A groundbreaking study released today takes a look into the lives of Black Canadians living in the GTA.
The Black Experience Project collected interviews with over 1,000 self-identified Black individuals in the GTA to get a greater understanding of the complexities of blackness and how their identity impacts their personal experiences.
The study, which took place over six years, was led by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, along with lead partners the United Way of Toronto and York Region, the YMCA of the Greater Toronto Area, and Ryerson’s Diversity Institute.
Findings reveal that direct experiences with racism are a common experience across the Black population. Two-thirds of those who identify as Black said they have experienced unfair treatment because of their race.
Eight out of ten reported experiencing one or more forms of day-to-day micro-aggressions such as others expecting their work to be inferior, or being treated suspiciously.
These experiences were commonplace regardless of age, gender and socio-economic status.
The study also found that there is a large difference between the attributes participants ascribe to the Black community and how they feel they are viewed by society in general.
The participants took pride in the contributions made by Black people in the GTA. But eight out of ten also felt that non-Black people had a negative impression of them.
Only 25% of participants felt the perception of Black individuals improved over the last decade.
“Insights from the research should be used to develop culturally relevant policies, programs and practices that are responsive to the needs, concerns and interests of the Black communities,” said Professor James, Jean Augustine of York University, in a release.
“Doing so is important if we are to experience real change in the lives of Black community members.”
The research study that involved three phases.
The first phase ran from May 2011 to March 2014 and involved extensive community engagement and outreach including discussions with Black community leaders in the GTA.
Phase 2 took place between April 2014 and July 2017 and involved in-depth in-person interviews with 1,504 self-identified Black individuals across the GTA.
The third phase began on July 19 and will use the research found in the first two phases to educate and engage the community and larger public.