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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is inspired by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, acknowledges that racial injustices and prejudices still exist today. The day that Sharpeville, South Africa, police opened fire on a peaceful protest against apartheid "pass laws" in 1960 and killed 69 people is remembered on March 21 every year.

How to combat xenophobia and racial discrimination in daily life.

  • Increase understanding and awareness of racism, discrimination, and xenophobia in Canada by educating yourself and others about their history and current problems. Learn how mental biases can support systemic racism by listening to this podcast: Created Equal is the first episode of Season 2 of Eh Sayers.

  • When you see it, condemn racism, discrimination, and xenophobia. You can do this by denouncing racist or discriminatory actions and speech and by showing your support for the people who are the targets.

  • By hearing and amplifying the voices of Indigenous peoples and racialized and religious minority communities and assisting organizations and projects that advance racial equality.

  • Promote racial equality and anti-racism everywhere you go, including in the workplace, schools, and communities.

How discrimination can affect your mental health

Here are just some of the effects racism can have on your overall health:

  • Poorer sleep

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Higher BMI and obesity

  • Inflammation

  • Coronary heart disease

  • High blood pressure

  • Stress Hormone regulation

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Psychosis

Here’s a research review that examined data demonstrating a connection between three crucial mechanisms of racism and outcomes in mental and physical health. People can experience health inequality as a result of:

The racism that is institutionalized or structural refers to practices in which racial groups that are deemed superior are favoured while racial groups that are deemed inferior suffer disadvantages. Poorer health outcomes, for instance, may result from structural racism in the criminal justice system.

Language, values, the media, and symbols are used to spread the idea that some groups are inferior. This is known as cultural racism. Racial segregation in neighbourhoods, for instance, can result from racist stereotypes influencing White property owners' housing choices. As a result, concentrated areas of poverty may develop with poorer housing and environmental conditions.

Individual-level discrimination: Where individuals or companies discriminate against racial groups, whether intentionally or without intent. Poorer access to jobs, education, and healthcare may result from this.

To find out more about what we’re doing in Canada, check out Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022

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