Tuesday, July 07, 2009


A groundbreaking study, to be released today, estimates that about one in four black, single parents and households on social assistance face moderate to severe discrimination in Toronto's tight rental market. The same is true for South Asians.

Read more here.

Everytime I read about one of these studies I think to myself well whats groundbreaking about this? Its just a waste of time and money to prove the already known. Then I read the comments responding to articles like the one above on the Toronto Star's website and realize most Torontonians truly are clueless to the discrimination that persons of color and those on the lower end of the wealth spectrum face in this community.

Maybe they just live with their heads in the sand or maybe they just accept all the stereotypes and the scary news items they see every day in the media about those that don't look like them. Maybe they're all we are the world and Kumbaya and think we live in a post-racial world. Well newsflash that post-racial crap is b.s. I don't know what they actually think but what I do know is that renters bias is all too real having faced it in the past myself.

And I'm not alone, in fact forget a one in four most of the black folk I know can tell you a story or two about renters bias. How the apartment suddenly was rented when they showed up for a viewing because the landlord didn't realize they were black when they phoned or how they suddenly needed to book an appointment when they walked in to see a place even though someone else they knew had checked the place out the day before by just walking in off the street or and these two happened to me personally, my girlfriend's potential apartment ended up being apparently already rented when she showed up with me (scary black dude that I apparently am) in tow (even though I wasn't going to be living there) or how one landlord told me and I quote "his Jamaicans don't cause trouble".

This is everyday life. We dont like it, but it happens. We get angry when it happens, we complain, we get ignored but we minorities, persons of color know it happen. And we deal with it and we survive. We cope, we grow thicker skins, we gain a knowledge by experience of what kinds of landlords will discriminate, we look where we think we'll be accepted and ignore other areas where we know we'll be discriminated in and end up in mini-ghettos, we do what we have to do to get by.

And its not like so many on the Toronto Star's message board surmise that we aren't rented these apartments because we're on welfare or we destroy property or we're bad neighbours and have loud raucous parties or we have bad credit or we default on our rent and then the landlord has hell to evict us. Most of us don't get a chance to disprove these stereotypes because we aren't given a chance. We don't even get to see the apartment let alone rent it. Or we get to see it but unless the deal is consummated on the spot when we return or call again the place is gone (which is why when I was looking at places I learned to walk with my cheque book ready to close a deal on the spot). It starts and ends at the beginning, with a judgment call made by those with the power based on our non-Canadian accents or our non-Canadian skin tones. Nope its rented, or we wont rent it to you, meaning sorry we don't want your kind here now go away.

Just cause your racism isnt the in your face stuff the US faces doesn't mean everything is hunky doory up on your doorstep. It does still exist. That's the real. Toronto I wish y'all would wake up and realize that instead of living with your heads up your proverbial butts.


Guyana-Gyal said...

I have a cousin who works for the media in Canada...she was telling me about some ad campaign that said that Canada is a wonderful medley of races / cultures, etc. She said if you look pon dem ads, you baaaaaaaarely see one, one person of colour in them posters and so.

I think she had "words" with the person who create the campaign, tell him where he was wrong.

I wonder if he saw what she was saying.

Ruthibelle said...

great post. Insightful... and very curt.

Stunner said...

It' so sad that these types of discrimination keeps on existing.

Urban Sista said...

The reason why The Star continues to run these foolish studies is because their newsroom is lacking in people of colour as well. When the newsroom looks like Toronto, you'll have a bunch of people standing up saying, "wait! This isn't news -- this is LIFE. Maybe we should talk about how we fix this instead of running ANOTHER asinine study."

I'm always surprised by the shocked comments on The Star's message boards. Really? You didn't know this? This is a shock to you? Were you living under a rock? Chupse.

Anonymous said...

Studies? How many do they need when this practice has been going for years. This is nothing new. It might new to the person who did the study or the one who wrote the article. Nothing new was discovered.

Fix the problem.

dalia said...

i have to say, if i wasn't a person of colour, i bet i'd be shocked by all of it, too... i mean, WHY, as a white person, a person of "privilige" would i give two shits about whether or not black or any other people of colour can rent an apartment? it wouldn't affect ME in the least... so i dunno why we get up in arms when non-minorities are shocked (shocked!) to find out that racism exists in this day and age.

but we elected a black man as president!

but i bet you before all that, he prolly couldn't get any and everybody to rent him an apartment, either.

chupse. so tired of this kind of "news."

Will said...

i have a friend in construction in TO... he was telling me about a growing trend of people moving out of the city because it is getting too "dark"... i was shocked because i bought into the hype of canada (and TO in particular) being the kinder, gentler america... more fool me...