British Columbians see progress in reducing racism and discrimination, study finds

Making progress on racism

Far more British Columbians say society has made progress on racism, than not, according to polling conducted by the Angus Reid Institute.

About seven in 10 from the province say definitively there’s been a bit of progress (42 per cent) or significant progress (29 per cent) whereas only about one in 10 assert it is worse (12 per cent).

The Sep. 27 poll is part of a series of polls examining the so-called “culture wars” or “woke” attitudes on race, gender and sexuality.

Slightly fewer British Columbians reported progress on racism (over the “past few generations”) as opposed to the 73 per cent of people who did so across Canada. Just 10 per cent of Canadians said racism is worse today than before, as opposed to 12 per cent of British Columbians. Quebecers brought the national rate down with a four per cent rate. And, another 12 per cent think there has been no progress made.

Half of Indigenous people report experiencing discrimination “sometimes” or “often” whereas 78 per cent of visible minorities (categorized as Blacks, Chinese and South Asians) do so; this contrasts with 27 per cent of Caucasians reporting so, according to the poll.

Men, especially those age 35 to 54 years old, report more discrimination than women.

The poll also explored elements of privilege: Canadians feel being white, attractive, a man and being born in Canada are advantageous.

In August, Angus Reid polled parents on parental consent for pronouns, finding 78 per cent of parents would like to be informed by their children’s school should their child prefer to be acknowledged with alternative pronouns. Forty-three per cent of parents said they want to consent to those changes whereas 35 per cent simply wanted to be informed. Fourteen per cent said schools should be able to keep those decisions between a student and their educators. The findings were nearly identical in B.C.

On Thursday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced he would evoke the notwithstanding clause to pass legislation called the parent inclusion and consent policy, which had recently been issued an injunction by a provincial court judge. The policy requires parental consent when children under 16 alter their names and pronouns at school.

The poll on racism came with this disclosure from the institute: "The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from July 26-31, 2023, among a representative randomized sample of 3,016 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Another 322 Canadians who do not identify as male or female and who are also members of the Forum were also surveyed as a population booster."

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