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Racisms in a Multicultural Canada

Paradoxes, Politics, and Resistance


Publication Year: 2014

In acknowledging the possibility that as the world changes so too does racism, this book argues that racism is not disappearing, despite claims of living in a post-racial and multicultural world. To the contrary, racisms persist by transforming into different forms whose intent or effects remain the same: to deny and disallow as well as to exclude and exploit.

Racisms in a Multicultural Canada is organized around the assumption that race is not simply a set of categories and that racism is not just a collection of individuals with bad attitudes. Rather, racism is as much a matter of interests as of attitudes, of property as of prejudice, of structural advantage as of personal failing, of whiteness as of the “other,” of discourse as of discrimination, and of unequal power relations as of bigotry. This multi-dimensionality of racism complicates the challenge of formulating anti-racism and anti-colonialist strategies capable of addressing it.

Employing a critical framework that puts politics and power at the centre of analysis, this book focuses on why racisms proliferate, how they work in contemporary societies, and how the way we think and talk about racism changes over time. Specifically, it examines the working of contemporary racisms in a multicultural Canada that claims to abide by principles of multiculturalism and a commitment to a post-racial society.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xvi

Not long ago, everyone knew what racism meant. Racism consisted of loutish individuals with twisted attitudes who had it in for those less fortunate “coloured” folk. Or, to put a finer academic spin on it, racism was about mistreating minorities because their membership in a devalued race...

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Section 1: Reappraising Racism

References to reconceptualizing reality are proving both popular and pervasive. What most of these references endorse is a commitment to problematize (“to deconstruct”) those processes and conditions often perceived as unproblematic—that is, as natural, normal, and necessary yet socially constructed...

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Chapter 1: The Politics of Racism: Evolving Realities, Shifting Discourses

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pp. 3-26

To say we live in interesting times may be clichéd, yet strangely apropos when applied to the politics of racism. Instead of atrophying into irrelevance as many had expected or hoped, the spectre of racism continues...

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Chapter 2: Reconceptualizing Racism: From Racism 1.0 to Racisms 2.0

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pp. 27-54

How did racism work in the past? There once was a time when a racist could be spotted from a mile away because everyone knew what racism was and who racists were (Anderson, 2010). Racism 1.0 consisted of words, actions, and beliefs that (1) espoused the extreme right (from the Ku Klux...

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Chapter 3: The Riddles of Race

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pp. 55-96

Few will dispute the significance of race in shaping intergroup dynamics (Goodman, Moses, & Jones, 2012; Tattersall & DeSalle, 2011; Comack, 2011; Brace, 2005). References to race historically permeated Euro-American society in its encounters with the largely non-Christian “other.” Nineteenth-century Europeans justified colonization by conferring...

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Chapter 4: Deconstructing Racism: Prejudice, Discrimination, Power

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pp. 97-122

Hatred of outgroups is inextricably linked to the human condition. Hate as a catalyst for murder or mayhem is neither unique nor new, despite the more cosmopolitan realities of the twenty-first century. But responses to questions of why people hate are sharply contested. Is it because of our...

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Section 2: How Racisms Work: Sectors and Expressions

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pp. 123-126

The previous chapters capitalized on three themes: First, racisms in Canada are the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. Second, racisms assume new forms in response to anti-racism interventions, in effect resembling the hydra-headed snake of Greek mythology whose lopped-off heads...

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Chapter 5: Interpersonal Racisms

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pp. 127-144

Interpersonal racism entails a pattern of dislike that occurs at the level of individuals and relationships (Fleras, 2012). This bias is directed at the “other” because of who he is or what she stands for. On one side are overt racisms, both direct and open; on the other side are more covert...

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Chapter 6: Institutional Racisms

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pp. 145-158

Reference to institutional racisms shifts the focus of analysis. An emphasis on individual attitudes and interpersonal relations gives way to those institutional designs, dynamics, and outcomes that secure both white privilege and a racialized status quo. Institutional racism is not about...

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Chapter 7: Ideological Racisms

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pp. 159-170

Ideological racism constitutes that level of racism pertaining to the social and cultural dimensions of society. Ideological racism points to the prevalence and pervasiveness of cultural values and communication patterns that quietly but cumulatively advance dominant interests at the expense...

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Chapter 8: Infrastructural Racisms

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pp. 171-180

Racisms are never just about individuals, even if people are the perpetrators and carriers as well as beneficiaries or victims. In addition, racisms are foundationally embedded within the structure, functions, and processes of society (Lentin, 2004). The origins and evolution of complex...

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Chapter 9: Ivory Tower Racisms: An Intersectoral Analysis

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pp. 181-200

Many take it as axiomatic that racism and racial discrimination contaminate the domain and dynamics of Canadian institutions (Tator & Henry, 2006; Das Gupta, 2009; Hier, 2007; Fleras, 2009). Social institutions have been criticized for failing to remove structural barriers that preclude full...

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Section 3: Explaining Racisms, Erasing Racisms

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pp. 201-204

Most Canadians would agree (at least in public or in principle) that racism is a social problem. A belief in the problematic nature of racism is justified on several accounts: first, the persistence of racism contravenes core Canadian values pertaining to liberal universalism; second, its existence contradicts a...

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Chapter 10: Contesting Racisms: Causes, Continuities, Costs, and Consequences

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pp. 205-222

Judging by public opinion surveys, a substantial number of Canadians are disengaged from the realities of racisms. Mainstream Canadians are either ignorant of or misinformed about racisms in Canada with respect to causes, continuities, costs, and consequences. Many appear unwilling to...

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Chapter 11: Rooting Out Racisms: Anti-racism Interventions

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pp. 223-242

Most Canadians are no longer racists in the blatant sense of openly vilifying racialized minorities. Long gone are the days of brazenly demonizing others because of their racial appearance. Such incidents unlikely to return in light of numerous checks and balances, which include an...

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Chapter 12: Official Multiculturalism: Anti-racism or Another Racism?

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pp. 243-262

Many are perplexed by the paradoxes that unsettle Canada’s official multiculturalism (Fleras, 2009; Chazan et al., 2011; Haque, 2012). On one side, multiculturalism is perceived as a misguided idea that, unfortunately, is unfolding according to plan. On the other are those who believe that multiculturalism is a good idea gone bad because of twisted politics...

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Chapter 13: Summary and Conclusion: Inconvenient Truths/Comforting Fictions

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pp. 263-268

The possibility that as the world changes, so too does racism, cuts to the core of this book. Racisms in a Multicultural Canada has argued that racism is not disappearing despite glibly worded claims that Canada is basking in the balm of a post-racial milieu. On the contrary, racism in...


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pp. 269-318


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pp. 319-326

E-ISBN-13: 9781554589548
E-ISBN-10: 1554589541
Print-ISBN-13: 9781554589531

Page Count: 330
Publication Year: 2014