Racism in Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Racism in Canada traces both historical and contemporary racist community attitudes, as well as governmental negligence and political non-compliance with United Nations human rights standards and incidents in Canada.[1] Contemporary Canada is the product of indigenous First Nations combined with multiple waves of immigration, predominantly from Asia and Europe.

Overview[edit]

In a 2013 survey of 80 countries by the World Values Survey, Canada was ranked among the most racially tolerant societies in the world.[2] In 2015, the Social Progress Index ranked Canada #2 for overall tolerance and inclusion.[3][4][needs update]

In general, White Canadians consider themselves to be mostly free of racial prejudice,[failed verification] perceiving the country to be a more inclusive society,[clarification needed] a notion that has come under criticism.[5][6] For instance, the Aboriginal population in Canada has been treated poorly and sustained major hardships.[7] These perceptions of inclusion and "colour-blindness" have been challenged in recent years, with scholars such as Constance Backhouse stating that white supremacy is still prevalent in the country's legal system, with blatant racism created and enforced through the law.[8] According to one commentator, Canadian "racism contributes to a self-perpetuating cycle of criminalization and imprisonment".[9] In addition, throughout Canada's history there have been laws and regulations that have negatively affected a wide variety of races, religions, and groups of persons.[10][11][12]

Canadian law uses the term "visible minority" to refer to people of colour (but not aboriginal Canadians), introduced by the Employment Equity Act of 1995.[13] However, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination stated this term may be considered objectionable by certain minorities and recommended an evaluation of this term.[14]

In 2019, the English and Art departments at Kwantlen Polytechnic University collaborated to put on an exhibition called Maple-Washing: A Disruption, which featured various works examining Canadian history from diverse perspectives. With "Maple-Washing" (portmanteau of maple and "whitewash") referring to the alleged tendency of Canadian institutions to sanitize Canadian history.[15] Historical topics and events covered in the exhibition included Canadian participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Komagata Maru incident, the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War Two, and the Chinese head tax, frequently "maple-washed" incidents.[16]

Examples[edit]

Indigenous Peoples[edit]

Canada's treatment of First Nations people is governed by the Indian Act. The Canadian Indian Act helped inspire South Africa's apartheid policies.[17] Many Indigenous people were forced into assimilation through the Canadian Indian residential school system. From 1928 to the mid 1990s, Indigenous girls in the residential school system were subject to forced sterilization once they reached puberty. The number of sterilized girls is not known because the records were destroyed.[18] European colonizers assumed the Indigenous peoples needed saving, a form of "charitable racism".[19] However, this attitude is not absent from modern Canada, for example, in August 2008, McGill University's Chancellor and International Olympic Committee representative Richard Pound told La Presse: "We must not forget that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages, with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants of European origin, while in China, we're talking about a 5,000-year-old civilization", implying that the First Nations people were "uncivilized".[20]

In 1999 the Canadian government created an autonomous territory, Nunavut, for the Inuit living in the Arctic and northernmost parts of the country. The Inuit compose 85% of the population of Nunavut, which represents a new level of self-determination for the Indigenous peoples of Canada.[21]

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women[edit]

The representation of murdered Indigenous women in crime statistics is not proportionate to the general population. [22] In 2006, Amnesty International researched racism specific to Indigenous women in Canada. [23] They reported on the lack of basic human rights, discrimination, and violence against Indigenous women. The Amnesty report found that First Nations women (age 25–44) with status under the Indian Act were five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as a result of violence.[24] In 2006, the documentary film Finding Dawn looked into the many missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada over the past three decades.[25] In September 2016, in response to repeated calls from Indigenous groups, activists, and non-governmental organizations, the Government of Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau established a national public inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Indigenous people still have to deal with racism within Canada and the challenges that the communities face are often ignored.[26] There are still negative stereotypes associated with Indigenous people such as being freeloaders, drug addicts or dumb.[27] Indigenous people are more likely to feel depression due to several factors such as poverty, loss of cultural identity, inadequate health care and more.

