The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Canada: just as racist as everywhere else

By in Opinions


Canada is a multicultural nation, meaning that the people who inhabit our native land come from diverse backgrounds. Typically, Canada is portrayed as accepting and welcoming of all people. However this is not necessarily true — racism is alive and well in Canada and something needs to be done about it.

In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello, Desdemona, in response to an accusation of infidelity, says, “I understand a fury in your words, but not the words.” What Desdemona means is that while she can read her husband’s emotional state, she just does not know why he is saying what he is saying. To me this is all racism is: lots of hatred, lots of emotion — but I can’t find a good reason why racist statements ever need to be made.

I will be completely transparent and not plead ignorance or take a holier-than-thou stance and say I have never said a racial slur. I have been on both the giving and receiving end of comments, jokes and insults which were based solely on race. I am ashamed of those incidents and I hope that they will never happen again.

The widely held opinion of Canada both around the world and in our country, is that we are somehow morally superior to our neighbours to the south. It is admittedly an easy mistake to make. Many of the popular TV shows, movies, music and news that Canadians choose to enjoy show the darker side of the American culture. The media shows the violence, guns, drugs and the ever-present and often negative discussion of race in the U.S.

This is held in stark contrast to the stereotyped view of Canada as a fun-loving, constantly apologizing, toque-wearing population. It allows us to believe that we are a racism-free, pluralistic and united society. It is unfortunate that nothing could be farther from the truth. Canada may be the land of multiculturalism but that has not made us accepting of everyone.

The history of racism in America is far better known and publicized than the sordid details of Canada’s racist past. Much has been written of the negative treatment, both historical and in the present, towards Aboriginal groups, Asian-Canadians, Jewish refugees of the Holocaust and numerous other ethnic groups that call this country their home. However, very little — if at all — of the shameful parts of Canada’s past are ever remembered by the public at large.

Very few people who make racist remarks are evil. Many — myself included — have said such things in moments of anger or out of pure ignorance. That does not absolve them of the statements they make, but it does not make them fully culpable for their actions either. We all say things we regret and we all must take responsibility for our own actions.

Racism is the scourge that will consistently and constantly rear its ugly head in the nation of Canada. A country as diverse as ours — not just ethnically, but linguistically and religiously — will have incidents which divide the country. Conflict remains inevitable.

If we are ever to successfully stop racism in this Canada, we must come to the realization that a large majority of us are in some way racist. It may be a snide comment, a joke between friends or a subconscious desire to discriminate against an unfamiliar person. Many people, if not all, experience these feelings at some point. Some repress it and some give into what they see as a socially acceptable practice.

By saying that Canadians need to acknowledge that racism still exists, I am not saying that racism will disappear overnight. No one should be naive enough to believe that. By acknowledging that racism exists in this country we can at least begin to have a conversation on how to eliminate it. The current methods of education and the general apathy towards acknowledging racism means that we are not as accepting as we should be.

Canada is a modern nation in a modern world. We describe ourselves as a multicultural country and in policy alone we reflect that. In practice, social interactions prove that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If we want to call ourselves a nation of equality and multiculturalism we need to start acting like it.

  • h.

    I was born and raised in Canada by immigrant parents and I’m now 21. I’ve lived throughout Ontario as well as Saskatchewan, and till this day I have never faced racism. And I’m Muslim, too! I think that says a lot about Canada’s embrace of multiculture. Racism will never be completely eradicated from anywhere, since there will always be ignorant people and superiority complexes, but I’m proud to say that I have never faced racism here, not even as a kid in school. It’s possible I may face racism in the future, but I still I don’t think racism is big problem here. I absolutely love Canada and there’s no place in the world like it.

    • disqus_Tzx2ALN3U0

      Happy to have you here brother/sister :)

    • ghanderman

      im sure the aboriginal community wouldnt agree. what you do you look like?

  • Kent Pollard

    This is an easy position to take, and to state, especially if one does no work to establish the truth, but is quickly disproved by any effort at finding real information. While Canada may, or may not, be substantially better than the United States, using a comparison to a single other country as the basis for a generic claim that we (as the headline states) are “Just as racist as everywhere else,” is a bit disingenuous. When asked who they would not want to live beside, various nations in the Middle East and Africa are approximately five times as likely as Canadians to say “people of another race” (Washington Post, Max Fisher, May 2013)

    There are plenty of other nations that exhibit far higher levels than Canada of intolerance, and which are more likely to be violent in their reaction to that intolerance. Canada is a long way from perfect, but to claim we are “Just as racist as everywhere else,” reflects a failure to have done any real research.

