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SOSC 2350 Final: Essay #4

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 2350
Dena Demos

Essay 4: In her article, Backhouse provides an account of efforts to apply oppressive racialized social controls using the Canadian legal system. Using the examples of the White Womens Labour Law and the case of Yee Clun only, how did the legislative and judicial branches of government both reproduce and attempt to counter legal racialization? Explain how law was used as a tool of legal oppression. Racialization is the process of ascribing ethnic or racial identities to a relationship, social practice, or group that did not identify itself as such. In this essay, I will discuss the extent in which the government took to support oppressive racialization during the time of the Yee Clun case and the white women labour law. Thereafter, I will assert that through Montesquieus three levels of governments there is a lack of effectiveness in separation of powers function. In the article by Montesquieu, he expanded on the separation of powers. He identified three branches of government, which include: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The most important duty of the legislative branch is to make laws, whereas the executive branch has the power to implement these laws created by the legislative branch. Lastly, the judicial branch administers the law through interpretation and acts like a liaison between the government and its citizens. Montesquieu declared that both legislative and executive must be kept separate from the judiciary to ensure liberty. However, if it was joined with the legislative, then life and liberty of the individual would be subject to arbitrary control and the judge would then be legislator. In addition, if the executive power was not kept separate from the judiciary, then the judge might behave with violence and oppression. Consequently, judges should be the protector of citizens and they must be able to serve as the best barrier against unruly and lawless governments actions. In the Backhouses article, she declares that Canadian law was promoting and allowing racism and discrimination among the Asian community. Backhouse explains how the introduction of the White Womens Labour Law (WWLL) in 1912, which banned Chinese men from hiring white women. This all began when a group of small businessmen and maletrade unionists decided to protest because they were convinced that male Chinese immigrants were competition. It was also believed that Chinese individuals were drug addicts and opium users, which went against the values of the Canadian citizens. Subsequently, middleclass white womens groups also joined with the union group and businessmen because of fear of interracial marriages and how it can affect the employeremployee relationship at work. With the WWLL it may have benefited the middleclass white women, as well as male workers and businessmen but it does not benefit the immigrants because it took away equality rights from the Chinese immigrants. In her article, Backhouse discusses the past case of Yee Clun case. In 1924, Yee Clun was a Regina restaurant owner who was fighting a Saskatchewan law that required him to secure a municipal license to hire white women as employees. Alderman Cooksley was supportive of the
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