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

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Vancouver Island First Nations flags to fly permanently at city hall

Addition of flags are one Port Alberni response to reconciliation

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Most Read