Canada is multicultural, not anti-racist.

Mollena sells actual RACE Cards (TM) to play. (Photo by Colm McCarthy)Canada is an officially multicultural country, but multiculturalism does not address racism.

The Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Institution shows six stages from being a monocultural institution to becoming an anti-racist multicultural institution. Canada appears to be at Stage Three:

3. Symbolic Change: A Multicultural Institution

  • Makes official policy pronouncements regarding Multicultural diversity
  • Sees itself as “non-racist” institution with open doors to People of Color
  • Carries out intentional inclusiveness efforts, recruiting “someone of color” on committees or office staff
  • Expanding view of diversity includes other socially oppressed groups

But…

  • “Not those who make waves”
  • Little or no contextual change in culture, policies, and decision making
  • Is still relatively unaware of continuing patterns of privilege, paternalism and control

Stage Four is “Identity Change: An Anti-Racist Institution”. As Canada has never thought of itself as an anti-racist country, it remains at Stage 3 of this model.

In Canada, there is the mistaken belief that racism is caused by cultural differences, and that if multiculturalism is embraced, then there would be no racism. However, when Canadians face discrimination when we travel while black, go fishing while East Asian, protest while brown, or seek medical care while indigenous, the problem is not “cultural differences” to be solved with “cultural sensitivity”. This “cultural” problem formulation still insists that people of colour must have done something differently from white people to provoke discrimination. It ignores the possibility that people of colour might do the same things as white people and still be treated differently due to our race.

A clear example of people of colour being discriminated against because of race—not culture—is the fact that children of colour adopted by white (American) parents and raised as white still experience racial discrimination. In the past, white adoptive parents adopted Chinese children and raised them as if they were white biological children, cutting their ties to Chinese culture, under the same false belief that racial discrimination is caused by cultural differences:

Americans have adopted an estimated half-million children from overseas in the last four decades. During the early period of international adoptions, most parents believed their children’s lives would be easier if they shed their native culture, said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on improving adoption practices.

Parents believed that their children were a “blank slate” that should be filled in exactly the same as biological children, Pertman said. This sort of evenhanded treatment would be a buffer from any possible discrimination — or so parents believed.

Of course, this turned out to be false and harmful. People of colour raised as white people and raised in their white parents’ culture still experienced and experience racial discrimination.

It is not culture—or cultural intolerance—that causes racial discrimination. It is racism. Race and culture are two different things. Multiculturalism is not the same as anti-racism.

Multiculturalism does not stop White Canadians from assuming that I am a foreigner to Canada. In fact, the multicultural narrative tends to confuse racial diversity with cultural diversity, encouraging White Canadians to assume that Canadians of colour are culturally different and culturally Other, based only on our racial appearance.

Canada’s problem mirrors the problem of white adoptive parents, who are now celebrating “Chinese” culture with their adopted Chinese children, falsely believing that multicultural celebration will protect against racial discrimination:

“They are trying their best,” she said, “but the truth is, no one likes to talk about race or acknowledge race.

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45 Responses to “Canada is multicultural, not anti-racist.”

  1. S Says:

    THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!

    I want to say more on this topic, but I have nothing to say because you’ve explained everything exactly and perfectly here. :)

  2. Mike Barber Says:

    There is a lot about the roots and manifestations of racism in our society that Canada misunderstands. The idea that racism has always been around and/or that it is a natural consequence of diversity is painfully ingrained in many.

    I think a big part of the problem is that Canada does not readily admit it’s slave past. For over 200 years we were a slave-holding nation, yet this has managed to escape our history books, classrooms and national narrative. The roots of racism and white privilege in Canadian society have been more or less erased, leaving a blank space in regards to causation which many people will fill in themselves blaming multiculturalism or what they perceive to be rational human behaviour.

    If I may indulge in a moment of self-promotion, it is this very issue I am working to address in my documentary film “A Past, Denied: The Invisible History of Slavery in Canada” (http://apastdenied.ca).

