New survey finds racism is 'alive and well' in B.C.

New survey finds racism is 'alive and well' in B.C.

A new study commissioned by Vancity found that 82 per cent of visible minorities in B.C. say they have experienced prejudice or some form of discrimination.

The online survey — conducted by Insights West — questioned more than 1,200 British Columbians of different races and origins about their opinions on racism and discrimination.

Of the visible minorities surveyed, 33 per cent reported they have felt that they have been a target of abuse because of their ethnic background.

Eleven per cent said the experience of discrimination has been traumatic enough to make them consider moving to a new location.

Catherine Ludgate, Vancity's manager of community investment, said the findings show British Columbians may not be as tolerant as they believe they are.

"There's certainly something to that," said Ludgate.

"It says there's a level of intolerance and perhaps we're not as open or as welcoming as we think we are."

The survey also asked British Columbians about trends in racism in recent months.

Twenty-eight per cent of respondents said they think racism has increased in the past year, and three people out of five surveyed think the election of U.S. President Donald Trump will have a negative impact on minority groups and immigrants in British Columbia.

The contradiction of multiculturalism

The survey also asked British Columbians about their opinions on multiculturalism and immigration, and that's where Ludgate said the numbers show a contradiction.

Despite the high number of visible minorities who reported to have experienced racism or discrimination, 82 per cent of all respondents say they think multiculturalism has been "very good" or "good" for Canada.

More than three-quarters say they think the number of immigrants to Canada should remain the same or increase.

"The majority of British Columbians are welcoming and embrace multiculturalism.

"However, it's clear that racism is alive and well in our communities and we need to call it out when we see it," said Ludgate.

The poll found that there weren't any marked differences in attitudes between those surveyed in major centres such as Metro Vancouver and those in rural parts of B.C.

The report on the findings states: "We might expect this highly varied social geography to translate to different attitudes around the desirability of immigration, refugee settlement, and diversity more generally, but this turns out to be a false assumption.

"For all three of these issues, neither Vancouver nor the rest of B.C. should be seen as more open or cosmopolitan in inclination."