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Old 05-20-2011, 05:20 PM
 
7 posts, read 114,368 times
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Hoping actual blacks that live in Toronto, Canada or who have lived there can provide some pointers.

I'm thinking about moving to Toronto, Canada from Europe. Never being to Toronto, Canada (i'll visit soon), but some black people I have spoken to here in Europe and in the USA (particularly) make the country and city sounds like the "best" place to be.

I've done some online research and they're a lot of mixed opinions based on people's experiences and news stories. However, what is alarming me are discussions about covert racism and the fact the majority of blacks (West Indies seems to pop-up alot) are not doing particularly well in Canada even though blacks are the smallest minority group over there.

Everywhere in the world is a challenge to get on and you can only do your best. But what is living in Toronto, Canada really like for newly arrived and established blacks? What are the core challenges (apart from the obvious ones like job hunting, etc)?

I don't want to jump from one "fire" to another, if Toronto, Canada is no better than Europe for Blacks.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:36 AM
 
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Black people have a small presence in Toronto. I find them to be friendly and no different from other racial groups. And I don't think there is the US type of black stereotype in Canada as well.

regarding blacks not doing well in Canada, well, that really depends on the individuals. I personally have met several highly successful black people, in both the private and public sector here in Toronto. Most people will judge and value you based on your personality and achievement, not on your skin color. In major Canadian cities, even the whites are hardly such an obvious "majority" any more if you walk on the street, race is becoming less and less of an issue for most people. The important thing is to think of yourself as one of the guys out there, not one of the black or white guys.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Toronto
71 posts, read 340,043 times
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SangoKing, I am white of Euro origin so I'm probably not the demographic you were looking for an answer from. I understand your concerns about anti-black prejudices, but you were vague about your background outside of that. Anyone of any colour coming without an extremely hard work ethic and/or education credentials is not "going to do particularly well". Toronto is a good place to be for employment, but things aren't going to magically come to you. I think that if you have the credentials and work ethic Toronto is a great place for the rewards to materialize (not counting the barriers to having your credentials valid for Canada). I hope I'm not naive in touting it, but the Ontario Human Rights Code itself disallows harassment or discrimination (being denied employment or housing) because of your colour.

Two of my close friends are of West Indian roots, one is doing very well with his own comfortably successful IT-related business and the other works in an office without about 4 people reporting to him. Actually, a West Indian acquaintance of my friend helped me get my first office job as he was an executive in the company (I believe there were also a couple of other West Indian and Black executives in this large international company with US headquarters). Regarding the two friends I mentioned, it's not an easy lifestyle, the former is comfortable financially but is chained to his Blackberry, the latter sacrifices a lot of time to be at the office but does it because he likes the money. If you're not careful, whether you're Black, Caucasian, Asian it doesn't matter, many places can easily suck you into a live-to-work lifestyle here (I'm basing this off the stereotype in my mind of a European work-to-live mindset). I used to have another Jamaican friend who has worked for the government for a long time (financial related dept)--I met his co-workers a few times, let me tell that as a white guy of Euro roots I felt like a minority lol. There was also a brief government job I had over a decade ago where a black guy was the director of the office.

Last edited by Equalizer101; 05-21-2011 at 04:26 PM..
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Old 05-22-2011, 01:35 AM
 
49 posts, read 541,112 times
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Let me chime in as a black person who has lived in Toronto.

SangoKing, a lot of what you have heard about Canada is quite true. Though no one will ever call you names, an analysis of Canadian society will show you that blacks are getting the short end of the stick.

You will hear a lot of the Canadian liberal WASP favourite self rightous hymn of Canada not being as racist as America. Already, someone talked about how Canada does not have the "US type of black stereotyping". The numbers show that the US treats its black citizens way better than Canada.

*There are 42 African American congressmen/women out of the 430 congressmen/women. That is like 9.8% of congress. Not bad considering that blacks make up 12.9% of the entire US population. Still not proportionate representation but definitely getting there.

Moving on to Canada. There are 308 members of parliament and since blacks make up 2.5% of the Canadian population it would be reasonable to expect 6 black MPs. Guess what, we do not even have 3 black MPs. Now tell me Canada is an equitable society as far as blacks are concerned. You would think that in Toronto, where they have 470,000 blacks, we would have a handful of seats.

Some poster talked about there being a couple of black executives in large multi national corporations. I hope they are not referring to middle management as executive. I would refer to executives as those folks who are at least at the VP level and appear on a company's invest relations webpage. These people are already in the public domain and I challenge the poster to post some links to these corporations' websites. Blacks are nearly non existant in corporate Canada.

*On the other hand corporate America is littered with examples of black executives. And they are supposed to have stereotypes about black people. Major corporations like American Express, Time Warner, Meryl Lynch have been headed by black CEOs. VPs are a dime-a-dozen. Oracle, Walmart, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Boeing, City Bank, and numerous other fortune 500 companies have had black VPs.