  3. Bill Gibbons Says:

    Multiculturalism is the destroyer of nations. In 30 years from now, white Canadians will have no power over who governs them, as the majority the vote will be in the hands of Third World immigrants and their offspring.

    As for discrimination, I couldn’t join the police in the early 1990’s because I was a white heterosexual male. I couldn’t get a job with the government either for the same reason. Reverse discrimination stopped me from pursuing my chosen my career in the name of “diversity.” Thank God my wife is asian. At least she picked up her career quickly without too much fuss. My mixed race children will probably do well too. After all, they aren’t exactly white, so they should be OK in our multi-racial paradise.

    Remember who built this country. It was white people, the Scots, Irish, Welsh, English and Europeans. Pierre Trudeau, a draft-dodging coward who refused to fight for Canada in World War 2, did more than any other single individual to destroy this once great nation by turning it into a debt-ridden, overtaxed socialist shambles and a multicultural disaster. Quite a feat for smeone who should have been jailed for his anti-war cowardice, never mind make it to Prime minister.

    All this bollocks about how “diversity is our strength” is a joke. Just look at areas in our cities where various immigrant groups live. They separate themsleves from society. A black only school in Toronto? So much for “diversity” How about a white only school? Sorry old son, but that’s just sooo “racist.”

    Going back to my police career that didn’t happen, by 2003 so many cops were retiring that they couldn’t find enough recruits to replace them. The big effort 15 year ago to recruit more women, gays, blacks, aboriginals and other visible minorites fell flat. Not even easing the recruting standards and entry requirements did the trick. So what did they do? They went to the UK to recruit hundreds of experienced police officers to come and work in Canada. And the vast majority of them are – wait for it – white heterosexual males!

    Yes, Canada is a multicultural and multi-racial society. Most immigrants who come here are hard working and law abiding. But there are certain countries where we should not be drawing our immigrants from. Indeed, others come here, qualify for citizenship, get their Canadian passports then sod off back home. So much for loyalty.

    Today I, like many of my fellow immigrants, run my own business. If I hadn’t have decided to become an independent businessman (with over 50 visible minority employees), my career choices would still be limited, in the name of “diversity.”

  4. Mike Barber Says:

    Wow. Thanks Bill, for proving my point…

    “Remember who built this country. It was white people, the Scots, Irish, Welsh, English and Europeans” <—- no, *it was Aboriginal and African slaves that built this country.* The first colonies of Nouvelle France would not have survived without the use of slave labour.

    And before you deride the Afrocentric school in Toronto, pause for a moment and consider why some people felt one might be needed in the first place. According to figures from the Toronto District School Board, by age 16 more than half of black male teens are at risk of dropping out. (In Montréal, the dropout rate among black youth is an estimated 48 per cent.) This is a crisis situation and rather than continuing to wait for the established system to address the problem, some decided to go a different route to address the problem head on. Was it the best thing to do? Who knows, but it is better than not doing anything at all.

    It's funny that you seem to feel entitled to so much based on your being a white heterosexual male. You also seem to feel that others are not equally entitled due to their not being white heterosexual males. Personally, given the views towards multiculturalism you have expressed (as well as a deep seeded resentment and sense of entitlement), I for one am relieve you never made it onto the police force.

  5. Mike Barber Says:

    “In 30 years from now, white Canadians will have no power over who governs them” <—– the end of white supremacy is not the same as the end of democracy. In fact, it only makes for an *improved democracy* that is representational of the people it serves.

  6. Sandy Says:

    “Multiculturalism is the destroyer of nations. In 30 years from now, white Canadians will have no power over who governs them, as the majority the vote will be in the hands of Third World immigrants and their offspring.”

    Contrary to that popular opinion, it’s actually white supremacy that is the destroyer of nations, not multiculturalism. And I wouldn’t doubt that white Canadians won’t be in governmental power 30 years from now. The system is quite difficult to change, it will continue to privilege those who built it to suit them – white, heterosexual, males. But yes, I do hope people of colour break through this barrier. It’s about time.

