Canada’s integration problem is racism, not multiculturalism: study

Darker the skin, less you fit (Toronto Star):

Crunching thousands of numbers from 41,666 people interviewed in nine languages, the just-published study found skin colour – not religion, not income – was the biggest barrier to immigrants feeling they belonged here. And the darker the skin, the greater the alienation.

“We were surprised that religion didn’t have more effect,” said lead author Jeffrey Reitz. “It came down to race, with Asian people reporting some and with young black males the most stigmatized. The data is consistent with that.

“We tend to believe racism is a minor problem in Canada, of little consequence. Someone looked at them funny. Or that many immigrants are doing well, so it must be their fault if they aren’t. There is a reluctance to investigate the issue.”

The University of Toronto professor of ethnic, immigration and pluralism studies added that a lack of trust was also higher among the successful, Canadian-born, Canadian-educated children of visible minority immigrants.

The problem isn’t multiculturalism, spawned in 1971 by then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, the study concluded.

“A lot of people in Canada revel in diversity. They were happy to say goodbye to liver and onions, hello stir-fries and samosas,” said Reitz. But the original idea of multiculturalism saw integration as the marker of success: A second generation equally accepted in the mainstream and in the ethnic community.

The study found:

The more discrimination someone faced, the more they were likely to identify with their ethnic group, rather than as Canadian.

Visible minorities identified themselves much more strongly by their ethnic origin through the second, third and fourth generations.

While 65 per cent of recent black immigrants, 70 per cent of South Asians and 52 per cent of Chinese felt they belonged in Canada, those numbers dropped to 37 per cent, 50 per cent and 44 per cent in the second generation.

A third of Chinese, South Asians, Filipino and Southeast Asians reported discrimination; half of blacks did and 40 per cent of Koreans and Japanese did. In fact, a schoolyard fight in Keswick that made national news involved a Korean boy retaliating for a racial slur.

Discrimination was most common in applying for jobs and at work; a store, bank or restaurant were the next most frequent.

If people of colour in Canada do not feel a sense of belonging in Canada, the solution is not to eliminate multiculturalism and force them to adopt your culture. The solution is not to criticize them for identifying with their ethnic group. The solution is to stop being racist.

Racism, not different cultures, is the issue.

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35 Responses to “Canada’s integration problem is racism, not multiculturalism: study”

  1. citywood Says:

    Not exactly surprising… I started to read the comments to the article but had to stop right away in fear for my blood pressure.

  2. links and kisses « Raven’s Eye Says:

    […] Canada’s integration problem is racism, not multiculturalism: study […]

  3. Restructure! Says:


    There’s also this part:

    We need to address these feelings of isolation,” said Reitz.

    “Among minorities born in Canada, blacks have the lowest sense of belonging, the lowest level of trust in others and the weakest sense of Canadian identity. They are the least likely to vote,” Reitz and Ryerson University assistant professor Rupa Banerjee wrote in the book Multiculturalism and Social Cohesion. “Among recent immigrants, blacks have high levels of volunteers but among the second generation this has disappeared.”

    Should we worry?

    Who is “we”?

    That is a rhetorical question, of course. I know who “we” refers to, and it’s not me.

    I thought it was a badly written article too. I would have linked to another source, but the article is so bad that I can’t track down which study they’re referring to.

  4. Chris Diaz Says:

    I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this well-intentioned white reporters statement: “Vanessa Kirunda is the last person you’d expect to be looked down on. Poised, articulate, educated and confident”

    Only a white person could be so clueless. An African-Canadian can be poised and articulate, cure cancer, conquer cold fusion, and unite Israel and Palestine and still be nothing but the n-word to some people.

    White folks, gotta love em.

  5. Alice Says:

    “The solution is not to criticize them for identifying with their ethnic group. The solution is to stop being racist.”

    “Ethnic group” is a lot more complicated than just race. A person who took your advice and became completely non-racist forever might still discriminate based on the entirely non-racial aspects of ethnic membership.