In 2020, the staff at a hospital in the Quebec city of Joliette were shown on video mocking and making racist remarks at an Atikamekw woman who eventually died. Indigenous leaders say the video exposes the grim realities of systemic racism that have long gone ignored or suppressed throughout Canada.[28]

Slavery of Aboriginals and Black Canadians[edit]

Ku Klux Klan members, on foot and horseback, by a cross erected in a field near Kingston, Ontario in 1927

There are records of slavery in some areas that later became Canada, dating from the 17th century. The majority of Canadian slaves were Aboriginal,[29] and United Empire Loyalists brought slaves with them after leaving the United States. Marie-Joseph Angélique was one of New France's best-known slaves. While pregnant, she set her mistress' house on fire for revenge or to divert the attention away from her escape. She ran away with the father of her child, who was also a black slave and belonged to another owner. The fire that she started ended up burning part of Montreal and a large portion of the Hôtel-Dieu. Later on, she was caught and sentenced to death.

Segregation and Ku Klux Klan[edit]

Canada had also practiced segregation, and a Canadian Ku Klux Klan exists.[30][31] Racial profiling happens in cities such as Halifax, Toronto and Montreal.[32][33] Black people made up 3% of the Canadian population in 2016, and 9% of the population of Toronto (which has the largest communities of Caribbean and African immigrants).[34] They lived disproportionately in poverty, were three times as likely to be carded in Toronto than Whites, and incarceration rates for Blacks were climbing faster than for any other demographic. A Black Lives Matter protest was staged at Toronto Police Headquarters in March 2016.[35][36]

Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324[edit]

On August 12, 1911, the Governor General in Council approved a one-year prohibition of black immigration to Canada because, according to the Order-in-Council, "the Negro race" was "unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada."[37] It was tabled on June 2, 1911, by the Minister of the Interior, Frank Oliver, following mounting pressure from white prairie farmers who were discontented with an influx in the immigration of black farmers from the United States.[38] It was never officially enforced or added to the Immigration Act, likely because the government—led by Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier—was hesitant to alienate black voters ahead of the 1911 federal election.[39] It was repealed later that year.[40]

Africville[edit]

In Nova Scotia, a community which mainly consisted of Black Canadians were forcibly removed and eventually razed between 1964 and 1967 after years of intentional neglect by the government in Halifax.[41]

Greek-Canadians[edit]

The 1918 Toronto anti-Greek riot was a three-day race riot in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, targeting Greek immigrants during August 2–4, 1918. It was the largest riot in the city's history and one of the largest anti-Greek riots in the world.

Jews[edit]

Jewish students were prohibited from studying at Canadian universities.[10] Canada had restrictive policies towards Jewish immigration. in 1939, Jewish refugees escaping from WWII Europe aboard the MS St Louis were not allowed to enter Canada due to racist immigration policies.[42]

While government policies have changed, antisemitism remains problematic. Jews are a tiny-and therefore more vulnerable minority in Canada, comprising only 1.1% of the population, in 2018.[43] Partially due to the small size of the community; hate crimes against Jews (also referred to as "violent antisemitism"), is the highest per-capita form of race based violence reported in Canada.[44]

Romani people[edit]

Asian Canadians[edit]

Indo-Canadians[edit]

In 1914, Indians arriving in Canada were not allowed to enter despite being British subjects leading to the deaths of dozens of immigrants in the Komagata Maru incident.

Chinese Canadians[edit]

Boarded windows and storefronts on Pender Street in Chinatown after the September 1907 riots

Starting in 1858, Chinese "coolies" were brought to Canada to work in British Columbia in the mines and on the Canadian Pacific Railway.[45] After anti-Chinese riots broke out in 1886, a "Chinese head tax" was implemented to curtail immigration from China. In 1907, the Anti-Oriental Riots in Vancouver targeted Chinese and Japanese-owned businesses, and the Asiatic Exclusion League was formed to drive Asians out of the province. League members attacked Asians, resulting in numerous riots.[45] In 1923, the federal government passed the Chinese Immigration Act, commonly known as the Exclusion Act, prohibiting most Chinese immigration.[46] The Act was repealed in 1947,[47] but discrimination limiting non-European immigrants continued until 1967 when a points-based system was introduced to assess immigrants regardless of origin.