    As for discrimination, I couldn’t join the police in the early 1990’s because I was a white heterosexual male. I couldn’t get a job with the government either for the same reason. Reverse discrimination stopped me from pursuing my chosen my career in the name of “diversity.”

    Blaming your failures on people of colour is a response that most white people engage in to cry “reverse racism.” They expect everything to be given to them (after all, they’ve gone through life being reinforced that they deserve all their privileges simply for being white) and when it doesn’t happen that way (major shock!), their response is say that affirmative action or whatever stopped them from achieving their dreams/goals.

    Also, people of colour who obtained those jobs didn’t get it because they were needed to fill in the status quo for “diversity” – they got them because they were actually qualified. But of course, no one ever says that because aren’t white people taught that PoC are too inferior to do anything like obtain a “respectable” job? And yet despite PoC’s achievements, they are still treated lesser than white people because of their skin colour.

    Thank God my wife is asian. At least she picked up her career quickly without too much fuss. My mixed race children will probably do well too. After all, they aren’t exactly white, so they should be OK in our multi-racial paradise.

    Thank you for further proving that just because a white person is in an inter-racial relationship does not mean he/she can’t be racist.

    Remember who built this country. It was white people, the Scots, Irish, Welsh, English and Europeans. Pierre Trudeau, a draft-dodging coward who refused to fight for Canada in World War 2, did more than any other single individual to destroy this once great nation by turning it into a debt-ridden, overtaxed socialist shambles and a multicultural disaster. Quite a feat for smeone who should have been jailed for his anti-war cowardice, never mind make it to Prime minister.

    Remember the people of colour who also built this country and helped the war, but whose contributions and existence have been erased through white supremacy.

    All this bollocks about how “diversity is our strength” is a joke. Just look at areas in our cities where various immigrant groups live. They separate themsleves from society. A black only school in Toronto? So much for “diversity” How about a white only school? Sorry old son, but that’s just sooo “racist.”

    Actually, white people is the biggest group of people who segregate. It’s called “white flight.” Believe it or not, Canada is pre-dominately white once you leave the four or five major cities. But those who cannot afford white flight are, thus, stuck here in the metropolitan cities, unbearably having to put up day-after-day of seeing coloured faces.

    Going back to my police career that didn’t happen, by 2003 so many cops were retiring that they couldn’t find enough recruits to replace them. The big effort 15 year ago to recruit more women, gays, blacks, aboriginals and other visible minorites fell flat. Not even easing the recruting standards and entry requirements did the trick. So what did they do? They went to the UK to recruit hundreds of experienced police officers to come and work in Canada. And the vast majority of them are – wait for it – white heterosexual males!

    So let me understand this again: Initially, you said “diversity” stopped you from obtaining your dream job, but when they dropped the “recruiting standard” and actually and actively went seeking, specifically, for white, heterosexual, males, you STILL didn’t get the job!? Maybe that’s saying something…

    Yes, Canada is a multicultural and multi-racial society. Most immigrants who come here are hard working and law abiding. But there are certain countries where we should not be drawing our immigrants from. Indeed, others come here, qualify for citizenship, get their Canadian passports then sod off back home. So much for loyalty.

    Certain countries, hrm. It’s not too hard to guess which ones those are. And the reasons because people to leave this country are not of our concern.

    Today I, like many of my fellow immigrants, run my own business. If I hadn’t have decided to become an independent businessman (with over 50 visible minority employees), my career choices would still be limited, in the name of “diversity.”

    You must feel so proud – you’re at the top of the hierarchy again while those beneath you are PoC. Just the way the “real” world is supposed to work.

  7. Restructure! Says:

    Thank you, Sandy. :)

    Mike too.

  8. Sandy Says:

    No problem, Restructure. :)

    Also, his constant reference to the word “immigrants” is another habit of white people tending to lump PoC into a homogeneous group.

  9. Meganeura Says:

    “Also, his constant reference to the word “immigrants” is another habit of white people tending to lump PoC into a homogeneous group.”
    Kind of ironic you complain about lumping people into a homogenous group while using a term that explicitly does the same thing…

  10. Restructure! Says:

    “White people” is no more of a homogenizing term than “blacks” or “Asians”.

