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CRM 402 (4)
Chapter 5

CRM402 (Criminal Justice and Inequality) - Chapter 5 Minorities and the Law

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CRM 402
Christina Hollingshead

CRM402-701E – Week 7 Chapter 5: “Bitterly Disappointed” at the Spread of “Colour-Bar Tactics” Minorities and the Law - Canadian History – socio-historical context - The ground-breaking case of Viola Desmond - Challenged racial discrimination in Nova Scotia in 1946 Who was Viola Desmond? - A Canadian woman of colour, a businesswoman - 32-year-old from Halifax on her way to a business trip - The incident at a movie theatre in New Glasgow, NS in November 1946 - She was arrested and charged with violating the provincial Theatres, Cinematographs and Amusements Act of 1915 (segregated movie theatre) - she was jailed for twelve ours, convicted and assessed the minimum of $20 with costs of $6 payable to Harry MacNeil, the theatre owner - What she was protesting was the racially segregated seating at the theatre (the Roseland) - Brings up issues of racial designation (Desmond’s parents and grandparents – her grandfather was “mostly white” yet still get treated as a person of colour) - A culture that, at the time, 1908 when Desmond’s parents married, that rarely welcomed interracial marriage - There was not great contention in Canadian society at the time whether couples of mixed race should be reproducing - This was clearly widespread throughout Western society - Instead there was contention over the formally recognition of these unions (marriage) that created tension within the culture, not the fact that it was happening - This proved especially difficult with cultures based in white supremacy, and caused tensions within the racist society - Other tensions existed within marriages – the domestic sphere verses the public sphere - Backhouse argues that the majority of legal c
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