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SOAN 2290 (9)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Fleras Summary

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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2290
Cecil Foster

Chapter 3: Fleras Chapter 3 Racism in Canada Questions to Ask Yourself throughout this chapter: Is Canada a racist society? Why or why not? Is a racist society the same thing as racism within a society? Is Canada entering a postracism era? For some Canada is inherently a racist society: In design and outcomes with a thin veneer of tolerance that attempts to camouflage a pervasive white superiority complex Examples given are of a prominent academic from Queens university claiming that Canada is a racist society in the Kingston Whig-Standard (2003) and a high-profile Aboriginal leader in the Globe and Mail (2001) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada in regard to the # of government jobs going to minority groups (2008) For others Canada is a fundamentally sound society: Raymond Chan former Multiculturalism Minister (2005) the least racist society in the world Many like to think Canada is largely colour-blind Others believe that it depends on where you stand in the big picture It depends on how broadly or narrowly racism in Canada is defined and conceptualized What is meant by the word racism? There are different kinds of racism People experience racism differently Ones experience or perception of racism may depend on time and place Some people believe racism is about biology and race; others cultural differences Signs of Canadas multiculturalism and lack of racism: Racism is relatively muted Laws in place that criminalize racism Terms like inclusivity, multiculturalism and equity are tossed around regularly Aboriginal Canadians are no longer excluded from the political realm First Nations have the rights to self-determination and autonomy Similar to the Quebecois, who are virtually their own distinct society Once predominantly Anglo centric cities, Toronto and Vancouver are now vibrant, cosmopolitan centres United Nations has ranked Canada as the most liveable country in the world for 8 consecutive years, currently its # 4 Unfortunately what shines in the distance looks lack-luster up close: Racism is deeply embedded in Canadas history, culture, laws and institutions although often in more subtle ways Canada was founded on the colonization of aboriginal people, dispossession of their lands and resources, and extreme preferential treatment toward white European settlers Minority was viewed as irrelevant or inferior and rejected/accepted on a hierarchy based on their proximity to the French and English 5000 Ukrainians were placed in concentration camps during WWI Same was done to Japanese-Canadians in British Columbia during WWII until 1949 The Klu Klux Klan was active and assumed a major profile in Canada in the 20s and 30s who aimed its racist bile at blacks as well as Catholics, French-Canadians and Asians Also called the Kanadian Klan Blacks also encountered segregation in schools, communities, housing and public events and venues such as theatres and the armed forces Example given of a man named Samuel Malcolm a black man from the Barbados who moved to Canada at age four; he applied to and fought against the racism within the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) during WWII to be a pilot; he eventually moved his way up from being offered a job as a waiter or menial worker to taking radar school and being a ground crew to retiring as a flight lieutenant 2007 Sun Media report; sample of 3000 Canadians; conducted by Leger Marketing; confirmed that 47% of respondents self-identified as strongly (1%), moderately, or slightly racist while 66% of racialized minorities indicated that they had experienced/been victimized by racial discrimination Racism Discourses have changed as well: Instead of framing racism as bad people with bad attitudes doing bad things to those less fortunate, references to racism now include the following points of emphasis: Proliferation of multi-racisms depending on the context and target group Racism is a moving target rather than a stationary object Racism as a process or activity rather than a thing Racism as an attribute applied after the fact (unintended rather than deliberate) Racism as structural and systemic rather than individual and attitudinal Racism as power rather than prejudice Racism as perspectival depending on where one is racially located in societ
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