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Moving Beyond Race

2020/06/17title

By: Rhoda Akuol Philip, Lead Research Assistant at The Mosaic Institute

In recent weeks, news of racism and police brutality in Canada and in the United States have made it clear that there is still a lot to do in the fight against systemic racism. Fortunately, important anti-racism voices are being amplified, not only in the United States, but also around the globe, including here in Canada. It is imperative that we continue our support for such efforts against racism long after these protests and demonstrations, so as to break down the forces of division pitting us against one another on the basis of race. We should also use the momentum gained from these efforts to highlight other elements of systemic racism, including job and housing discrimination, which continue to negatively impact racial/ethnic minorities here in Canada and outside. Doing so will place us in a better position to tackle some of the many common threats currently facing humanity, which include, among others:

Emerging Diseases Let’s not forget we are in the middle of a global pandemic, COVID-19, that is claiming lives, threatening livelihoods, while continuing to disrupt social life, across all races. Recent reports from the CDC show that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting racialized groups, including Black people. Therefore, our solidarity against racial injustice and police brutality should dovetail with solidarity against the disparities revealed by COVID-19. Doing that will help us control further spread of COVID-19 and potentially save lives and our economies.

Rising Inequality and Poverty Let’s use the fight against racism to highlight the important issues of poverty and socio-economic inequality that have and continue to cripple various racialized segments of our communities. As it stands, race-based statistics show patterns of racialized economic inequality, which suggest that combating racism can be an important tool to address rising global inequality and poverty, a priority goal in the Sustainable Development Goals agenda 2030.

Climate Change The threat of climate change is real and far from over. Emerging evidence shows that there are racial implications of climate change. In particular, racialized communities with poor infrastructures are vulnerable to problems associated with climate change, including but not limited to flooding, energy inefficiencies, and fewer public transit options. Hence, we should use our solidarity to push for systemic and sustainable actions, which will not only address these disparities, but also allow us to tackle climate change impacts on all races.

As a final thought, we live in polarizing times, but we need to confront these difficult times with a different mentality. In the spirit of the Mosaic Institute, we should encourage meaningful conversations around issues of race in order to find common grounds, promote mutual understanding, and create peaceful coexistence within our communities.

References

  1. N.B. police shooting of Indigenous woman leads to questions on 'wellness checks'
  2. COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups
  3. CNN: New video appears to show three police officers kneeling on George Floyd *please note this video contains graphic content
  4. Five climate issues Canada will have to tackle in 2020
  5. Canada’s Colour Coded Income Inequality
  6. Climate Change: Racialization & Environmental Justice in Toronto
  7. Global Economic Inequality
  8. Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Rhoda is a collaborator, agile thinker, and resourceful individual who is able to identify gaps and propose ways to fill them. Passionate about helping decision makers make data-informed decisions, Rhoda has held various research, and data analyst roles within different work environments and cultures, including at start-up companies, nonprofit organizations, and in academic departments. Rhoda recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree at UBC Sauder School of Business and is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She aspires to contribute to data-informed policy decisions that will empower existing institutions to deliver on education, equity, and peace and justice to some of the hard-to-reach places. Rhoda spends her spare time reading self-help books, coding, and writing personal journals.*