International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
March 21, 2022
March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The date March 21 holds symbolic significance as it commemorates the day authorities in South Africa opened fire and killed 69 peaceful people at a demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.
In Canada in particular we use this day as an opportunity to remember and reflect on the discrimination that Indigenous, Black and Racialized people continue to face every day. The United Nations 2022 theme is “Voices for Action Against Racism,” to encourage people and organizations to not only continue conversations about anti-racism but to implement actions and steps to dismantle racist systems and ideologies.
Below is data from Stats Canada to see a snapshot of what racism looks like today:
- Between 2019 and 2020, the number of police-reported crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity increased 80%, from 884 to 1,594. Much of this increase was a result of more police-reported hate crimes targeting the Black population, East or Southeast Asian population, the Indigenous population and the South Asian population.
- Analysis of all police-reported hate crimes between 2011 and 2020 shows that victims of violent hate crimes committed on the basis of their perceived Indigenous identity or sexual orientation tended to be the youngest among hate crime victims and sustain the highest proportion of injury.
- Of all Black people, four in ten (41%) experienced discrimination based on their race or skin colour, about 15 times higher than the proportion among the non-Indigenous, non-visible minority population (3%).
- Discrimination was more common among the Indigenous population than among populations who are both non-Indigenous and non-visible minority (33% versus 16%). More specifically, 44% of First Nations people had experienced discrimination in the 5 years preceding the survey, as had 24% of Métis and 29% of Inuit.
- Experiences of discrimination were more common among Indigenous people in 2019 (33%) than they were in 2014 (23%).
Racism is a Canadian problem, racism is a today problem, and racism will be a tomorrow problem if we do not actively take steps to dismantle and change the direction of the colonial and racist roots in which Canada has built its foundation. Today we can make a change for a brighter future.