Canada’s Maclean’s has a whiteness problem.

“‘Too Asian’?” was not the first racist Maclean’s article lamenting the quantity of racialized people displacing white people and white power.

In 2006, Maclean’s published “The future belongs to Islam” by Mark Steyn, who assumed that Muslims all over the world were primarily focused on a shared goal of imposing Islamic law globally, and tried to bring to everyone’s attention that the birth rates of Muslim-majority countries were higher than the birth rates of European countries. Steyn also pointed out that although “Africa” has a high birth rate, it is “riddled with AIDS” and “as we saw in Rwanda, [Africans’] primary identity is tribal”. Steyn then invoked a white colonialist narrative by describing Muslim-majority areas as “Indian territory”, “lawless fringes of the map”, and “badlands” that needed to be “brought within the bounds of the ordered world”. He waxed nostalgically about “the old Indian territory”, when “no one had to worry about the Sioux riding down Fifth Avenue”, “the white man settled the Indian territory”, and “the Injuns had bows and arrows and the cavalry had rifles.” His complaint was that “today’s Indian territory”—i.e., Muslim-majority countries (!)—now have nuclear weapons, and “the fellow from the badlands” can now ride planes and travel quickly. Later, Steyn recounted a story in which some youths in Belgium assaulted a bus passenger, alleging that it was not at all surprising that the youths were “of Moroccan origin”.

In other words, Maclean’s has already published an extremely racist (and Islamophobic) article in the past. Four years later in 2010, Maclean’s “‘Too Asian’?” article expresses the same fears about an “Asian invasion” and dismay at the increasing numbers of racialized people in relation to white people within a given population. Not only is Maclean’s “‘Too Asian’?” a repeat of the W5 “Campus Giveaway” program in 1979 that griped about Asians taking up space in Canadian universities, but it is also a repeat of Maclean’s 2006 article that bemoaned the changing of demographics from white to racialized.

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Chinese Canadians and First Nations peoples (not mutually exclusive)

Zuky, now a Vancouverite and tumblogger, brings us news from the West Coast:

The Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC produced this short video explaining their project “Chinese Canadians and First Nations: 150 Years of Shared Experience”. The project was actually initiated by two UBC students of aboriginal ancestry, Amy Perreault and Karrmen Crey, who produced a short video entitled “Why Do Indians Like Chinese Food?”. When Karrmen Crey was growing up, her father used to tell her, “Do you know why Indians like Chinese food? Because Chinese restaurants were the only restaurants we were allowed in to eat.”

This is a trailer for Cedar and Bamboo, a 22-minute documentary exploring stories of people of Chinese and First Nations ancestry.

I was wondering why the older lady in the video had an accent if she was born in Vancouver, and then I realized that she grew up overseas in a Cantonese-speaking society and then returned to Vancouver when she was an adult.

‘I have native friends but this is going too far.’ – Alberton, Ontario resident

Native group-home proposal sparks racial tension in Ontario town (The Globe and Mail):

All Lori Flinders wanted was to build a group home for displaced native youth in the town of Alberton, Ont. What she encountered was a wave of local resistance that, to her, provided a lesson in reflexive racism.

[…]

The Alberton story takes place at a time when Canada is coming to grips with centuries of legislated bigotry through the federal residential-schools apology and the ongoing Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And it suggests, on the local level at least, that the stain of racial conflict has not gone away.

Since September, 2008, Weechi-it-te-win Family Services had been exploring the property in Alberton, a paper-mill town of about 1,000 people. It seemed an ideal setting for a children’s group home: 166 acres of nature trails, horse stables, an indoor arena and much of the flora used in local aboriginal medicine.

[…]

But then a flyer turned up in local mailboxes warning residents if they did not attend a June 24, 2009 meeting, “You will have a NON-SECURE NATIVE DETENTION CENTRE/GROUP HOME IN YOUR COMMUNITY.” The flyer concluded, “PLEASE! HELP KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY SAFE.”

Aside from the flyer’s factual distortion – none of the children would be involved with the courts – the racial undertones worried at least one resident.

Dorothy Friesen, who moved to Alberton to retire from a career of charity work and activism in the Philippines and Chicago, thought it was the work of “a few whackos” and that “we’d go to this meeting and outnumber them.” When she arrived at the Alberton Municipal Office that night, however, she found more than 150 people had turned out to oppose the centre.

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Canada outlawed First Nations political activism until ~1970.

Excerpted from Whitey Don’t see that: The rising recognition of ‘white privilege’ in Western academia (PDF) by Momoko Price at The Ubyssey, November 2006:

Dominique Clement, a human rights historian at the University of Victoria, said researching the First Nations social movement during the 20th Century is a funny thing, because there are very few documents on the topic to research.

“First Nations is interesting. There’s very, very little written on First Nations human rights activism. There’s this weird period between 1910 and 1969 where First Nations were not terribly politically active.”

You might wonder why this might be the case. And unless you’re up-tospeed on graduate-level Canadian history, you probably won’t guess the real reason. It wasn’t simply because First Nations were poor, or displaced, or lacked support (though these reasons obviously contributed.) It was because Aboriginal activism was explicitly against federal law.

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In Canada, health care is not universal.

Sometimes objective criticism of your government can only come from a foreign news outlet. Jessica Yee, a Chinese-Mohawk woman from Toronto, has published an article in The Guardian, a British newspaper, about Canada’s deep-rooted discrimination against indigenous communities.

Last week, on June 23, 2009—during a swine flu outbreak that disproportionately affects impoverished First Nations reserves—Health Canada delayed shipping hand sanitizers to First Nations reserves, because they contained alcohol. The Canadian government was concerned that the hand sanitizers would fuel alcohol addiction among reserve communities. (That’s racist.)

Jessica Yee, in Canada’s swine flu shame (The Guardian), writes:

Let’s review the facts. In the two and a half weeks that the government deliberated over whether to send hand sanitiser to reserve communities, this is what happened:

• More swine flu cases developed

• Chiefs, community leaders, nurses and community health representatives scrambled to deal with the escalating outbreak without help from a non-responsive government

• Families, children, elders and community members in these areas had no choice but to wait and see if they were going to get any type of diagnosis or care as conditions worsened

• The wider Canadian population heard occasional reports of the virus developing more in First Nations communities but not enough to warrant a national outpouring of support.

Access to necessary healthcare services is an ongoing problem for many indigenous people around the world, and Canada is no exception. But universal healthcare and non-insured health benefits (which First Nations and Inuit individuals receive in Canada) don’t mean anything if you live somewhere you still cannot get household plumbing, let alone a visit to the doctor.

Read the rest of Canada’s swine flu shame at The Guardian.

Police threatened to charge aboriginal beating victim if he pressed charges.

In February, two security guards in Toronto allegedly beat an aboriginal man, sending him to the hospital with three broken ribs and a punctured lung. The security guards said, “You natives are nothing but trouble,” and said that natives were drunks and would never amount to anything.

When the victim, Cliff Hussin, wanted to lay criminal charges against the two security guards, the police told him that if he charged the security guards, the police would charge him as well. Hussin is on probation and out on bail from previous assault charges. As Hussin fears that he may land back in jail, he will likely not press charges against his assaulters. Read the rest of this entry »