Module 3: Anti-Black Racism

Key Concepts in Anti-Black Racism

What is Anti-Black Racism?

Anti-Black racism (ABR) is defined as “prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and its legacy” (“Glossary“).

Canada’s History with Anti-Black Racism and White Supremacy

Canada’s Black history is inextricably linked to the racism and discrimination that persists in society, workplaces and learning environments today. Below are key events of Canadian history from CCDI as it relates to Black people and White supremacy.



This history created the foundations of the systemic racism and barriers that many Indigenous and Black people struggle to overcome and manage in the workplace. Read more about Canada’s history of race relations.  Black communities have had a long and rooted history stretching as far back as the 1600s. Their experiences and struggles have evolved overtime and it is important to acknowledge the contributions they have made to  nation building and our society.


Beyond the tragedy… 

Canada’s Black history is not just a story of victimization but of resistance, where the community grew and thrived in spite of continuous barriers. The stories that dominate our collective understanding and imagination of Black peoples’ experiences are too often influenced, curated, and told by those outside Black communities offering a narrow and limited perspective of the individual, the communities, their lives and the context. The full spectrum of one’s life is often ignored or presented so superficially rather than enable us to find our shared humanity, challenge bias or stereotypes it contributes to upholding racist beliefs. Appreciation for the complex intersectionality of Black peoples’ varied experiences and to justly represent the full depth, breathe and beauty of their lives and experiences requires us to center black joy and black excellence all the while holding and confronting the disproportionate experiences of inequity, violence and trauma.

More on ABR and White Supremacy…

The impact of anti-Black racism can be seen in the persistence of White supremacy. White supremacy is defined by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as:

“A term used to characterize various belief systems central to which are one or more of the following key tenets:

  1. Whites should have dominance over people of other backgrounds, especially where they may co-exist;
  2. Whites should live by themselves in a Whites-only society;
  3. White people have their own “culture” that is superior to other cultures;
  4. White people are genetically superior to other people.”

These belief systems have shaped the organization of our society, influencing social, political and economic institutions, culture, values and norms, including the policies and practices within them. White supremacy is based on “historical and institutional systems of exploitation and oppression of nations, continents and peoples of colour by white people… to maintain and defend wealth, power and privilege” (Lawrence & Kehler). Anti-Black racism is a result of White supremacy, rooted in slavery, segregation, and discriminatory laws and ideologies that perpetuate racial inequalities in every facet of life. This historical legacy, coupled with the tenets, underpins the systems and structures of our society, and with racism at the core, those who have access, influence and power are established. 


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