    • jen

      The Sheaf is just running out of ideas.

    • ghanderman

      i have a FN friend who was born and raised in canada, then moved to the USA where she lives now. she says she will never live in canada again because of the level of racism there against FN people. she also says she has never been treated with as much basic respect, humanity, and dignity in canada as she is treated daily in the us.

    • Kent Pollard

      Which doesn’t change the fact there are countries where the government is (whether explicitly or implicitly) actively engaging in genocide. Try telling the Serbians in Bosnia or Rohingan’s in Myanmar that Canada is “Just as racist as everywhere else” (Assuming you can find any that haven’t been killed or kicked out of their country)

    • Sojo Truth

      None of which changes the fact that thanks to Canada’s racism (while it is as closeted as it gets is no less rabid than any other form) a factual legislated genocide is happening right now.

      When Rafael Lemkin coined the term “genocide” he did not make a distinction between physical extermination or the use of non-physical tactics to effectively destroy a people as a people because he understood (as all morally aware people do) that killing a people can be bloodless.

      That fact remains that you can exterminate people through physical violence (which Canada has a history of doing to FN people) or you can exterminate them through the “soft” violence of paper, which Canada also has a history of doing.

      YOU may choose to pretend that one is worse than the other while I acknowledge as a person of conscience that all violence and all racism IS WRONG and the sooner y’all face up to your ugly side and quit trying to deny it and minimize the damage, the sooner the world will be a better place for everyone.

  • angry foodie

    Kent Pollard took a quite correct view of this article.

    Racism is almost innate, it is the demonization of “the other” and is prevalent in all societies to some extent.

    Anti-black racism is far worse in the Middle East and northern Africa than it is even in America.

    The Japanese are known cultural supremacists. See history of term “gaijin”, World War II, etc.

    Even in northern Saskatchewan, the hatred the Cree show for the Dene is not only marked, it is out in the open. Many Euro-Canadians (or “whiteys”, as we have sometimes been called) have also felt the smack of racism in northern aboriginal communities.

    But perhaps the most annoying part of this opinion is that it is all assertions. There is not even one premise supporting the thesis. It is all “racism is bad” and “Canada still has racism.”

    In reality, Canada is about as close as you can get. We have not went over the top like the UK where any criticism of militant Islam is thoroughly repressed. Yet we do not allow racist presumptions to dominate our policies towards Muslims.

    Our aboriginal policy, more than any other, is one where great cleavages still exist, even though certain elements of it are plainly propagandistic. For example the notion that what we need is a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. Though Stephen Harper may have been wrong to say that it is not sociological, it is also not the fault of the government.

    Anti-Harper types have used this issue as a political wedge against him when the solutions are to be found on the reserve level. What are the rates of missing and murdered women on Clarence Louis’ reserve? I actually want to know, because in my view this is a problem that deserves a grassroots solution, not some billion dollar top-down solution that will conclude with no change.

    • Skunk Woman

      No, racism is no more “innate” than is sexism, homophobia, or a preference for blue over red. This is what I mean about the systemic ignorance in Canada around issues of race and racism. This is not surprising, actually, considering that white folks typically co-opt meaning in discourse and prefer meaning that makes themselves look better, ie, absconds them of responsibility and accountability in matters of their colonially-socially embedded racism memes.

      Canada is racist by virtue of the mere fact that EVERY SINGLE SOCIAL INSTITUTION is being dominated, defined, controlled, determined and over-represented by white people. That in and of itself is a technical definition of racism, which itself also means to privilege a specific groups’ socio-cultural and political reality over other groups.

      I don’t know how deeply your denial is, but it seems pretty deep considering that you think Quon’s article has no merit or does not itself present as proof of the existence of racism in Canada. The denial around racism being a factor in creating the conditions that are ideal for predators to prey on Aboriginal women is also baffling and I can only chalk it up to the affliction you seem to share with all white people in Canada who are active practitioners of the denial of racism.

      Well, you can continue to deny all you want; your belief or denial is not required for the reality of racism to be legitimized. Actions speak louder than words, and your government consistently proves again and again its racist colonialist stance.

    • angry foodie

      Blablabla…a bunch of pseudo-academic goobledygook.

      Look at the RCMP report. Aboriginal women are predominantly victims of violence at the hands of aboriginal men.

      Never mind the fact that aboriginal men are much more likely to be victims of violence than aboriginal women to boot.

      But who needs facts when you can say that aboriginal women are targeted because of racism?

