Ebene News – CA – 2021 Census: Canadians talk about race But the census has not caught up

Dalla Lana Fellow, University of Toronto

Bryony Lau does not work, advise, own parts, receive funds from any organization that could benefit from this article, and has not declared any affiliation other than his research organization

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In May, Canadians will be asked again if they identify as a member of a visible minority when they complete the long-form census But it’s a concept and a term that has become more and more out of date with the times

The pandemic has exposed racial inequalities, and racial justice activist groups, like Black Lives Matter, have put anti-black racism high on the public agenda Systemic racism, rather than visible minority status is at the center of the debate While Canadians now speak more explicitly of race, the census has not yet caught up with its delay

“We’re going to have to ask ourselves what do we want to do with this category now?” says Michael Haan, demographer and member of a committee that advises Statistics Canada on ethnocultural diversity According to him, the committee has had many internal debates on terminology

Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, Based on Decades of Research, Says Race is a Social Construct There is no basis for classifying people by race, but racial prejudice and discrimination have very real effects

The question is: how do you get relevant data from the census and other surveys on the impact of systemic racism?

Statistics Canada tries to collect this information without asking questions about race directly Race-based data is needed, says Jean-Pierre Corbeil, diversity specialist at Statistics Canada But he wonders if it really requires doing reference to race in the census

Historically, the government has been reluctant to ask questions directly about race, which led to a lack of disaggregated data After World War II, the census used indirect methods to estimate the non-white population and non-Indigenous through racial proxies such as language or ethnocultural origin

That changed in 1996, says political scientist Debra Thompson, when Statistics Canada began asking Canadians if they identified as a visible minority The term, Thompson notes, gives the impression that “things are unrelated to race when of course they absolutely are”

The question on visible minorities was added to the census due to the Employment Equity Act In order to measure how the white population compared to the non-white population behaves in the labor market as this law requires the government to know who is a visible minority

For the purposes of employment equity law, Haan says, the question works. But he recognizes the downsides: “Is this a perfect facsimile of race or racialization?” No it’s not “

Many have criticized and still criticize the government’s approach The United Nations has repeatedly stressed that the term “visible minority” encompasses various communities and threatens to erase the differences between them Corbeil says Statistics Canada is well aware of the criticisms

However, changing the terminology is politically sensitive Moving away from that would likely require amending the Employment Equity Act, says Fo Niemi, head of the Montreal Action Research Center on Race Relations

Instead, Statistics Canada is trying to meet the demand for more race-disaggregated data through special participatory surveys and increasing the sample sizes of marginalized people to allow for improved analysis.

For example, with the support of the Federal Secretariat for the Fight against Racism, it produced a socio-economic analysis on the black population

During the pandemic, census data was also combined with other statistics to show that death rates are higher in neighborhoods with visible minorities

“What people really want is to have information about Black Canadians, information about South Asians or Latin American Canadians,” says Corbeil But these categories are also controversial White, South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean or Japanese are options that non-Indigenous Canadians can choose from during the census “Other” is also an option, but many feel not represented by the list

Population groups, as Statistics Canada calls them, have remained largely unchanged since 1996 The agency uses the list, which was developed through an interdepartmental process in the 1980s – according to Thompson, the how the groups were chosen is “a bit of a mystery”

They are now part of Canada’s national statistical standards and are widely used by the federal government, including in the Monthly Labor Force Survey, which began recording visible minority status as of July 2020

Statistics Canada considered modifying the list An alternative was to expand it, but this risked making the responses too similar to the separate question on ethnocultural origin Another was to shorten the list and provide broader categories Statistics Canada even tested this approach in a test of the census in 2019 Respondents were asked to choose their “offspring” from seven options: North American; Latin American; European; North Africa; African, Afro-Caribbean or African-Canadian; Middle East or West Asia; and other Asians

But according to Corbeil, the problem was that Statistics Canada could not identify who was black because black Canadians are very diverse and come from all over the world. This is important, as the agency’s consultations indicate that “a lot of people want to identify themselves as black Canadians,” says Corbeil With the test inconclusive, options have not been changed for the 2021 census

Read also:
What’s in a nutshell? How to Face 150 Years of Racial Stereotypes: Don’t Call Me Resilient EP 1

Dr Andrew Pinto, a public health and preventive medicine specialist and family physician, is a researcher at the Upstream Lab, which has studied racial data collection by healthcare providers, says that if patients understand that disclosure of their race will be used for systemic racism, they are ready to provide the information

For now, Statistics Canada is reluctant to refer directly to race anywhere in the census The agency is cautious and for good reason, says Haan In order to compare the data over time, the questions and answers should stay the same “The census is the gold standard,” he said, “so any changes are carefully considered”

“Yes, we need racially disaggregated data [But] we also need governments brave enough to create targeted policies”

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2021 Census

Ebene News – CA – 2021 Census: Canadians talk about race But the census has not caught up

Source: https://theconversation.com/census-2021-canadians-are-talking-about-race-but-the-census-hasnt-caught-up-158343