    The difference has been strongly driven home for me during my time in the US military, in which Americans of all races often come together in sisterhood to express their disdain for the numerous not-American ethnic groups occupying the corners of the world which they think we should be bombing.

  6. Nquest Says:

    “Ethnic group” is a lot more complicated than just race.

    I’m not sure about Blacks in Canada but I know your statement isn’t applicable when it comes to Black/African-Americans. That is unless you can tell me what ethnic group(s) African-Americans (families of slave descendants).

    And, last I checked, “American” is not an ethnic group. So I have no idea what a non-American ethnic group is.

  7. Lxy Says:

    The difference has been strongly driven home for me during my time in the US military, in which Americans of all races often come together in sisterhood to express their disdain for the numerous not-American ethnic groups occupying the corners of the world which they think we should be bombing.

    This is an interesting point.

    The idea of American Supremacy is deeply embedded in American national identity and can be uncritically espoused even by oppressed racial minorities in the USA.

  8. thordaddy Says:

    Rotten teeth’s problem is eating and drinking, not flossing and brushing, study finds…

  9. Youngin` Says:

    wow as a 16 y.o I could have stated this . There is not one day in which I can go to my private anglican school without having to defend my culture, or other p.o.c culture or play the freakin` mystical coloured person who educates and unites everyone . Quotes common :

    ” black [ people ] are ugly ”
    ” chineese people are so funny ”
    ” you have a black nose no offense ”
    ” indians are just weird ”
    ” africans are all poor because thats the way they think ”
    ” dirty mexican ” ( said at least once a day )

    and this is in a school in Richmond Hill , ON . =/

    Don`t even get me started on my days in saskatchewan .. urgh I didn`t know children in gr 2 could such racist bastards .

    It`s a problem that Canada and Canadians NEED to deal with .

  10. Second-generation visible minority Canadians are more likely to report discrimination compared to their parents. « Restructure! Says:

    […] of the study were Rupa Banerjee and Jeffrey Reitz—the same person who discovered in 2009 that the more discrimination someone faced, the more they were likely to identify with their ethnic group. Globe & Mail reporter Marina Jiménez wrote of the study: The study, based on an analysis of […]

  11. Are Immigrants Angels? Says:

    Chris Diaz…

    “Only a white person could be so clueless”

    Isn’t that racist? I’m wondering who the clueless one is. As a white male, brought up to treat everyone equally and very open person I have encountered a great deal of racism from immigrants downtown Toronto, where I live and work. It goes both ways and immigrants should not be made out to be angels, there are many rude, culturally insensitive and racist immigrants in Canada who add to the problem, Chris Diaz being one them… Canada and Canadians may be a part of the issue… but there should be a follow up article putting light on the racist immigrants who add to the issue.

  12. White Toronto students in blackface win Halloween costume prize. « Restructure! Says:

    […] Canada’s integration problem is racism, not multiculturalism: study by Restructure! […]

  13. Jeff Says:

    Immigrants in Canada are different from the States. They are given the freedom to be contained within their own community and as a result don’t integrate. Look at the gangs of Toronto. Yes there are gangs in the States too. There are good people and bad people across all parts of the world. There’s a lot of white people I don’t like and I’m white. So what? Living in Toronto I witnessed a lot of angry hyper immigrants but to this day have yet to conclude whether it’s due to their marginalization or the fact that they’re an integrated Torontonian – as anyone who’s lived there knows everybody is always in a hurry. I once saw a couple of cops really giving it to a (dark) cab driver pulled over, saying….”you better learn how to drive if you’re going to operate a taxi….” So there’s clearly some pent up aggression on both sides.

  14. Restructure! Says:

    I don’t understand when people say immigrants in Canada don’t integrate. I live in Toronto, and people of colour of different races have more contact with each other than white people do with people of colour. The neighbourhoods of Torontonians of colour have people of different races living together, while the white neighbourhoods are white.

