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

The proposed renovations at the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre. (CRD Drawing)
LETTER: Vote in favour of the Quesnel pool referendum

A letter to the editor published in the June 2 edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

An advanced polling session at the Quesnel Seniors’ Centre on Monday, June 14 was busy. The regular voting day is set for June 19, at locations across the region. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Public will be asked to approve $20 million for Quesnel pool upgrades

A referendum to approve a renovation of the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre is set for June 19

A Baker Creek tour from 2019 with a group of students - tours will be much smaller in 2020 due to COVID-19 prevention measures. (Submitted Photo)
Baker Creek Nature Explorers plans for full summer in Quesnel

The day program will run twice a week for two age groups

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for the Cariboo north including Quesnel. (Black Press file image)
Environment Canada issues thunderstorm watch for Quesnel

A chance of thundershowers is forcasted to last until Tuesday

The Gold Pan Grannies attended the Quesnel Farmers’ Market where they sold perennials and vegetable plants and fruit trees by donation Saturday, May 29. They were able to raise $1,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Gold Pan Grannies raise $1,000 for Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign

Annual plant sale at Quesnel Farmers’ Market a success

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read