Filipinos report racism in Canadian community sports

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  • Filipinos are likely to experience or witness racism during community sports in Canada.

    This finding was part of the data released by Statistics Canada following its latest survey of participation and experiences in community sports.

    The national statistical agency defines “community sports” as “organized sports, including those played in community and school sports leagues and clubs, competitive and recreational sports, as well as pick-up sports”.

    “These sports can be organized and offered by neighbourhoods, villages, municipalities, local organizations or volunteers,” the agency explains.

    Statistics Canada issued a report titled “Discrimination and racism in sports in Canada” on March 4, 2024, which looked at unfair treatment, racism, and discrimination in sports in Canada.

    The statistical agency noted that “racialized people (26%) were also more likely than their non-racialized counterparts (15%) to have experienced or witnessed unfair treatment, racism or discrimination while playing a sport”.

    “This was particularly true for Black (34%), Filipino (32%) and Korean (32%) people, who were among the most likely to report having experienced or witnessed these behaviours,” the agency stated.

    Statistics Canada equates the concept of “racialized population” to visible minority groups, which are mainly South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean and Japanese.

    “The most common types of discrimination reported by victims and witnesses involved being made to feel uncomfortable, such as through insensitive jokes or remarks (60%), or being called names, insulted or mocked (48%),” Statistics Canada stated in its March 4, 2024 report.

    Moreover, this was “followed by being ignored by others or excluded from conversations or group activities (44%) and people talking behind the person’s back (42%)”.

    “However, a considerable proportion of victims and witnesses also reported having experienced or witnessed threats or harassment (20%), and physical attacks or assaults (8%),” Statistics Canada noted.

    The agency also pointed out that race or skin colour is the most common reason cited for discrimination.

    “The motivation most often cited by victims and witnesses in incidents of discrimination was race or skin colour (64%), followed by physical appearance (42%) and ethnicity or culture (38%),” Statistics Canada stated.

    As well, a “significant share of victims and witnesses also reported sex (23%), language (22%), religion (21%) and sexual orientation (20%) as reasons for the discrimination committed against them or other sports participants”.

    These findings indicate that while Canada has made huge strides in fighting racism, discrimination and unfair treatment continue to impact the lives of many.

    Racism can manifest in various aspects of daily life, and the field of sports is no exception.

    Statistics Canada noted in its report that abuse constitutes a barrier to participation in sports, particularly for racialized groups in the country.

    That said, many Filipino Canadians have risen to sports excellence.

    To cite an example, the roster of the Canada team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics included swimmer Kayla Sanchez, archer Crispin Duenas, and tennis player Leylah Fernandez.

    In November 2023, Fernandez powered Team Canada to win Canada’s first Bille Jean King Cup at the international tournament held in Seville, Spain.

    There’s also long track speed skater Gilmore Junio, who showed the world the true meaning of sportsmanship in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

    After qualifying for the 1,000-metre race, the Alberta-born and –raised Filipino Canadian athlete gave his spot to his teammate Denny Morrison. He believed that Morrison had a greater chance of winning a medal. Morrison won a silver medal in the event.

    Junio competed again in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games in South Korea.

    The March 4, 2024 report by Statistics Canada indicated that many of the incidents of racism and discrimination during community sports were “never reported by the victim or the witnesses (32%)”.

    However, in a lot of cases, “witnesses of discrimination, racism and unfair treatment sought to comfort the victim (42%) and/or defended or confronted the instigator (37%)”.

    “Some also reported the incident (25%) and sought help from others (18%),” Statistics Canada noted.
    _____________

    By Carlito Pablo

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