  15. Canada is multicultural, not anti-racist. « Restructure! Says:

    […] is not culture—or cultural intolerance—that causes racial discrimination. It is racism. Race and culture are two different things. Multiculturalism is not the same as […]

  16. Canada is multicultural, not antiracist | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture Says:

    […] is not culture—or cultural intolerance—that causes racial discrimination. It is racism. Race and culture are two different things. Multiculturalism is not the same as […]

  17. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2010: Racism, anti-racism and the academy « Fedcan Blog Says:

    […] the academy today is not equal to that of their White colleagues. The literature clearly points to a remarkable commonality among them: in the experiences they have had, the barriers they have encountered, the pain and […]

  18. Tony Says:

    Ah believe me that’s an Anglo Saxon thing. Americans, Canadians, Australians, English all are the same., racist. I lived in Germany and even in Libya, and people are more respectful of other “races” than this pseudo anglo saxons. This is a joke which is real:

    If you are black and want to become blood brothers with a:
    Latin American, it takes 1 beer.
    European, it takes 3 beers.
    American (canadian, same shit they all watch the same TV), it takes infinite, he will never see you as a brother.

  19. goaler Says:

    we might watch all the sane tv
    you all come from the same tree

  20. Da Silva,, Says:


  21. victim Says:

    I really don’t know if there is a solution to this problem.

    I am pursuing a PhD at a Canadian University and I’m treated badly in my group (all white people except me) on a daily basis. By badly I mean that my religion (even though I am not religious), my country, my people are made fun of all the time. People are disrespectful towards me and make rude comments.

    There is so much latent bitterness and hatred that surfaces when I crack a joke or try to get involved in a conversation. Amongst themselves, they are all jolly and nice, and all jokes are acceptable within their group. But I’m treated differently most of the time (and, not in a good way).

    I would also like to add that I came here to study from a developing country not because my country was bad but because I’m an adventurous person and like to travel. And, after this experience here I’ve no plans of living here. Canada is a a very nice and peaceful country. Since I had white friends in my country and we got along well, I though it would be the same here. Probably, I just got unlucky.

    I hope no other international students have the same experience as I did.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    get the fuck out already!

  23. Missthang Says:

    I am American. While there is much prejudice (self righteous prejudice against Americans) I don’t have an accent that stands out or traditions or cultural anything. I was integrated with whites at an early age, and so I am probably, in certain respects, rather bland. The racism here is phenomenal. As much as I love my husband, I am beginning to regret dating him much less marrying him. My in-laws sense of white privilege is such that they think they can enter my house when they like, they can turn a whole community against me. And the black people are too scared and too trained to come to my defense. It’s a long story and not one I care to explain, but believe me, many white people are white first. And it’s so subtle as to be almost semi conscious on their part. I used to think Canada was better than America, but I prefer America’s blatant crap to Canada’s covert illness. I do want to get “the fuck out” already. The problem is I have a child. By a Canadian. Do I leave my child without a mother or a father?

  24. fred Says:


    Yeah, Canadians do love to bash Americans. It’s from living in another country’s shadow. 75% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border. So Canada is just a pimple on America’s backside. Just think, some day Canada will be the 51st state. :)

    What you’re describing is generally referred to as “boundary issues”. My personal situation isn’t nearly as bad as yours. But my in-laws tend to be a bit intrusive as well. And the fault lies squarely with child of the parents who are intrusive. It’s your husband’s responsibility to set the limits with his parents. If you try to do it then it will be everyone against YOU. So if he’s a puss then you’re just SOL. I’m sorry you married such a momma’s boy.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    unless you are white you are not a real canadian anyway!
    so get the fuck out already!

  26. Restructure! Says:

    unless you are white you are not a real canadian anyway!
    so get the fuck out already!

    At least you admit it this time, goaler.

  27. Canadian Says:

    Hey Anonymous, you are not a real Canadian anyway even if you are white or have Canadian citizenship, your ancestors lived either in England or France, so shut it…
    You killed the real Canadians 3-4 centuries ago.

  28. fred Says:

    Canadian writes, You killed the real Canadians 3-4 centuries ago.

