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Reviewed by:
  • Race and Ethnicity: Finding Identities and Equalities, and: Seeing Ourselves: Exploring Race, Ethnicity and Culture
  • Jeffrey G. Reitz
Leo Driedger , Race and Ethnicity: Finding Identities and Equalities, Second Edition, Don Mills ON: Oxford University Press, 2003, 318pp.
Carl E. James , Seeing Ourselves: Exploring Race, Ethnicity and Culture, Third Edition, Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, 2003, 340 pp.

Both of these books, intended as texts in university courses in race and ethnic relations in Canada, are updates of previously-published versions dating back to 1989. The 1989 version of Leo Driedger's book was entitled The Ethnic Factor: Identity in Diversity and published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson. An updated version appeared from Oxford University Press in 1996 as Multi-Ethnic Canada: Identities and Inequalities. The current book is the "Second Edition" from Oxford. The 1989 version of Carl E. James' book was published by Sheridan College. A revised edition was published by Thompson in 1995, with an update in 1999. Since the 2003 versions of both of these books are very much like the earlier versions (Driedger's text has title changes, James' has more new material), readers may usefully consult previous reviews such as [End Page 229] those appearing in the pages of this journal. Eric Fong reviewed Driedger's Multi-Ethnic Canada in 1999 (v. 24, 4; pp. 553–4) and Subhas Ramcharan reviewed James' Seeing Ourselves in 1997 (v. 22,3; pp. 396–7).

Driedger's text adopts a fairly conventional approach, covering the wide range of topics expected in a comprehensive survey course on race and ethnic relations in Canada. There are five parts, including classical and contemporary theory, a description of the ethnic diversity of Canadian society, analysis of identity formation and inequalities, respectively, and concluding with a discussion of human rights issues. This is an excellent format, and the discussion of many specific topics is quite comprehensive. Driedger's own research contributions are extensive, and he can hardly be faulted for making full use of them in his text. The book also is very clearly written. These virtues undoubtedly are major reasons for the success of the text.

Fong's review of the 1996 edition cited "many limitations" to the book. These include the neglect of "most recent theoretical and empirical discussions of ethnic relations" in sociology. Given the minor updating for this 2003 edition, the limitation has become rather more worrisome. Fong's list of neglected topics included the human capital analysis of immigrant employment, ethnic entrepreneurship and the enclave economy, segmented assimilation, and processes of inter-ethnic competition. Today one might add other interests such as native-born racial minorities, sub-ethnicity, transnationalism, and a global perspective. As well, most policy discussions are woefully out-of-date, and there is little sense of current policy debates regarding immigration (symptomatically the points-based immigration selection points system is described as it was in 1986, Table 3.1), multiculturalism (such as prompted by Neil Bissoondath's 1994 book) or race relations (employment equity is barely mentioned and only the initial 1986 federal legislation, there is no mention of anti-racism advocacy, and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is erroneously described as not yet implemented, p. 51). The book would benefit from a serious overhaul, rather than the perfunctory updating it has received.

Carl James' text is completely different. Although the book adopts a social-science perspective on race relations, and there are chapters on a range of subjects such as racism and discrimination, equity programs, multiculturalism, and immigrants and refugees, in other respects the book departs sharply from the conventional textbook format. James illuminates issues of race and ethnic relations using commentaries gathered from students in courses over past years, which "present the experiences, ideas, conceptualizations, convictions and reactions of Ontario college and university students who participated in both compulsory and elective courses with me during their educational program" (p. 16). The reader is placed in direct contact with a range of viewpoints about racial minorities in Canada, both from whites and from minorities themselves. In some ways, the text reads like a focus-group report, with extended and [End Page 230] lightly-edited quotations organized thematically and with extended narration for context. The...


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pp. 229-231
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Archived 2007
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