Identifying within a visible minority in modern society can be difficult in regard to creating a social sphere and seeking opportunities as humanity, in part of history, has founded and nurtured the social construct of racism.
Visible minority to be defined as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are not Caucasian in race or non-white in color,” commonly refers to citizens of immigration status whether it be first, second, or third generation, etc.
Prejudiced and antagonizing behaviors oriented at minority groups can have severe psychosocial and overall welfare implications on individuals who identify within them, especially if they occur on a regular basis.
Due to immutable characteristics that range from skin color to ethnic physical features, the marginalization of said individuals continues to take place in the form of discrimination, racialization, and stereotypes all of which remain on the micro level despite institutional initiatives to rid of them.
The familiar term that we refer to as ‘racism,’ in hearing about acts of racism across medias, can be alternatively labelled as forms of ‘old racism’; an explicit subordination of peoples based on physical characteristics that outlie them from the majority population. Though this definition may match previous personal understandings for the term, the introduction of the concept of ‘new racism’ really puts the rapid pace of societal evolution into perspective.
Implicit in nature though communicated through behaviors and language, ‘new racism’ “expresses negative views about racialized groups of people without actually using the concept of race”. Contemporary society does not condone overt racism on the systemic level as economic, political, and social institutions have long since implemented policies in attempts to eradicate such historical ideologies, yet these initiatives to legislate morality have fallen short of increasing morality on an intrapersonal level.
This modernized version as ‘new racism’ plays serious detriments to non-visible minorities within their economic aspects of life by blocking job opportunities as employers hold internal preferences for hire, those of which visible minority applicants may be fully qualified for. Or perhaps in cases where minority individuals have secured employment, a racialized wage gap persists.
In a Canadian victimization survey, 56.3% of participants, all of which were immigrants, reported facing discrimination in the workplace or while applying for a job/promotion. In addition to facing these financially rooted issues, socialization is often discouraging as language barriers and lack of similarity to peers hinders individuals’ ability to build a social circle.
To put in it a harsher but nonetheless realistic way, people quite plainly may think less of lifestyles that differ from theirs because of cultural stigmatizations. Under this same survey, 23% of participants collectively reported that they experienced discrimination due to their race, ethnicity, or culture. These external factors are few of many that lend hand to the psychosocial hardships immigrants and their succeeding generations struggle to cope with.
Discrimination, racialization, and stereotypes continue to thrive subconsciously within the worldviews of individuals because they have been engrained into belief systems intergenerationally. That being said, it is not to be concluded that everyone is born inherently racist or that everyone and anyone means ill intention, but to merely acknowledge how racism continues to exist in new forms allows for us to act more mindfully and all inclusively.
We yet hole the ability to flip the paradigm to not only explicitly act as a color-blind society on an institutional level, but also implicitly feel so with genuine intent on the personal level.
Blog post by Mackenzie Jones, Volunteer
Criminal victimization in Canada, 2009. (2015, November 30). Retrieved March 13, 2021, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2010002/article/11340-eng.htm
Government of Canada, S. (2020, January 20). Visible minority of person. Retrieved March 13, 2021, from https://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3Var.pl?Function=DEC&Id=45152
Satzewich, V., Liodakis, N. (2017). “Race” and ethnicity in Canada: A critical introduction. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press. https://www.worldcat.org/title/race-and-ethnicity-in-canada-a-critical-introduction/oclc/828614580