Japanese Canadians[edit]

A Royal Canadian Navy officer questions Canadian fishermen of Japanese descent as their boats were confiscated.

Although a British–Japanese treaty guaranteed Japanese citizens freedom of travel, they were nevertheless subject to anti-Asian racism in Canada, though a slightly lesser degree at the time than the Chinese before World War II, as an informal agreement between the Japanese and Canadian governments limited Japanese immigration in the wake of the Vancouver anti-Asian riots.[47]

In 1942, during World War II, many Canadians of Japanese heritage—even those born in Canada— were forcibly moved to internment camps under the authority of the War Measures Act.[48] At first, many men were separated from their families and sent to road camps in Ontario and on the British ColumbiaAlberta border. Small towns in the BC interior such as Greenwood, Sandon, New Denver and Slocan became internment camps for women, children and the aged. To stay together, Japanese–Canadian families chose to work in farms in Alberta and Manitoba. Those who resisted and challenged the orders of the Canadian government were rounded up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and incarcerated in a barbed-wire prisoner-of-war camp in Angler, Ontario.[49] Japanese–Canadians fishing boats were also seized, with plans to drastically reduce fishing licenses from them and forcibly redistribute them for white Canadians.[50] With government promises to return the land and properties seized during that time period, Japanese Canadians left their homes. This turned out to be untrue, as the seized possessions were resold and never returned to the Japanese Canadians. Unlike prisoners of war, who were protected by the Geneva Convention, Japanese–Canadians were forced to pay for their own internment.[51]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Canadians reported increased incidents of violent assaults, especially against women of Asian descent.[52] According to an Angus Reid survey from 22 June 2020, up to 50% of Chinese-Canadians had experienced verbal abuse, and 29% had been made to feel as though they posed a threat to public safety.[53][54] Another survey of 1,600 adults conducted by ResearchCo and obtained by the Agence France-Presse revealed one in four Canadians of Asian descent (70% of whom were of Chinese descent) who lived in British Columbia knew someone within their household who had faced discrimination.[55] The survey also revealed 24 percent of Canadians of South Asian descent reported racist insults.[55] Canadians of Indigenous origin had also reported discrimination.[55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "International Convention on the Elimination of A ll Forms of Racial and Sexual Discrimination". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Map shows world's 'most racist' countries". Washington Post. 15 May 2013. Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Canada's racism problem? It's even worse than America's". Macleans.ca. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Canada - The Social Progress Imperative". 16 April 2013. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  5. ^ Kassam, Ashifa (12 July 2016). "Canada is hailed for its tolerance but is it ready to confront its racism?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  6. ^ "No charges against Peel police in death of Jermaine Carby | The Star". thestar.com. Archived from the original on 3 September 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  7. ^ Terry Glavin, "Canadians have no reason to be smug about race" Archived July 4, 2018, at the Wayback Machine (November 2014), The Ottawa Citizen
  8. ^ Backhouse, Constance (1999). Colour-coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900–1950. Toronto: The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.
  9. ^ "The Skin I'm In: I've been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I'm black". 21 April 2015. Archived from the original on 24 October 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  10. ^ a b "McGill's 1926 Jewish ban | The McGill Daily". Archived from the original on 12 August 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  11. ^ Statutes of Canada. An Act of Respecting and Regulating Chinese Immigration into Canada, 1885. Ottawa: SC 48–49 Victoria, Chapter 71
  12. ^ "Chinese Canadian Recognition and Restitution Act". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons, Canada. 18 April 2005. p. 1100.
  13. ^ "Employment Equity Act (1995, c. 44)". Archived from the original on 12 February 2007.
  14. ^ "Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" (PDF). United Nations. United Nations: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Maple washing: don't be smug about Canada during the U.S election". cbc.ca. Archived from the original on 2 December 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  16. ^ Kaur, Dilpreet. "English and Ceramics Students at KPU Collaborate to Create Maple-Washing: A Disruption". runnermag.ca. Runner Magazine. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  17. ^ Gloria Galloway, "Chieft Reflect on Apartheid" Archived May 2, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, The Globe and Mail, 11 December 2013
  18. ^ Smith, Andrea (2005). Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
  19. ^ Alfred, Taiaiake (2011). "Colonial Stains on Our Existence". In M. Cannon; L. Sunseri (eds.). Racism, Colonialism, and Indigeneity. Ontario: Oxford Press.
