Eliminate the term “Visible Minority” in Canada
We the undersigned affirm that the term “Visible Minority”, which is officially used by the government of Canada (through the Equity Act) and the media, does not work in favour of any Canadian, regardless of race, colour, ethnicity or place of origin and must be stopped.
In Canada, the term visible minority refers to whether a person belongs to a visible minority group as defined by the Employment Equity Act and, if so, the visible minority group to which the person belongs. The Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour”. The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: Chinese, South Asian, Black, Arab, West Asian, Filipino, Southeast Asian, Latin American, Japanese and Korean.
In a broader sense, a person of visible minority is someone who is visibly not one of the majority race in a given population.
The classification “visible minorities” has attracted controversy over the years. In March 2007, for instance, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination described the term as racist because it singles out a group.
Another criticism arises regarding the composition of “visible minorities” as defined by the Canadian government. Critics have noted that groups classified as “visible minorities” have little in common with each other, as they include some disadvantaged ethnic groups and other groups who are not disadvantaged.
It is time for Canada to abolish any term or way of thinking which limits our growth in the ever changing global village.
It is time to stop the usage of Hyphenate-Canadian, which in recent years is more focused on, and associated with, the “visible minority” population.
Statistics Canada projects that about one-third of Canada’s population — up to 14.4 million people — will be a visible minority by 2031.
By 2031, the Toronto region’s white population will be the new “visible minority,” according to a Statistics Canada study.
The city and its suburbs are expected to surpass the 50 per cent visible minority mark in 2017. By 2031, almost 63 per cent of the region’s population will be from a visible minority community, up from 43 per cent counted in the 2006 census.
In Vancouver, the population of visible minorities is projected to reach 59 per cent by 2031, up from 42 per cent in 2006. A study in 2008 showed that in Vancouver, visible minorities accounted for 51 per cent of the population. In Richmond, BC there were even more “non-white” immigrants at 65.1 per cent. Burnaby had 55.4 per cent, Surrey 46.1 per cent, Coquitlam 38.6 per cent and New Westminster 29.6 per cent.
In Montreal, the population of visible minorities is projected to reach 31 per cent, more than double the 16 per cent counted in 2006.
So how can we continue to refer to dominant populations in key urban centres as “visible minority”?
Reasons why this term does not serve any Canadian well:
• Separates people of Canada and contributes to racism and discrimination
• Canada has a reputation as a defender of human rights. By using terms which distinguish specific groups of people –especially based on the colour of skin or ethnicity — the reputation of Canada could be damaged considering that the United Nations has called on Canada to remove the term concept from official government policies.
• The concept of distinguishing people by their colour of skin sets Canada back from moving forward to successfully integrate people of all races and ethnicities, and has a negative affect on more economical prosperity.
• Considering that major metropolitan centers in Canada will be dominated by the “non-white” population in the near future, the “white” population will become the new “visible minority” in those regions. Would it make sense to continue calling “non-white” populations “visible minorities”?
• The concept and term “visible minority” has not benefited anyone in Canada. It’s not in favor of “white” or “non-white” population and only contributes to mutual discrimination.
• The argument that the concept “Visible Minority” has protected non-white immigrants in Canada against discrimination, in terms of employment or any other cause, has no merit.
• People should be hired for jobs based on merit and competency and not on the colour of skin, ethnicity or their place of origin.
• It’s time to unite the people by not only inspiring individuals but the entire nation to achieve great goals. Separating people by skin colour or ethnicity does not benefit our society in any way and keeps us back from realizing our immense potentials.
• We may have a long way to go to rid ourselves of all types of discrimination and to change our artificial frame of mind, but we may commence our ascent towards achieving those goals by eliminating policies which are impediments to our actual growth. Eradicating the concept of “visible minority” would be an excellent start towards such objectives.