The Long Struggle Against Racism Continues

According to Statistics Canada, in 2001, Blacks formed the third largest visible minority in Canada, after the Chinese and South Asians. According to the 2001 Census, there were 662,200 Blacks, the latter representing just over 2% of the total Canadian population, and 17% of the visible minority population. The immigration list now included newcomers from the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa.

But even to this day, there is still ongoing discrimination despite the undeniable progress in the fight against racism and the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which affirms the country’s multicultural character.

According to the Ethnic Diversity Survey conducted by Statistics Canada in 2002, members of all the visible minorities across Canada perceived themselves as victims of discrimination or unfair treatment, including 50% of Blacks, 35% of Southeast Asians, 29% of Hispanics and 26% of Arabs.

In the Montreal Metropolitan Area, 31% of the visible minorities that were surveyed acknowledged being victims of discrimination. In the case of black communities, this figure rose to 41%. And according to the same study in relation to hate crimes, members of the Jewish community were the most frequently targeted (25%), followed by Blacks (17%), South Asians (11%) and Muslims (11%).

Even today, people of Asian, Black or Arab descent, born here or long ago integrated into Quebec society, continue to be regarded by some as outsiders, with values presumed to be different from those of Quebecers and excluded on the basis of that. The depreciation of these people and the denial of their rights are due to an alleged cultural difference rather than biological inferiority.

Moreover, prejudice against Blacks remains tenacious. The image of black communities is primarily shaped by American culture, films and media coverage of African-Americans and African societies. And it is all too often associated with violence, poverty and lack of education.

Media success stories come to us almost exclusively from the sports and the artistic milieus. Many young people from black communities complain of being highly sought after for sports teams, but excluded from academic teams or neglected by their teachers.