Considerations of race as an element of social structure are a critical factor in any analysis of the historic and current issues of systemic discrimination faced by the African Canadian population within the city of Toronto. These issues have been studied and documented in several reports published over the last thirty years most notably the 1992 Report on Race Relations in Ontario authored by Stephen Lewis and the recent Roots of Youth Violence Report, authored by former cabinet minister Alvin Curling and former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry.
There have also been numerous cinematic explorations of these issues; EMPz 4 Life directed by the late Allan King tells the story of a group of teenagers living in the Malvern area of Scarborough a suburb of Toronto. Shot in cinéma vérité style, EMPz 4 Life documents issues such as institutional racism, economic disenfranchisement, racial profiling and police community relations from a critical perspective, that of the Malvern community which is rarely seen in mainstream Canadian media. Jennifer Hodge de Silva’s Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community directed in the realist style, documents issues such as racism, economic disenfranchisement and police community relations that are still relevant and virtually unchanged since the time of its release in 1983.