Group Leader Assignment - Nelson, Fleras, Brooks, and Milijan
March 11, 2014
1. What does it mean that race is a social construct?
2. What are the pros and cons of multiculturalism? Should Toronto proceed
with ‘Afrocentric’ schools?
3. Is the collective rights model favored by many Aboriginal leaders
compatible with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
4. Where do you situate yourself in the Flanagan/Cairns debate?
5. On balance, is Canada more ‘the good,’ ‘the bad,’ or ‘the ugly?’
6. My question: What could we do to stop racism, discrimination and
1. It means that race is a social construction, i.e. created in our minds and
upheld in our daily actions. Of course, there is some truth to race because
you can observe that an African has darker skin than a European and that
a Chinese person has more slanted eyes than a Middle Eastern. However,
the lines between these variations and what the different races mean is
socially constructed. The fact that we consider races to be "social groups"
is constructed. There are groups of people out there with blue eyes and
brown eyes, but we don't consider them to be social groups, nor do we just
a person's culture or make assumptions about a person based on eye
color. Race is the same thing -- we don't have to make it an important
feature, but it seems like many people do.
- Social construct: created in our minds and upheld in our daily actions
- What different races mean is socially constructed
- i.e. We do not consider people with different eye color to be a part of
2. Pros – variety of food (I think that’s the only one – some may argue that
there are no prods to multiculturalism) – “multiculturalism has resulted in
the establishment of a policy and a corresponding set of initiatives for
advancing minority interests that strike many as necessary, fair, and
workable within Canada’s liberal-democratic framework.” P189
Cons – alienation of people, increased crime rates, creates ethnic gangs,
native cultures ‘destroyed’, political, racial and religious divides.
“Those who argue that multiculturalism is a problem rather than a solution Sharon Karpichenkov
often resort to a host of criticisms. For the sake of analysis, adverse
reactions can be classified into four categories: 1) multiculturalism as a
“divisive” since it undermines Canadian society; 2) multiculturalism as
“regressive” since it defuses minority aspirations and needs; 3) … as
“ornamental” … 4) … “irrelevant” since cultural solutions are inappropriate
for structural problems.” P186
Toronto should NOT proceed with ‘Afrocentric’ schools – we are trying to
create equality for all people and