Racism has been an issue Canada has been struggling with for centuries. From the oppression of Indigenous Peoples to race-based police violence, Canadians have been progressing in a positive direction, but how far along are we on that path? Pivot has surveyed youth in Canadian cities on their thoughts on racism. Here is a short sample of what we have found.
Above we can see the percentage of youth that believe that racism is an issue in their city and the diversity of each city. In our case, a city’s diversity is defined by the percentage of youth that has an ethnic background that is non-white. Looking above we can see that youth across Canada see racism as a problem with nearly half of them agreeing that racism is an issue. Looking more closely at the Canadian cities we can see it varies per city and that there is no clear trend between the diversity of a city and their beliefs on racism. However, it seems like in the most diverse cities youth believe racism is less of an issue.
Looking at the percentage of white individuals again but with the number of youth in each city that have experienced racism and/or xenophobia we can again see there are no trends. Despite the different variations of ethnic backgrounds in each city, racism still affects nearly every Canadian city.
Figure 2. [survey B]
Looking at the above graph, it’s clear the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) youth face racism more than white youth to a large degree, despite the varying ethnic demographics in each city. An individual’s personal stance on racism within the city is not representative of the collective. The data tells us that ethnic background plays a larger role in if you have experienced racism or not.
“There was just these videos being posted on Facebook about anti-Chinese kind of racism happening that were posted on Facebook. And it was just really disheartening to see that things like that were happening in my city that I, I loved for so long.” – Pivot Interviewee [interview C]
Despite youth of various backgrounds experiencing racism differently, they are all in agreeance that racism in their city is a serious issue regardless of their ethnic background. Some cities have taken notice and action such as Vancouver. From the Pivot Index, Vancouver has allocated $84,000,000 towards diversity and critical social issues. However, many cities such as Montreal, have yet to allocate a portion of their budget towards diversity and inclusion.
Racism is a complex concept that can be affected by a wide variety of factors. It continues to affect the lives of Canadian youth across Canada. Being BIPOC increases your chances of experiencing racism while residing in a city with a low or high ethnic demographic does not play a role. Despite Canada having cities with a wide variety of ethnic populations, youth believe racism is a significant issue that needs to be addressed across Canada regardless if they have experienced it or not. On a positive note, youth continue to push for reform in Canadian cities to make the country more enjoyable for all, despite the centuries of systemic racism that plague its past and rattle our present realities.
Simon Fraser University
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