Success of Toronto's black population should not be just restricted to what sort of employment blacks attain. Another metric is ownership of the means of production. I do not recall ever coming across a black owned franchised car dealership in Toronto. If there is one I stand corrected. Is there a black person in Toronto who owns a No Frills supermarket franchise? How many black owned hedge funds, mutual funds, and private equity firms are there on Bay street? Any black corporate law firms on Bay Street?

*In the US car makers like Ford, GM, Chrysler have had minority dealership divisions that assist African Americans set up their own dealerships. Ford America even attained its target of acquiring $4Billion worth of parts from minority suppliers. The other Detroit giants have similar programs. McDonalds in the United States has a minority franchisee program that even lowers the capital requirements for minorities and assists them to break into the system. America has black owned corporations, banks, mutual funds, hedge funds, investment banks e.t.c

Anyway, this is my view of Canada and Toronto in particular. In fact I could write a whole book about the black experience in Toronto. At least make an informed decision before immigrating. You might be better off in Europe or moving to the US.
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:37 AM
 
455 posts, read 1,053,010 times
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In Toronto I don't feel there is any real black-white dichotomy like you would have in some US cities. Blacks are just one among several ethnic groups in toronto so they don't dominate as much attention. Not to mention there is not a singular "black" community. A lot of blacks in TO are of Caribbean background representing a multitude of countries in itself as well as those from African nations.
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:14 AM
 
86 posts, read 291,925 times
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Just to be fair, I don't think the percentage of MPs and corporate executives (compared with their population %) are an objective representation of how certain races are treated. It is not a scientific assessment as it is based on the assumption that people from various racial background have exactly the same education, skills and business/political experiences as other races in general,which may or may not be the case.

For example, to be a corporate executive, one is likely to have at least a university degree, 20 years of industry experience, and great track record of leadership. Do all racial groups have similar percentage of people owning these and therefore SHOULD have representation corresponding to their population percentage? I don't know. Employment and promotion is based on merit, not race. It applies both ways: you should not reject someone because he is of a certain race when he/she is qualified, nor should you hire someone just because he is of a certain race either to make the diversity percentage look fair when he/she is less qualified than other candidates.

Last edited by evissone; 05-22-2011 at 08:04 AM..
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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I am an African American (born and raised) that has lived in both Europe and now Canada. My family loves it here and so do I. Our overall quality of life is better than it was in the U.S; so come on over and see for yourself.
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:52 AM
 
49 posts, read 541,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evissone View Post
Just to be fair, I don't think the percentage of MPs and corporate executives (compared with their population %) are an objective representation of how certain races are treated. It is not a scientific assessment as it is based on the assumption that people from various racial background have exactly the same education, skills and business/political experiences as other races in general,which may or may not be the case.

For example, to be a corporate executive, one is likely to have at least a university degree, 20 years of industry experience, and great track record of leadership. Do all racial groups have similar percentage of people owning these and therefore SHOULD have representation corresponding to their population percentage? I don't know. Employment and promotion is based on merit, not race. It applies both ways: you should not reject someone because he is of a certain race when he/she is qualified, nor should you hire someone just because he is of a certain race either to make the diversity percentage look fair when he/she is less qualified than other candidates.
In a fair society where everyone is treated the same there should be proportionate representation in all spheres of life. Unless, you subscribe to professor Rushton's unscientific theory of some races being more intelligent than others. College drop outs like Stockwell Day and Jason Kenney went on to become prominent cabinet ministers.

If certain races are not attaining university degrees, then we should question why? Why were some black Torontonians advocating for a black only high school? I am the son of an immigrant academic parent who happens to specialize in issues of how the school system treats black pupils. I could write a whole volume on this subject. Look at how whitewashed Canadian medical schools are. Do you now that until recently McMaster University's med school had Swan Lake as part of their interview process. How is a black kid from Malvern or Jane/Finch supposed to know about Swan Lake?

Anyway, in the United States, census and immigration statistics have concluded that African immigrants have the highest university attainment rate than any other group in the states - even higher than Asians. Of course, this is because they are a self selecting sample. Canada also has a lot of these educated African immigrants. Why can they not head a corporation or even a crown corporation. Besides, managing an established TSX 300 coroporation hardly takes any business acumen. These are already well oiled machines and the job of the CEO is just to articulate a vision and delegate. Why do you think there is a major outcry when it comes to executive compensation? A start up company is a whole different ball game and that takes major talent. Trust me, there are a lot of black people capable of running Manulife, RBC, Hydro One e.t.c

Do not tell me that one needs special qualifications, experience, and education to become an MP. Look at the 19 and 22 year old kids recently elected to the house of commons. Even former hospital oderlies like Gilles Duceppe have succesfully led a political party. Why does Toronto, with a black population of 470K not have black MPs.