      Your constant references to white people only reflects the underlying racism in your viewpoints. The reality is that most of the things you take for granted (like cars, electricity, the internet) were the invention of white people. Cultural synthesis, and the failure to make that policy many years ago, ought to have been the goal of policy makers from the get-go.

      Rather than playing the race card, maybe some inward looking would be advisable. I am tired of being called a racist for being smart enough to see the truth and reject what I see as elite and rich aboriginal people using the collective poverty of those under their thumb to blame someone else.

      Racism is about individual conduct. Blather about racism and colonialism might play well to your audience on a university campus, but the many aboriginals I have worked with through the years could really care less about your identity politics. They just want to have jobs and be productive. They knew I wasn’t racist because I was often the one hiring them. They are also smart enough to know that leadership on the reserve level is a big part of the problem.

    • Sojo Truth

      Take another look at the RCMP report.

      A much closer one and you will see that the report only tracks Aboriginal on Aboriginal crime.

      There’s no real way of knowing the actual ethnicity of the perpetrator because the RCMP doesn’t make that data easily available unlike the FBI uniform crime reporting which goes a long way in dispelling the racist myths about Black violence.

    • angry foodie

      Moreover, how do you explain the fact that ALL people are racist and everyone, including it seems a number of American Indian slave owners, hated blacks?

      There is no more pernicious racism than that against blacks. Even the racist white people who came to this land centuries ago considered the First Nations people superior to black people.

      Yet for some reason, everyone cries the river, as if Chinese people aren’t racist, as if racism is not demonstrated by all races.

      Racism is about how you treat people. Treat people with respect regardless of color and save the crap for someone else.

    • ghanderman

      *yawn* and thus the third class thinking of the average white canadian is revealed

  • Not Whitey

    I don’t believe its fair to state that the government shouldn’t put forward an effective inquiry plan to the many missing Aboriginal women and at the same time say you have felt racism in Northern Aboriginal communities. Missing Aboriginal women covers a national scope and is not centralized to certain areas. That’s privileged in itself to believe that without circumstance everyone should be treated as equals. That’s like saying, “hey after years of systemic racism, backlash, and oppression it’s time we all treat each other equally”. I often get asked why there aren’t scholarships for just caucasian people since I’m an African American person. These comments are racist in themselves and it’s sad to realize that many people are uneducated about the historical context of why such opportunities are available to people belonging to a minority group.

    The point of this article is not to discuss how we compare to other countries but to take a look at Canada and decide how can we make it better for each other by talking about racism. Because of the diversity within Canada there is an agglomeration of cultures and subcultures intertwined together. These different cultures piled together often means that the differences are highlight between cultures rather than realizing how similar we are. However, with racism usually follows classism which is a different issue…

    • JustHuman

      “That’s like saying, ‘hey after years of systemic racism, backlash, and oppression it’s time we all treat each other equally'”

      So what are you saying, “Not Whitey”? Are you trying to say that the white folks have what’s coming to them? Are you trying to condone ethnic violence, but only as long as you’re giving white people what they deserve? Disgusting.

      P.S. Yep. In our modern society we should all be able to grow up and treat each other equally, yes, even in the wake of systemic racism and oppression that most modern day white folks had nothing to do with and try very hard to fight against.

    • Skunk Woman

      “Systemic racism” by definition means you dont have to have built the systems that are racist to still benefit from them.

      This is the problem with allowing the offender (racist white folks) to define the offense.

      If you are sincerely concerned about these issues, then you need to educate yourself on what we are really talking about when we say “race” and “racism”. That’s what scholars do: they dig deeper and deconstruct concepts, discourse, ideas, power, praxis etc etc.

    • angry foodie

      How do you know that missing and murdered aboriginal women is not more prominent in certain areas?

      Why do you think I used Clarence Louis’ reserve as an example? Because if the rates of missing and murdered women on that reserve are much lower than the rate across Canada (or the national rate of missing and murdered women period), that implies that the issue is not aboriginals, but the social problems more prominent in aboriginal communities lacking the economic vibrance and strong leadership at Oosoyoos.

      The factors affecting it are plainly the same as the factors affecting missing women in general. These factors (domestic violence, child abuse, etc.) are just more prevalent in aboriginal communities.

      Yet it is easier for “ivory tower aboriginals” to blame the past, blame Harper, blame someone white, than look inwards and find solutions to the problems.

      In many cases, it is as simple as not killing your girlfriend and wife, which is the single most common cause of murdered aboriginal women in Canada, the same with all murdered women.