  11. Maysie Says:

    Thanks for this post Restructure, it’s excellent. I might start a thread on babble about it.

  12. Kathy Says:

    “White people” is no more of a homogenizing term than “blacks” or “Asians”.

    Restructure, I find it very interesting that there are quite a few white people who don’t like being called white people. I have even read comments on other blogs saying “white people” is offensive and racist.

    Great post, thank you.

  13. Mike Barber Says:

    @Kathy I’ve seen that as well, from time to time. They are also often the ones that make absurd claims to be “blind” to colour and/or that it is “people like [me]” (who write critically about racial matters) that are the ones responsible for the perpetuation of racism. I usually write them off as trolls being defensive about having their (our) white privilege put under scrutiny.

  14. Kathy Says:

    @Mike,
    I wish that the white people we are talking about were trolls, but they also consider themselves progressive anti-racist, good, well meaning people.

  15. Canada is multicultural, not antiracist | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture Says:

    […] By Guest Contributor Restructure!, originally posted at Restructure! […]

  16. Little Bee Says:

    Hey, I meandered over from Racialicious and just wanted to reiterate my thanks for posting this article. I’ve been wanting to discuss the difference between multiculturalism and anti-racism for some time, but when I’ve broached the subject with friends of colour in the past I found them to be resistant to the idea that multiculturalism is problematic because it silences anti-racist discourse. I believe that as immigrants and/or POC, there’s this sense that we ought to be grateful because the perception is that we’re more accepted here than we ever could be in the United States (consider the implications of mosaic vs. melting pot). My argument is that even if this is the case and we do choose to employ a framework of comparison, why should we be silenced by the fear that we could be worse off? I think that sometimes as POC we also play into the rhetoric of multiculturalism and in the process silence anti-racist dialogue.

    I’d like to share this clip from Sunera Thobani; I think she addresses the problems with multiculturalism quite succinctly starting at the 2 minute mark and I highly recommend it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyyoupDU-kY

  17. Restructure! Says:

    Thanks, Little Bee. That is a great clip.

  18. Multiculturalism displaces anti-racism, upholds white supremacy. « Restructure! Says:

    […] (Hat-tip to Little Bee.) […]

  19. Canada is Multicultural, Not Antiracist | Feminuity Says:

    […] This is a fantastic post, and because we are largely based out of Canada here at Feminuity, I felt it was a good forum to pass it along through. It was posted by Guest Contributor Restructure, originally posted at Restructure. […]

  20. White people are different from people. « Restructure! Says:

    […] Ideally, the conflation of Asianness with foreignness should not contaminate the research methods of studies on the racial perception of East Asians. Race and ethnicity are not the same as culture. […]

  21. goaler Says:

    i only see white men coming home on the highway of heros!

  22. goaler Says:

    also canada and the usa are the only countries that give poc the freedom , try going to the middle east or japan and see racism. Are white people the only ones held accountable?
    i would like to see a minority(white or other) be elected in any african or south american country.the blacks have made a mess of any country the run, prove me wrong!

  23. a girl Says:

    @goaler, Africa’s problems have a lot more to it being a continent full of very poor developing countries without laws that are followed, easy transportation, clean water, enough medical equipment and doctors, solid currencies, horrible dictatorships, tribalism, wars, etc, than just people being black. Africa loses the most educated people of the continent to everywhere else as soon as they are trained. If you want to interact with the most educated people around the world, find an African. They know a lot and their expats are in every developed country. Many of them are in the medical industry, they fill in skilled jobs where we have shortages. They are really motivated to be successful and to leave their continent.

    @Mike Barber, Thank you for writing that documentary. Canada’s denial and ignorance of their racial problems bother me. I don’t know what to think of having a country like that on my borders. In the US we are very open about our dirty laundry; we debate everything (typically at high volumes). Large screaming matches about racial issues are what I’m used to, not a lot of people pretending they don’t exist. I find identity politics annoying, but it is much less creepy and easier to deal with than people who are literally ignorant of their own past and think that everything is OK.