Last edited by DannyCrane; 05-22-2011 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 05-22-2011, 02:24 PM
 
207 posts, read 896,599 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyCrane View Post
In a fair society where everyone is treated the same there should be proportionate representation in all spheres of life. Unless, you subscribe to professor Rushton's unscientific theory of some races being more intelligent than others. College drop outs like Stockwell Day and Jason Kenney went on to become prominent cabinet ministers.

If certain races are not attaining university degrees, then we should question why? Why were some black Torontonians advocating for a black only high school? I am the son of an immigrant academic parent who happens to specialize in issues of how the school system treats black pupils. I could write a whole volume on this subject. Look at how whitewashed Canadian medical schools are. Do you now that until recently McMaster University's med school had Swan Lake as part of their interview process. How is a black kid from Malvern or Jane/Finch supposed to know about Swan Lake?

Anyway, in the United States, census and immigration statistics have concluded that African immigrants have the highest university attainment rate than any other group in the states - even higher than Asians. Of course, this is because they are a self selecting sample. Canada also has a lot of these educated African immigrants. Why can they not head a corporation or even a crown corporation. Besides, managing an established TSX 300 coroporation hardly takes any business acumen. These are already well oiled machines and the job of the CEO is just to articulate a vision and delegate. Why do you think there is a major outcry when it comes to executive compensation? A start up company is a whole different ball game and that takes major talent. Trust me, there are a lot of black people capable of running Manulife, RBC, Hydro One e.t.c

Do not tell me that one needs special qualifications, experience, and education to become an MP. Look at the 19 and 22 year old kids recently elected to the house of commons. Even former hospital oderlies like Gilles Duceppe have succesfully led a political party. Why does Toronto, with a black population of 470K not have black MPs.

To be fair you are not comparing apples to apples:

- The U.S. is about ten times bigger (population) than Canada.

- African Americans were brought to North America in chains about 400 years ago and only recently, the past 40 years, have been able to make significant social, political, and economic gains v.s. Canadians of African descent that are first or second generation immigrants.

- The U.S. strives to be more pluralistic than multicultural (which seems to be the goal here in Canada). As a result, the U.S. is for the most part segregated (in terms of where people live) along racial and ethnic lines.

I love my country and I'm very proud of how far we have come, but it's not perfect. The following article, in the Economist, sums up some of the differences between how Canadians and Americans view and treat new immigrants.

Immigration: The United States v Canada | The Economist

Last edited by krock67; 05-22-2011 at 02:44 PM..
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:00 PM
 
49 posts, read 541,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krock67 View Post
To be fair you are not comparing apples to apples:

- The U.S. is about ten times bigger (population) than Canada.

- African Americans were brought to North America in chains about 400 years ago and only recently, the past 40 years, have been able to make significant social, political, and economic gains v.s. Canadians of African descent that are first or second generation immigrants.

- The U.S. strives to be more pluralistic than multicultural (which seems to be the goal here in Canada). As a result, the U.S. is for the most part segregated (in terms of where people live) along racial and ethnic lines.

I love my country and I'm very proud of how far we have come, but it is not perfect. The following article, in the Economist, sums up some of the differences between how Canadians and Americans view and treat new immigrants.

Immigration: The United States v Canada | The Economist
To avoid comparing apples to oranges I have used proportions and percentages as opposed to real numbers - this should account for the population difference.

With all due respect, this argument is not specifically about how Toronto treats immigrants in general but black people. Unfortunately, black people in Toronto suffer a double whammy - being black and being an immigrant.

I do not understand what you mean by the US striving to be more pluralistic than multicultural. Please explain this phenomenon further. My understanding is that the US aims for a melting pot scenario compared to the Canadian multi-cultural model.

No, the US is not perfect but it presents blacks with way more opportunities for upward social mobility than Canada does. The numbers speak for themselves. In fact, a 2005 study concluded that with a purchasing power of $700billion, black America would be the 9th wealthiest nation in the world. Yes, wealthier than countries like Mexico. It is a pity that the African American population has not yet mastered the art of harnessing all this economic power and using it for influencing policy and uplifting the general black population like the Jews have. In time they will get there. Black Canada is not even worth half of Somalia's GDP.

The fact that blacks have been in the US for 400 years is not that relevant considering the fact that for the bulk of those years blacks were treated as a sub human species in America. It is only after the civil rights movement of the 60s that blacks have started to make major inroads. Blacks were only allowed to officially immigrate to Canada after the new 1962 immigration act. This is also the same time that some African states started gaining independence from colonial Britain. Basically, the 60s was a time for civil rights gains for black people world over. Black freedom is a relatively new concept. Why is it that within the same time frame African Americans have made way more progress?

Last edited by DannyCrane; 05-22-2011 at 03:26 PM..
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