Race and Well-Being

The Lives, Hopes and Activism of African Canadians

by Akua Benjamin, David Este, Carl James, Bethan Lloyd, Wanda Thomas Bernard and Tana Turner  

Through in-depth qualitative and quantitative research this book explores how experiences of racism, combined with other social and economic factors, affect the health and well-being of African Canadians.

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  • March 2010
  • ISBN: 9781552663547
  • 216 pages
  • $29.00
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About the book

Through in-depth qualitative and quantitative research with African Canadians in three Canadian cities – Calgary, Toronto and Halifax – this book explores how experiences of racism, combined with other social and economic factors, affect the health and well-being of African Canadians. With a special interest in how racial stereotyping impacts Black men and boys, this book shares stories of racism and violence and explores how experiences and interpretations of, and reactions to, racism differ across a range of social and economic variables. Rejecting the notion that Black communities are homogeneous, this book gives a detailed examination of three distinct communities: Caribbean, immigrant African and Canadian Black. The authors also explore how individuals, families and communities can better understand and challenge racism.

Health & Illness Race & Anti-Racism


David Este

Dr. David Este is a Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. He has published in the areas of immigration; historical and contemporary experiences of people of African descent in Canada and mental health. In 2019, David was part of a team that received the Governor General’s Award in History for Community Programming for the documentary entitled, We Are the Roots: Black Settlers and Their Experiences of Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies. He also received from the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ Lee Lorch Award for excellence in teaching, research and service to the University of Calgary to the profession of social work, and to the community.

Carl James

Dr. Carl James is Professor in the Faculty of Education, cross-appointed in the graduate programs in Sociology and Social Work. Over the years, he has conducted research which has resulted in publications that focus on the experiences of marginalized youth, particularly African Canadians. His history of innovative professional development with educators and social service workers draws on his theoretical work with issues of identity, diversity, racialization and masculinity, and involves practitioner level dissemination of research results. His attention to the educational performance and outcomes of students in higher education is evident in his mentorship, as well as his involvement in program and curriculum change.

Dr. James’s background in sociology of education and youth studies help to frame his exploration of issues of: identity/identification in relation to race, ethnicity, class, gender and immigrant status; educational and occupational access and equity for marginalized youth; and the complementary and contradictory nature of sports in the schooling and educational attainments of racialized students. His extensive background in youth work and community development informs his recent work on educational programs that are responsive to the particular needs, experiences, interests and aspirations of African Canadian youth living in urban contexts. He has extensive experience with critical ethnography, phenomenology, action research and government and institutional policy analysis.

Wanda Thomas Bernard

Dr. Thomas Bernard is a Canadian senator. She was formerly a social worker and educator from East Preston, Nova Scotia. Dr. Thomas Bernard is the first Black Canadian to have an academic tenure position and become a full professor at Dalhousie University, where her research focuses on anti-oppression and diversity. She Bernard was one of the founding members of the Association of Black Social Workers. In 2005, she was appointed to the Order of Canada for her work addressing racism and diversity in the field of social work, and in 2014, she was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia. On October 27, 2016, Dr. Thomas Bernard was named to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sit as an independent. At the time of her appointment, she was the chair of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She is the first African Nova Scotian woman to serve in the Senate Chamber


  • Introduction: Building Towards Action
  • Tracking the Lived Experience of African Canadians
  • From Then to Now: The Historical and Contemporary Context
  • The Multiple Manifestations of Racism
  • Power, Poverty and the Institutional Web
  • Racism Is Bad for Your Health
  • Conformity, Resistance and Denial
  • “Tho Dance Through the Cosmos”: The Journey of Hope, Healing and Action
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Index


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