Little progress for black Montrealers: Omololu Oyewole-Eletu
Little progress for black Montrealers: study
Last Updated: Thursday, March 18, 2010 | 8:40 PM ET
Montrealer Omololu Oyewole-Eletu has a mechanical engineering degree but cannot find a job. (CBC)
Racial inequality remains a reality for Montreal’s black community, according to a McGill university study released Thursday.
The study, based on a comparison of the 1996 and 2006 census results, shows the black community has made little social and economic progress in the past decade, said Dr. James Torczyner, a professor at the McGill University School of Social Work.
In 2006, university-educated blacks had an unemployment rate of 10.9 per cent — a number on par with non-black high school dropouts, according to the study.
The average income according to that year’s census was one-third lower than for the rest of the population, and only one in three blacks in Montreal was a homeowner, said Torczyner.
Blacks also earned far less than other members of the population with an equivalent level of education, said Torczyner.
For example, the average black person with a bachelor’s degree earned $32,000 a year, compared to $49,000 for members of the rest of the population with an equivalent degree.
Torczyner said the income and unemployment numbers didn’t change much between the 1996 census and the one in 2006.
The data and the lack of progress are evidence that more must be done to help the black McGill social work professor Dr. James Torczyner says more must be done to help Montreal’s black community. (CBC)
community, the largest visible minority group on the island of Montreal, said Torczyner.McGill social work professor Dr. James Torczyner says more must be done to help Montreal’s black community. (CBC)
“This is a real serious, persistent, pervasive problem that is not going away — you need the political will to do that,” he said.
Officials need to do more to help reduce the inequalities between the black community and the rest of the population, said Fo Niemi, director of Montreal’s Centre for Research Action on Race Relations.
“What we are concerned about … is the perpetuation of a black urban underclass,” said Niemi.
The numbers are a difficult reality for Montrealer Omololu Oyewole-Eletu.
He has a mechanical engineering degree from McGill but cannot find a job.
“Being a black person and, on top of that, [an] Anglophone [who] speaks predominately English makes it difficult for me,” said Oyewole-Eletu.
Officials from the City of Montreal acknowledge unemployment among Montreal’s black community is a problem.
They said they are working with different community groups to address the issue and hope to increase access to language training.