    @Kathy, yes of course it is offensive to lump all white people together, just like it would be to lump all blacks or Asians. I’ve found that most people want to be known for the country they come from (if they are immigrants) and not their general continent or ethnic grouping; or they want to be known for their accomplishments and other positive things in their life. Also immigrant and non-immigrant minorities act a lot different from each other. First generation immigrants are a lot different from their second generation children, etc.

    A lot of white people have immigrated to North America awhile back and most have forgotten where they came from. White people tend to self segregate based on social class, education, region of the country, political affiliation and subculture, things that are not necessarily exclusive by ethnicity. There are a lot of white people in North America, it is just we group ourselves differently than many ethnic minorities, who faced discrimination more recently.

    Also, white people can’t prove themselves in the job market by being an example of our race, something which hurts people of average abilities who are the ones who often get replaced when there is more competition. In the US 80% of the people are white and I think Canada might be even whiter, so no one really finds that a compelling reason to hire us. Neutrality might work better in social situations, and when you are dealing with people in authority such as the police, or emergencies such as the hospital (all very important!), but it doesn’t exactly make you stand out on a job application.

    The people who are marginally employable are obsessed with the job market and economy and paranoid about downward mobility, so will come out of the woodwork to complain about the competition (IE minorities and/or immigrants). Richer, younger, or more established whites have the luxury of being pleasant and adapting gracefully. It is stupid, but racial politics tends to play right into our class wars. (In the US at least, I still don’t know enough about Canadian social politics).

  24. goaler Says:

    how do the chinese get away with the shit they pull off in this country?
    they only hire from their own race!
    they want to live amongst themselves only!
    they only purchase from their own shitty race!
    however when they want or need something they will intergrate
    if they can get ahead!
    Chinese are the most racist rats in canada without a doubt!

  25. Restructure! Says:

    goaler,

    That is absurd.

    I try to support local, small Canadian businesses over large franchises, and some of these local, small businesses in my area are owned by people who happen to be Chinese. I don’t avoid these stores just because they are owned by Chinese people, which is obviously something you would do.

    Do you notice that Chinese stores are patronized by mostly Chinese people, but white stores are patronized by people whose racial makeup matches the local demographics? That’s because racists like you only purchase from your own race, while Chinese people purchase from both Chinese-owned stores and white-owned stores. Amazingly, you blame this racial segregation, which comes from white racism against Chinese people and Chinese businesses, on Chinese people.

  26. urbia Says:

    Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with purchasing from stores of one’s own race if that race is being oppressed. Chinese-Canadians used to lack political power and this exposed them to all sorts of abuses (building the Canadian railway, anyone?). If it’s through supporting their own race’s businesses over time that have allowed them to accumulate wealth in this country, leading to political power and more human rights, then I think it was a good cause. I mean, it would be great if people didn’t feel like they had to live in racial ‘ghettos’ or ‘conclaves,’ as I’ve heard them described, sometimes the end justifies the means.

  27. goaler Says:

    dont see any of the 1+ million chinese-so called cdns in the military , suporting this great tollerent nation do we!

  28. urbia Says:

    You mean that manufactured mess?

  29. urbia Says:

    *in Iraq. I don’t see how their absence is a bad thing.

  30. goaler Says:

    urbia* since when is canada in iraq?
    if the minorities of this country had their way the
    white canadian army would be in all of youre shit – hole places
    like congo, somalia,sir lanka. among others.
    the next time these ediots have a protest and close down the gardiner maybe we could fly them over to their homelands to
    fight their own battles!

  31. Restructure! Says:

    the next time these ediots have a protest and close down the gardiner maybe we could fly them over to their homelands to
    fight their own battles!

    This is so idiotic, I’m not sure I should respond, but I’ve seen similar comments on CBC News.

    Do you understand that the protesters were protesting genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka? Do you understand that most of these protesters were also Tamil themselves, and if they were sent back to Sri Lanka, they would be targetted in the genocide?

