Fifty-eight per cent of Canadian youth say they have seen kids insulted, bullied or excluded based on their race or ethnicity at school, according to new survey data from the Angus Reid Institute in partnership with the University of British Columbia.
Fourteen per cent say they’ve experienced it themselves, with visible minority children three times as likely, and Indigenous children twice as likely, as white children to say that they have faced personal abuse themselves, the study finds.
The study, which surveyed 872 Canadian youth aged 12 to 17, is the third in a series created in partnership between the Angus Reid Institute and UBC. The first study helped inform a three-day virtual event, the inaugural National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism, hosted by UBC in June. The latest study is being published in tandem with a report on the key takeaways from the National Forum event that aims to mobilize community and government stakeholders to take action against anti-Asian and other forms of racism in Canada. Ryerson University will host the next National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism: Building Solidarities event on Nov. 9 and 10.
“No child should ever experience bullying and exclusion because of their race or ethnicity, but sadly, this study finds that racism is a daily reality for many Canadian children,” says UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono (he/him). “I am hopeful that this study, along with our report from UBC’s inaugural National Forum on Anti-Asian racism, will spur urgently needed national conversations in the fight against racism in Canada.”
Survey respondents were also asked about a number of issues and events related to racial discrimination throughout Canada’s history to gauge their self-reported level of awareness of these issues and events. One-quarter (26 per cent) of respondents say they learned a lot about racism in Canada throughout history at school, but nearly as many (21 per cent) say they haven’t learned anything at all about it. Furthermore, one-third of kids say they never learned anything about slavery in Canada, half say they didn’t learn of the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, three-in-five say schools didn’t teach them about the head tax on Chinese immigrants, and four-in-five say the Komagata Maru ship never came up in their classrooms.