Anti-Black Racism is not a new term…
however, in May 2020 the concept of Anti-Black Racism became a central concept in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and throughout the world. Many Black individuals of African -descent have experienced some sort of anti-Black Racism. According to the anti-Racism strategy produced by the Ontario Government, anti-Black racism can be defined as the policies and practices rooted in Canadian institutions that reinforce prejudice, beliefs, attitudes, and discrimination towards Black people. These forms of practices have included experiences such as:
- Over-policing, carding and surveillance by the police
- More frequent suspensions and expulsions in the education system
- Disproportionate Black youth involved in child welfare
- Disproportionate Black males and females involved with the criminal justice system
- Microaggressions and biases by others
- Income and hiring inequity
- Strategic hiring practices that avoids qualified Black applicants for hire or refusal to hiring Black applicants for leadership positions
Studies show that the impact of these experiences have led to generations of inequitable treatment of Black people, and the development of a culture of “whiteness” and superiority.
Anti-Black Racism focuses on how policies in organizations reinforces the concept of whiteness. It highlights how the concept of whiteness as, superior and is further adapted in policies that negatively impact Black people. Anti-Black racism highlights the unique history and experiences of slavery, colonization, maltreatment towards Black people, and inequities inherent within procedures. Racism shapes thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of those who are “subjected” to racism, those who “perpetuate” racism, and those who “benefit” from racism.
#BlackLivesMatter is a movement that focuses on highlighting the inequities that occur against Black people in Canada and throughout the world. The movement advocates for social justice measures that can address inequity.
“One of the reasons that racism persists in Canada is because our commitment to the
perception of racial tolerance & harmony seems to be prized above the actual lived
experiences of people.”Robin Maynard- Author of Policing Black Lives
How does Anti-Black Racism Impact Health?
There are multiple ways that the experience of racism can impact Black individuals, families and communities. Such impact is intergenerational, and has led to lasting social- emotional and physical impact over the past centuries. Racism can cause frequent physical stress on the body. Many times, medical science focuses on physical health and behaviors associated with healthy living, and ignore systemic factors that influence health and race trauma.
Studies have supported that Black individuals often face a lack of safe, inexpensive, and effective healthcare services within their communities. Another study investigated the correlation between discrimination and risk for diseases, and found that Black people are twice as likely to have lower-self rated health and higher risk for obesity. Furthermore, Black youth in Toronto indicated that racism and discrimination is one of the primary reasons preventing them from using sexual health clinics.
Healing from Race Trauma
What can you do to confront anti-Black racism? As a Black person, you are not responsible to change or teach others about anti-Black racism. It is up to the “oppressor”, and those who benefit from anti-Black racism, to acknowledge that racism exists and negatively impacts the well-being of Black people. You are responsible for ensuring that you obtain the support you need from your “family and community supports”, and professional resources to manage your ability to stay well and healthy.
Some tips and strategies include: when you experience racism or bias talk about it. At work, document your experiences of racism, bias, discrimination and microaggression. Keep records of your experiences, and when you are ready, talk about it. As a parent, you may become involved with professionals in your child’s school, child welfare or children’s aid society, or with the police. If these situations occur, seek support. Access resources from community agencies that specializes with working with these systems to ensure children and youth are treated equitably. If you recognize changes to your mood and behavior, consider counselling, psychotherapy, or group programs to help you develop healthy coping strategies, experience validation for your experiences, and connect with other individuals who have the same experiences.
There are many resources available to support Black people and families who are impacted by racism. The following resources are listed below.
References taken from the following sources: