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What will it take to end racism? CBC K-W asks inclusion researcher, Parliamentary Black Caucus

The key to lasting change in the fight against racism comes down to economics, protest, action from people not directly affected and policy change, according to a University of Waterloo professor who studies race and inclusion.

'It is not okay to watch racism. Our silence gives permission,' says Kathy Hogarth

Kathy Hogarth, associate professor in the School of Social Work at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo, says people need to constantly be challenging their own biases and know what's happening in their communities. (CBC News)

The key to lasting change in the fight against racism comes down to economics, protest, policy change and action from people not directly affected, according to a University of Waterloo professor who studies race and inclusion.

But until now, what's been lacking is "will" said Kathy Hogarth, associate professor in the school of social work at Renison University College at University of Waterloo.

And history shows economics is a key contributor to spurring revolution, she told The Morning Edition's guest host Julianne Hazlewood on Wednesday.

"Change comes because of an economic cost, it's tied to economics," said Hogarth. "We've seen the abolition of slavery — it was no longer profitable."

She adds when it came to ending slavery and with the current Black Lives Matters movement, "persistent protest" is vital.

'Silence gives permission for racism'

As for those not directly affected, there needs to be solidarity, Hogarth said.

"It is not okay to watch racism. Our silence gives permission for racism to take place," she said. "Racism in any form is violence."

Hogarth will be watching for who her allies are going forward — who's standing with her and speaking out against racism.

"We need to use our bodies. We need to use our voices," she said.

But individual changes needs to be met with action from leaders and public policy reforms. She points to desperate change being needed in education.

"Our education system is failing us when it comes to our fight against racism," she said.

We suffer 'racial amnesia'

Matthew Green, an NDP MP for Hamilton Centre and member of the Parliamentary Black Caucus echoes Hogarth's call for public policy change.

"We have and we suffer from racial amnesia," Green told The Morning Edition. "This is not a new conversation."

The Black Caucus has put out an action plan of its own this week supporting the "sweeping reforms of the Black Lives Matter movement," Green said.

The statement includes calls for concrete reforms to policing and corrections; targeting economic aid in the COVID-19 pandemic to Black-owned businesses; collecting race-based data and supporting Black artists and institutions devoted to Black culture.

He says race-based data would "allow us to make evidence-based decisions across all levels of government."

Green points to the importance of Statistics Canada and researchers having access to race-based data as well.

Aside from the factors that bring about change, Hogarth says people must remember to check themselves every day.

"It's the constant challenging of self to remain aware, aware of my own biases as an individual and aware of what's happening in my community," said Hogarth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julianne Hazlewood is a multimedia journalist who's worked at CBC newsrooms across the country as a host, video journalist, reporter and producer. Have a story idea? julianne.hazlewood@cbc.ca

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