    This illogic is like if Rwandans in Canada were asking the Canadian goverment to stop the Rwandan genocide, but Canadians thought it wasn’t our problem and that we should forcefully drop Rwandans back into Rwanda to “fight their own battles”.

    I mean, you just need to take 5 seconds to think and discover your own stupidity, but you people don’t bother to do that.

  32. goaler Says:

    who are YOU PEOPLE ?

  33. goaler Says:

    And one other note – Restructure , so you think that the White CDN army should go to the aid of these countries?
    When was the last time a army of COLOUR bailed out a WHITE nation?

  34. Anonymous Says:

    “who are YOU PEOPLE ?”

    Not white and male, obviously.

  35. a girl Says:

    Wow…. this degenerated into a bunch of racist comments. I do admit, I troll a lot, so sorry. What did kind of pissed me off recently was the proposed whitewashing in Arizona. Basically, there was a multiracial mural on a school, with portraits of current students, and wacktarts wanted the school to make the kids white. They decided not to but still that they even considered the requests is rediculous. There is no reason to subject children to that kind of bullshit.

    It is necessary to defend the moderate middle, but there seem to be less and less of them these days. Or at least they are more silent. In the US we’ve been in culture wars for the last few decades, so we might not have much of a middle left and we’re losing empathy for all points of view. This is actually very dangerous as it makes our politics that much more difficult to manage and political movements in time determine laws and precedent. (very scary). Old style moderation, as imperfect as it was, is really going away. It has been pecked away by all sides, but who knows what will replace it?

    http://wonkette.com/415809/arizona-school-demands-black-latino-students-faces-on-mural-be-changed-to-white

  36. 51mp50n5F@N Says:

    Wow, I have no IDEA what to say here. I am really shocked to read all this … Gosh. I just want to put my three cents in here: Every country would be at least (3e45) times better if everybody were treated according to their strengths and what they wished to learn. I see one reasonable way to carry this out:

    Allow people to move into Canada (using immigration agents who have been VERY well trained in properly judging how likely a person is to wreak havoc in this nation) and then allow everyone equal employment and education opportunities. My idea is to simply treat the immigrants as different from but not unequal to everyone else — to assist them in understanding Canadian society. If any party is prepared to engage in racial slurs or actions, I suggest banishing them. And I am very well aware that you will find bigots anywhere there is a sizable human population. I say to let immigrants have better chances. We should not let them subjugate us, but nor should we take advantage of them. The Western world would rather not take heed of the existence of the felonies that ballooned its wealth.

    And I’m not taking the line with racist sons-of-bastards like Bill Gibbons or Goaler, nor am I supportive of any PC thugs I have read comments from — I DO NOT STAND FOR YOUR RIGHT-WING FASCIST OPINIONS GIBBONS!!! DAMN YOU TO HELL!!

  37. Missthang Says:

    @a girl Canada’s denial and ignorance of their racial problems bother me. I don’t know what to think of having a country like that on my borders. In the US we are very open about our dirty laundry; we debate everything (typically at high volumes). Large screaming matches about racial issues are what I’m used to, not a lot of people pretending they don’t exist. I find identity politics annoying, but it is much less creepy and easier to deal with than people who are literally ignorant of their own past and think that everything is OK.

    I am an American living in Canada, and I have gotten sick and put on weight in the stress of living with the nonconfrontational, sneaky horrible racism here. It is MUCH worse than in the U.S., because Canadians have this schizophrenic relationship to their own racial issues. I have confronted the mothers at my son’s school when they issued warnings about me. However, this enraged them, because confrontation is wrong in Canada. So what they did was break into my house and my email and did a lot of underhanded things. I just worked on a multiracial crew doing a film and that was great- most of us were immigrants, or “outsider” white people, but honestly, the energy here literally sickens me. Canadians also pride themselves on being morally superior to and smarter than Americans, and that is a struggle as well. They are also very anti semitic here.
    @goaler
    Africa is a product of centuries of exploitation and abuse by European countries. It’s like a child who was kidnapped, raped and beaten for years. And yes, the CIA is still playing havoc in a covert way in Africa, because the continent is one of the most resource rich in the world.