  20. ^ "Ex-Olympian Call Pound Racist". Canwest News Service. 18 October 2008. Archived from the original on 18 March 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Press kit: Issues – Racism against Indigenous peoples – World Conference Against Racism". United Nations. Archived from the original on 25 February 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  22. ^ Michalke, C. (2015). Violence against Aboriginal women, a social phenomenon. Vancouver Island University Library. Retrieved: http://hdl.handle.net/10613/2585
  23. ^ "Stolen Sister". Amnesty.ca. 2006. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Amnesty Stolen Sisters". Amnesty.ca. 2006. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018.
  25. ^ "Acclaimed Feminist Filmmaker To Screen "Finding Dawn"". Center for the Study of Women in Society. University of Oregon. Archived from the original on 8 May 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  26. ^ "Wab Kinew Schools Us On Systemic Racism". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  27. ^ "Alberta Portrait Project Challenges Aboriginal Stereotypes". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Canada: outcry after video shows hospital staff taunting dying Indigenous woman". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  29. ^ Winks, Robin W. (1997). The Blacks in Canada: A History. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7735-1632-8.
  30. ^ "Black History Canada". blackhistorycanada.ca. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  31. ^ "African Americans Have Been Fleeing to Canada for Centuries". CityLab. Archived from the original on 20 January 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  32. ^ "Judge says racial profiling likely, tosses charges against man after Toronto road stop | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Canadian Students Reveal What It Means To Be #BlackOnCampus". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 3 March 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  34. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (8 February 2017). "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Toronto, City [Census subdivision], Ontario and Ontario [Province]". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  35. ^ "Black Lives Matter Toronto: Is Canada too polite to talk about racism? | Metro Toronto". metronews.ca. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  36. ^ "Racism Is Definitely A Thing in Canada. This New Campaign Proves It". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 3 March 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  37. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (20 June 2013). "Item". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  38. ^ Alexander, Ken; Glaze, Avis (1996). Towards freedom: the African-Canadian experience. Toronto: Umbrella Press. ISBN 978-1-895642-20-9. OCLC 35761157.
  39. ^ "Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324 — the Proposed Ban on Black Immigration to Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  40. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (20 June 2013). "Item". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  41. ^ "TURNING POINTS: The Razing of Africville an epic failure in urban community renewal". The Chronicle Herald. 18 November 2017. Archived from the original on 15 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  42. ^ "Anti-Semitism in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia". thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  43. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 May 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (29 November 2018). "The Daily – Police-reported hate crime, 2017". www150.statcan.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 16 September 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  45. ^ a b Wilford 2011, p. 28.
  46. ^ Wilford 2011, p. 29.
  47. ^ a b Melnyk & Seiler 2003, p. 279.
  48. ^ "Japanese Canadians". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  49. ^ "JapaneseCanadianHistory.net Historical Overview". www.japanesecanadianhistory.net. Archived from the original on 8 November 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  50. ^ Establishing Recognition of Past Injustices: Uses of Archival Records in Documenting the Experience of Japanese Canadians During the Second World War. Roberts-Moore, Judith. Archivaria: The Journal of the Association of Canadian Archivists, 53 (2002).
  51. ^ "Japanese Internment". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007.
  52. ^ "Asian Canadian women abused, punched, spat on. Is it racist maskaphobia?". South China Morning Post. 13 May 2020. Archived from the original on 15 May 2020. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  53. ^ "Blame, bullying and disrespect: Chinese Canadians reveal their experiences with racism during COVID-19". Angus Reid Institute. 22 June 2020. Archived from the original on 26 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  54. ^ "Almost One Third Of Chinese Canadians Report Being Physically Attacked During COVID-19". Canadian Anti-Hate Network. Archived from the original on 25 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  55. ^ a b c "Chinese in Canada a target of increased hate during pandemic". Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2020.