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‘More work ahead of us’: 95% of survey respondents believe there’s racism in New Brunswick

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A new survey found that majority of respondents believe there is racism in New Brunswick, and most believe that racism is systemic.

The survey on racism was launched by the New Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC) on Dec. 1, 2020. Its findings were released Tuesday morning.

With 930 respondents, the survey found that 95 per cent believe there is racism in the province, and 83.6 per cent have witnessed it first-hand.

In December, NBMC said it launched the survey because very little data was available on New Brunswickers’ perceptions of racism in their own province.

“A lot of time it’s kind of erased or dismissed as not a big deal in New Brunswick, in Canada at large,” NBMC project co-ordinator Husoni Raymond told Global News in December.

“We just want to understand what people of colour, Black people, Indigenous people and other ethnicities are experiencing, and how we can come up with collective solutions to address those issues.”

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Read more: Survey launched on racism in New Brunswick ‘open to everyone’

According to Tuesday’s release, 84 per cent of respondents said they recognize unconscious racism in New Brunswick, but 75 per cent identified intentional racism.

“The results of the survey confirmed what NBMC already knew, that racism is living within our communities,” said Moncef Lakouas, president of NBMC, in the release.

“The fact that 758 respondents witnessed or experienced racism first-hand means that the question of whether it exists, is no longer a topic up for debate.”

The report said 71 per cent of respondents believe there is systemic racism in New Brunswick.

Racism was identified in the labour and housing market, justice, healthcare and education systems.

“Incidents of racism include discrimination against Black, Indigenous and/or people of colour (BIPOC) employees in the service sector from their colleagues, supervisors and customers,” the release read.

“Respondents highlighted racism by police towards Indigenous people, racism through social media, and microaggressions as pertinent issues.”

These results come just two months after the New Brunswick government shut down an opposition call for an inquiry into systemic racism in justice and policing in the province.

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The Wolastoqey First Nation and Mi’kmaq Nations have urged the government for over six months to call an inquiry, following the deaths of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi at the hands of police over the summer. Premier Blaine Higgs has so far resisted, saying an inquiry should be federal in scope.

However, the New Brunswick Multicultural Centre is renewing widespread calls for action.

“Racism has permeated all aspects of our society,” said Ginette Gautreau with the NBMC in Tuesday’s release.

“These findings demonstrate the need for urgent action to address barriers to inclusion and racism within the private and public sectors.”

The survey report showed that some workplaces have taken action to address racism and some non-racialized respondents reflected on their own roles in combating racism.

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“Other responses highlighted systemic racism, including one respondent who stated that racism in their workplace was ‘denied on the surface’ and another respondent stating it was ‘not safe’ to discuss,” the report read.

Read more: Over 50% of Canadians think systemic racism built into country’s institutions, poll says

Concerns also stemmed from fear of reprisals and fear of being perceived negatively by colleagues.

“Some respondents raised concern that, as racialized people, the onus fell on them to educate people about racism.”

Husoni Raymond said in Tuesday’s release that the survey findings show that New Brunswick is in a place where people and organizations are willing to acknowledge racism.

“It also demonstrates that we have more work ahead of us to uproot and eradicate racism in all its forms.”

Now, the NBMC is calling on the provincial government to use this data and develop an anti-racism strategy for New Brunswick.

“NBMC continues to do its part to address racism; but we know it will take action and cooperation from the government, citizens and organizations to attain meaningful change,” Gautreau said.