  38. Coyote Says:

    I am a native whose nation is on both sides of the United States and Canadian border. I have the right to cross from one to the other and am in theory a citizen of both.

    The difference is as night and day. And we have some tribal members who have some African roots. what they go through in Canada is not pretty for they are damned twice.

    Though many of our home lands may be in Canada it seems many white Canadians regard us as criminal invaders and trespassers in ‘their’ country. The French white people to their credit are not nearly as bad as the English ones.

    I have seen Obviously Anglo-Saxon Canadians treat Asian and African people the same way, and even the white people from Russia and Scandinavians are cold shouldered once it is known they are not Anglo-Saxon.

    To our eyes it appears almost like some perverted caste system that operates in the land, with those of British descent being some sort of hereditary Brahmans culturally and in all other manners lording over everyone else, in spite of their talk of multiculturalism.

    And almost everyone seems to think this is the way it should be, as if this is the law of the world, even though like in the “Emperor’s New Clothes,” it is glaringly apparent there is something wrong with this.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Hi guys,

    This is my first year experience in Canada working for govt. sector. I absolutely can say there is high racism, where I am discriminated based on ethnicity, colour and harassment is very high where you can’t find it visually.

    I thought Canada is a good place, to live and speak up. But, mouths are zippedat work places.

    Oops!@ Better to leave this place after few years…

    …Dr.

  40. AfroCan Says:

    Coyote WROTE:

    I have seen Obviously Anglo-Saxon Canadians treat Asian and African people the same way, and even the white people from Russia and Scandinavians are cold shouldered once it is known they are not Anglo-Saxon.

    To our eyes it appears almost like some perverted caste system that operates in the land, with those of British descent being some sort of hereditary Brahmans culturally and in all other manners lording over everyone else, in spite of their talk of multiculturalism.

    ………

    You are so right, my friend about a “perverted caste system”. And it should disturb you in making you more critically aware of North-America’s racial and immigration history.

    Your interesting comments here open up important questions of the persistence of White identity’s hierarchal, historical and territorial nature in the 21st century.

    In the 18th century, not only did Anglo-Saxon Whites go about grading and categorizing Indigenous peoples in North America, Africa, and East and South Asia, but they went about creating hierarchies / grouping folks within the European continent.

    Believe it or not, up to the mid-20th Century, Mediterranean (Greeks, Italians, Portuguese) and Alpine – Eastern Europeans from (Poland, the Ukraine), European Jews and Romany – Gypsies were once considered “off-White” / not quite White” people vis-à-vis Anglo-Saxons and Nordics fro Germany and Scandinavia.

    However, after World War II, decolonization and changing immigration patterns, these identities all changed as these essentially European peoples ASSIMILATED by virtue of their White skin into mainstream North-American culture. They can now claim full or “ethnic White” identity when it suits them in gaining socio-political power and privilege.

    Of course, Aboriginal and other POCs have NEVER had the PRIVILEGE of assimilating into the dominant White mainstream, as the racial boundaries forged and maintained by Whites have remained closed for them. This is why POCs in Britain and North America still have struggles in debating who “belongs” to the nation even when they are native-born.

    In these assimilation and citizenship disputes, only off-White European and Latino peoples can move in and out of the boundaries usually through changing their names, eradicating their ethnicity or for Latino peoples claiming “Hispanic” / Spanish identity.

    Also consider that in Latin American countries and regions as Brazil, Mexico, Cuba and Central America, White identity is still a hotly contested issue—-with darker skinned Aboriginal and bi-racial peoples situated at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Paradoxically, it is ONLY in North America that lighter-skinned people from these Latin-American regions have problems of citizenship, assimilation / claiming White identity in the mainstream. Yet, Anglo-Saxons still do not always consider these people fully White, so they can still end up marginalized.

    The politics of White identity remains a highly paradoxical and inconsistent one.

    There are some excellent books on this conundrum of race, nationalism, assimilation, and the politics of claiming Whiteness. One of the best works is:

    White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race by Ian Haney-Lopez. New York University Press (October 2006).

