The Status of Racism and Discrimination at Red Robber College (Medical Radiologic Technology)- Winnipeg
In 2011 y. between 38 Canadian students, 5 emigrant students were Dismissal from Red River College (Medical Radiologic Technology) and this tragedy repeated and repeats every year with different silence way!
Racism is a common concern among all generation of immigrants, recent as well as second and third generation. Resettling into a new country and more importantly a new community is already a challenge for most. This challenge is compounded with instances of racism and discrimination. A report by Carter (2009) highlights the struggles faced by privately sponsored refugees, whereby one third felt that they had faced discrimination in their workplace, schools and public places. An additional struggle identified was their inability to enter the workforce due to several factors including lack of recognition of their credentials, no Canadian experience and language or accent problems. Another study by Carter et al. (2009) on the same population showed that many of the refugees had claimed facing discrimination in the housing market, similar to the experiences of Aboriginal people.
The workplace is another obstacle for many immigrants where racism and discrimination is common. However, racism and discrimination are not always confrontational and sometimes systemic whereby “policies and practices that adversely affect ethno-racial and ethno-cultural groups are embedded as the social norm” (Department of Canadian Heritage, 2005, p.8). Lack of recognition of foreign credentials, lack of support in bridging programs and employment discrimination were some of the major themes discovered in a recent publication by Schmidt (2010) looking at discrimination as a barrier for immigrant teachers in Manitoba. Although the majority of the teachers in the study had impressive qualifications, including many years of experience, advanced diplomas and fluency in several languages, they were struggling to get employed. Sources revealed that immigrant teachers are at the bottom of the employment spectrum, because of their accent and because of their immigrant identity (Schmidt, 2010).
Individual racism is also something the teachers reported facing in schools. One respondent working in a Winnipeg school stated,
“I was called by the administrator and I was told that I should be wearing appropriate clothes for the workplace. . . . I was wearing my Indian clothes, and that was not considered appropriate” (Schmidt, 2010).
Another example of racial discrimination within the education system is shown as follows, We were sitting in the teachers’ room and we were talking, and the principal asked [my colleague, another immigrant teacher] . . . “What is your major?” And she said, instead of “Polish /po_l__/,” “Polish /p_l__/.” And he started [in front of] teachers, secretaries, asking “how do you [expect] to be a teacher with those pronunciation mistakes?”(Schmidt, 2010).
Schmidt (2010) has reported more examples of discrimination in her study and explains that it is not only in the schools where teachers are facing discrimination, but also during their bridging programs with their Canadian peers, as well as in the job market.
Perceptions of racism are also common within other areas of society, like the justice department. A study conducted in a local Nigerian church in Winnipeg revealed that 31.3% of Nigerians did not agree with the statement “Police treat all ethnic groups fairly” and 53.7% “did not know”, or were ”neutral” (Oriola & Adeyanju, 2011, p.643). Furthermore 20.9% believed that “Ethnic and racial minorities receive harsher sentences” (Oriola & Adeyanju, 2011, p.643). Although some of these responses were based on assumption or hearsay rather than personal experience, it gives an idea on what perceptions exist amongst other communities on the civil service.
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