    Then anonymous must be very old! Oh, my mistake. I didn’t realize you were engaging in a little racism of your own. Riddle me this, what have you ever done for indians besides use them as a political tool to attack others?

  29. mahen Says:

    From my point of view,I think racism is almost everywhere especially in school.The solution for it is us the next generation if we are being nice and know the difference between good or bad than racism won’t be a problem. We just need to cope with it and try not to be racist yourself.For example,in my school there are groups(exp:white kids hang out in their own group,same for black.chineses,indians,and etc) but i try to be freinds with everybody rather than choose my own cultural or skin colour group:)

  30. John Doh Says:

    a was written ” Friedly Manitoba, Polite Discremination”

  31. t.ruth Says:

    i am white English and i have been told that i don’t belong here that i should go home and iv’e been in Canada for over 30 years. Skin colour means nothing it’s about an inferiority complex and power.

  32. Canada's a joke Says:

    I have rented this place in downtown Toronto for just 3 months, with 2 guys who have adopted the North American culture. I am Chinese and I’ve been in Canada for 15 years so I speak perfect English. Yet only after 3 months living with them they tell me to move out because they do not feel I fit in with them. I do watch some of the TV shows they watch and I do not hide in my room. Why do I need to watch their shows and drink with them to have them accept and/or discover who I am and what I do? I don’t really see that skin colour is the major issue. It’s that the North American culture is unable to accept and incorporate ideas that are different than their own – and you can probably see this on so many personal, social, political levels.

  33. internationalstudentcanada Says:

    I just started a blog with the goal of helping prospective international students, (particularly from a non western background) have a better experience once they come to Canada. I plan to write from my own extensive experience as an international student in Canada studying various fields, and also the work I have done with international students and some of the research I have done regarding their experiences, both in University and after graduation when they try to build careers and go through the immigration process. The last article I wrote was about uninclusive behaviour and discrimination. It would be good to get some feedback if possible.

  34. mihkoj Says:

    i am first nations. i was born & raised in canada and know quite well just how racist canada is. i moved to the us over a decade ago and live there now (i have lived in 8 states and the district of columbia). but am currently studying in canada for my master’s degree. all of my post-secondary education and training otherwise has been in the us….the difference between the us and canada in terms of the average capacity of the average person to dialogue in an intelligent, coherent and straightforward manner about issues of race and racism is exponential. the us is, by far, much more socially aware as a nation about race issues (and much more pro-active in legal and social terms in addressing it). canada is in the dark ages compared to the us; this is saying a lot considering that the majority of the us is still very much in the nascent stages of realizing a truly just, equitable, respectful society and in dealing with its horrific past of extreme racist norms. three days after i moved back to canada i was walking down the street in a majority white neighborhood when i heard loud insistent honking. as soon as i turned to look a middle-aged white man flipped me the bird. while at work one day, three white men began bashing natives, feeding off of each other’s hatred and ignorance, one of them looked at me and said: we should have killed you all when we had the chance. once i am done my thesis i am moving back home (the us). i consider the us my home now for a number of reasons among them the feeling of belonging and of having relevance there as a legitimate member of american society; i have never gotten this feeling in canada. of course my tribal homelands will always be my first home, but i consider the us my country far more so than canada. by the way? indigenous people are not and never were “real canadians” as you seem to be implying. we are discrete nations in and of ourselves and to call us “canadians” is far more of an insult and product of woeful ignorance than anything else, including the use of the misnomer “indian”. while some indigenous people may have lost touch with their own history enough to be complicit in their own colonization by adopting a “canadian” political and cultural identity, there are many of us who have never lost the faith and continue to be deeply loyal to our own cultural and political identities.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    If Most immigrants feel unwanted its because they are and the majority of canadians dont want these people coming here and making a mockery of our once beautiful nation walking all over our homeland close the border and blacks are not treated poorly they just hate themselves and feel as thou whites hate them. Listen I m a racist meaning I veiw whites as the greatest race on this planet and am proud to be

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