    The historical legacy and arbitrary ideologies pervading who can claim White identity are apparently alive and thriving.

  41. AfroCan Says:

    “White people” is no more of a homogenizing term than “blacks” or “Asians”.

    Kathy wrote:
    Restructure, I find it very interesting that there are quite a few white people who don’t like being called white people. I have even read comments on other blogs saying “white people” is offensive and racist.
    …………

    This is so true…
    White people in the post-Civil Rights – Colorblind Era resist being named and identified as “White” because it allows them to represent themselves as the people possessing no RACE….Other people—Blacks, Asians, Indigenous Natives are racialized, but White European peoples are just “colorless”, “raceless”, “human” , “normal”, or “just people”.

    Only when pressured, Whites will usually name and identify their ETHINCITY. They will respond with something like, “I’m of half Scottish and Irish background” or “my great grandparents were French and Italian—usually a European or linguist marker—-which is not the same as RACE.

    The “invisibility” and “raceless-ness” of White people allows them to “transcend” and cross different cultural boundaries unimpeded and unobserved.

    In having no “race”, it also allows them to reconstitute group power and privilege undetected.

    I think nominating “White people” or “Euro-Canadians disturbs and offends them because for the longest time, only they held the powers of observation and naming. After all, White Europeans constructed the whole ideology of race in the early days of imperialism and conquest of Africa, Asia and North America. European explorers/colonizers went around (re) naming places and putting people in categories and hierarchies.

    Now they recognize that POCs observe/watch them much in the same way that they watched us in constructing “knowable” and static stereotypes.

    If you look elsewhere in this blog, you will find the same mobilization of racist discourse by White bloggers claiming to “know” POCs better than they know themselves. In their imagination, POCs are always something “unchanging” and static. We can be “pegged” and “pinned down” for scrutiny.

    As a new practice in writing, I deliberately name Whites as “Euro-Canadians” or Euro-Americans” to parallel their use of Afro-Canadians or Asian-Americans. I find adopting this label bothers them too…So it’s OK to label POCs but it’s somehow not “fair” to label and identify them.

    White identity remains a slippery slope category that is always changing over history to let in/assimilate certain groups—i.e. Italians, Greeks, Irish and Jews were once considered “non-White” or off-White vis-à-vis Anglo-Saxon – British people.

  42. fred Says:

    afrocant writes, If you look elsewhere in this blog, you will find the same mobilization of racist discourse by White bloggers claiming to “know” POCs better than they know themselves.

    It takes a lot of nerve for you to criticize my observations on another thread after all the armchair psychoanalysis you just engaged in. You talk a good game but it’s those kinds of inconsistencies that show you’re dishonesty.

    As for the main thrust of your article, I don’t know anyone who objects to being identified as a hyphenated canadian / american regardless of race. You must be travelling in some very radical circles if you think that’s even an issue.

  43. kasia yechimowicz Says:

    Canada could go a long way to fighting racism by providing proper and thorough integration of immigrants: language instruction, cultural expectations, legal requirements, respectful behaviour, and confrontation of their preexisting racism from their country of origin. All too often people coming to Canada come from horrible third world countries where violence, hate, and corruption are the norm, and they bring it with them unless they are taught otherwise.

  44. numol Says:

    @kasia: Institutional racism is not the fault of recent immigrants. Plus, although there are varying levels, violence/corruption/hate are the norm in most (if not all) places AFAIK. I feel like your comment ties into the whole “bigotry is what happens in those ‘horrible third-world countries’, not here” narrative, as well as the “we, the enlightened ‘first-world’ people, must teach *them* to be more tolerant!” narrative.

  45. numol Says:

    + Good God @ some of the older comments here — i.e. “PC thugs”/”we should not let [immigrants] subjugate us”; Bill Gibbons’ and goaler’s whiny rightwing racist bullshit; “white people can’t prove themselves in the job market by being an example of our race”; Meganeaura’s whining about whites being ‘homogenized’ by the term ‘white people’. Good God.


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