LS300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Gender Analysis, Loaded Language, Color Blindness

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12 Aug 2016
Department
Course
Professor
LS 300
Equality
Lecture 2
‘Equality’ in the charter
- Section 15:
- (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to
the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and,
in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin,
colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical ability
- (2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as
its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or
groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or
ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical ability
- Q’s that arise: Should everyone be treated the same? What happens when
everyone is treated the same? What if people don’t want to be treated the
same as certain people?
- Discrimination and sexism and racism/poverty are rampant.
Heteronormativity dominates. We live in a colonial state. There are systemic
social problems in society so that which is stated in the law does not mean
we actually apply these laws in practice or that it exists in our society.
- Charter is aspirational, it’s framed as a pursuit of justice
- Relationship between laws in society - Is what’s in the law shaping society or
vice versa?
Formal Equality
- Sameness – treating everyone as though they are the same, and socially
positioned in the same way.
- ‘Neutral’ policies (Ex. ‘race-neutral policies) – colour blind approach in law
- Reasons (assumes) that a level playing field exists, therefore, everyone can
be treated as the same.
Claims about universal subject position; that we come to the law from
the same place – but we don’t
Claims about equality existing (ex. That we live in a ‘post-race’
society/racism no longer exists). – Dangerous ideas because racism
does exist, and social barriers that exist based on sexuality. Ignores
the realities. Says people should be judged on individual merit but this
isn’t possible because not everyone has the same opportunities. If
someone doesn’t succeed it blames the person not the social &
structural barriers. Any claim that states there’s no discrimination is
dangerous.
- Criticism of the formal equality approach:
Social context gets ignored. People get abstracted from their
circumstances. Falsely treats everyone the same when we are not all
the same.
Everyone is not actually socially positioned in the same way. We live
in a patriarchal society and stereotypical male attributes are valued.
Formal equality is a myth (Daum & Ishiwata): “ The myth of a single
level playing field, however, ignores that the field is more level for
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