The Hidden Job Market – Whiteness Has Its Privileges

© Copyright 2010 by Joseph Worrell. Reproduced with permission on Restructure!.

In February 2006, The Canadian Labour Congress presented a disturbing study on Canadian workers. The report maintained that Canadian-born visible minorities faced the highest barriers to steady, well-paying jobs of any group in the country.

Post 911 Arab-West Asians came in first with a 14% unemployment rate, Blacks at 11.5% and Latin Americans at 10.5%. Aboriginal Canadians also failed to reap many job rewards but statistics curiously grouped them with unemployed Euro-Canadians.

The Labour Congress’ study caused a bit of quandary, except among those who are already “in the know” about the dilemma.

Leslie Cheung, of Simon Fraser University, declared the report could not disavow “workplace inequality with education disparities because non-White Canadians are better educated as a whole than native-born Whites and immigrants”. The Labour Congress predicts the situation to worsen as huge numbers of non-White young people enter the job market.

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People see multiracial people with Asian names as more Asian-looking: study

A Face By Any Other Name: Seeing Racial Bias:

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2008) — If Barack Obama had taken his mother’s surname and kept his childhood nickname, American voters might literally see “Barry Dunham” as a quite different presidential candidate, a new study suggests. A name significantly changes our perception of someone’s face and race, according to research in the journal, Perception.

Participants in the study – titled Barack Obama or Barry Dunham? – rated multi-racial faces with European names as looking significantly “more European” than exactly the same multi-racial faces when given Asian names.

[…]

“The study reveals how socially derived expectations and stereotypes can influence face perception,” says co-author and UNSW PhD student, Kirin Hilliar. “The result is consistent with other research findings suggesting that once people categorise a face into a racial group, they look for features consistent with that categorization.”

The article also mentions related psychology research on race, perception, and bias.

South Asians in Canada: Ethnic Origin and Country of Birth

South Asians were the largest visible minority group in Canada according to the 2006 Census. However, South Asians are a very diverse group with respect to both ethnic origin and country of birth.

Ethnic origin of South Asians in Canada

Ethnic origin (also known as ethnic ancestry) refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of the respondent’s ancestors. An ancestor is someone from whom a person is descended and is usually more distant than a grandparent. Ethnic origin should not be confused with language, place of birth or citizenship. For example, a person of Haitian origin may speak French, be born in Canada and have Canadian citizenship. Since 1981, when respondents were first permitted to report more than one ethnic origin in the census, a distinction has been made between single response, multiple responses and total responses. […] Most of the data that are reported in this document refers to the total response count for each ethnic group, unless otherwise indicated.

13.1% of South Asians reported multiple ethnic origins. The “ethnic origins” or “ancestral backgrounds” of South Asians are shown in the bar graph below. (As a person can have more than one ethnic origin, these ethnic categories are not mutually exclusive.) Most South Asians (69.0%) were of East Indian ethnic origin.

East Indian, 69%. Pakistani, 9.3%. Sri Lankan, 7.8%. Punjabi, 4.1%. Canadian, 2.7%. Tamil, 2.7%. European, 2.6%. British Isles, 2.5%. Bangladeshi, 1.8%.

Since there were 1,262,900 South Asians in Canada according to the 2006 Census, the number of East Indians in Canada was about 871,000. (For individuals who want to compare the size of the largest South Asian subgroup with the size of the Chinese “visible minority” group, the number of East Indians in Canada (871,000) was lower than the number of Chinese (1,216,600).)

Country of birth of South Asians in Canada

29.3% of South Asians were Canadian-born, while 70.7% were foreign-born.

A majority of the foreign-born South Asians came from countries in the Indian subcontinent, such as India (48.8%), Pakistan (14.6%), Sri Lanka (11.7%) and Bangladesh (3.6%). The other leading source countries of birth among the foreign-born South Asian visible minorities were Guyana (4.2%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.5%), Fiji (2.4%), the United Republic of Tanzania (1.9%), Kenya (1.8%) and the United Kingdom (1.6%).

Applying these foreign-country percentages to the percentage of South Asians that were foreign-born (70.7%), and adding in the percentage of South Asians that were Canadian-born (29.3%), we can extrapolate a more integrated overview of South Asians’ countries of birth.

Country of birth Percentage
Canada 29.3
India 34.5
Pakistan 10.3
Sri Lanka 8.3
Guyana 3.0
Bangladesh 2.5
Trinidad and Tobago 1.8
Fiji 1.7
United Republic of Tanzania 1.3
Kenya 1.3
United Kingdom 1.1
Other 4.9

The pie chart below was generated from the above data:

South Asian's Country of Birth pie chart

Sources:

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