issues, poor morale or alienation from the workforce, said Foster.

“I recently quit my job of over 20 years, partly due to burnout brought on by discrimination,” one respondent told researchers, adding that his employer didn’t even acknowledge his departure with a goodbye card.

Meanwhile, 56 per cent of white participants saw racism on the job as a small problem, or not at all.

Another sector that 91 per cent of Black respondents said has a racism problem is the health-care system, and 88 per cent of Indigenous participants agreed.

The survey found that 22 per cent of Black participants said they had been unfairly stopped by the police in the previous 12 months — twice the rate of any other group.

In Atlantic Canada and British Columbia, more than two in five Black men told researchers they’d been unfairly stopped by law enforcement in the past year.

More than nine in 10 Black respondents viewed racism as a problem in their communities, and two-thirds said they had been treated with suspicion in the last year.

The COVID-19 crisis has fed into this unease, with 34 per cent of Black participants expressing concern about being treated with suspicion when wearing face coverings in public.

Kimberly Bennet, the director of communications at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, said these numbers crystallize what Black Canadians have long been saying: that racism ripples through every facet of society, and it’s going to take a collective effort to address it.

“All entities need to look at how they can use this data to address policies within their companies, within their agencies or within their departments to dismantle any form of racism or discrimination that is making life more difficult for Black Canadians or people of colour in general.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

racism

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

The Great Gordini puts on a magic show for an avid audience during the first Storytime in the Park in this 2019 photo. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Storytime in the Park returns this summer

Day 1 registration is on June 30

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

Most Read