      There have been plenty of reports, studies, etc. We have more hard data than we could ever use on this issue. There is no conspiracy here. Simply put, aboriginals need to take up some of the slack pulling themselves out of the cycle of violence that is the true root cause of the problem.

      It’s so damn obvious too.

    • Shelly from next door

      Excuse me, but how many reserves have you visited and how many Indigenous folks have you spoken with? Because it sounds like you are suffering from talking out of your asshole-itis. Better get that loooked at, because you obviously haven’t been paying attention with your mouth full of all that feces and what not. NWAC….I bet you dont even know what that is. Alkali Lake….I bet you havent even heard of that place. Blue Quills….google it. Go ahead, google all of it because I would like to help you out of your affliction and save you the pain of looking like a pompous ignorant racist fool :) you can thank me later. Here’s an awesome article talking about your brand of racism. Just replace America with Canada…..

    • angry foodie

      I have visited around a dozen reserves in Saskatchewan. I employed a number of guys from the reserve. I also did contract work for two reserves, one in eastern Saskatchewan, the other in northern Saskatchewan. I have formed good relations with both Cree and Dene people in my life. It shocked me the amount of open racism the Cree show for the Dene. It saddened me because two of my very good childhood friends were Dene men from Wollaston Lake. I grew up lower middle class on the west side of Saskatoon. I was discriminated against and bullied by aboriginals for being white as a youth at Westmount Elementary in Saskatoon. Very few white kids went to that school in my day. I also was targeted for crime by aboriginals because I was white countless times during my youth. I learned when to fight and when to run very quickly in that environment. So if there is anyone who has a reason to really dislike aboriginals, I am the guy.

      Yet, I also was always willing to hire aboriginals, including those who had done significant jail time. I never judged any individual on the numerous bad experiences I had and always gave a person a chance to prove themselves. The reason I was in the position to hire was because I worked my ass off getting good at something and was reliable. The work was also blue-collar and tough as hell.

      Your argument is based on the assertion that I’m racist and therefore stupid.

      In reality, it is you who come off as ignorant, because your comment was vitriolic, vulgar, and lacking even a single factual premise.

      As far as your bootstraps blog, I hardly think that anyone is saying aboriginal people shouldn’t get assistance in getting their communities off the ground. But there has to be some quid pro quo. There also has to be an understanding that strong leadership at the reserve level is what is needed in order to build the types of businesses that will succeed and thrive.

      Improved socio-economic conditions on the reserve level are largely within the capabilities of aboriginal people themselves with minimal government input. Interestingly, something as simple as reducing female unemployment might be sufficient to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence, which is one of the truest root causes of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

      See, without an inquiry, we can already say that improved economic opportunities for women at the reserve level in of itself could empower women to leave bad relationships, seek the protection from violent partners they need, and therefore save some women’s lives, all the while improving everyone’s lot in the process.

      This development, in of itself, would be able to greatly improve the situation for aboriginal women. It would be a racist presumption to say that aboriginal people cannot improve their conditions on that level without the help of “whitey”.

      However, considering the ignorant and vitriolic tone of your comment, you seem like just another ivory tower aboriginal more interested in using the collective poverty of aboriginals as a wedge rather than looking for constructive solutions to the problem.


    • guest

      u have ninja commenting skills.

  • Constructive Critic

    This article very effectively says….. exactly nothing. It goes in circles and inserts random thoughts that have already been said before or simply don’t belong in the train of thought the author was previously following. How about a little research before you start writing, and a little editing after.

    That said, I still agree with the opinion in the article; it’s just stated in such a non-sensical manner and leaves out so many huge talking points around the history of racism in Canada that no one in their right mind would take it seriously, and it will have absolutely no effect.

  • Jonah

    The first thing Canadians will have to do is lose the systemic ignorance around what “racism” actually entails as a social process and dynamic.

    “Racism” is not a person of color using racialized slurs against someone else, especially NOT in societies that are rooted in a history of European colonialism where whites have historically been privileged with social, institutional, systemic power through force, through law, through social norms, and through discourse.

    In this context, racism is, in fact, a social phenomenon that only white people can perpetrate, being the dominant ethinc group in power in colonial societies. Racism is not only about having the power to genocide entire groups of people, but it is about having the power to redefine (and deny) the crime of genocide so that the State is no longer technically guilty of its commission—as Canada is actively attempting to do right now. Oh, and Canada was only 1 of 4 nations that straight up refused to sign the UNDRIP until it finally became politically inexpedient to continue with that stance.

    Having lived abroad for many years, and having made my home in the USA, and then coming back to Canada to study, I can definitively say that Canada is much more racist than the USA, not just your garden variety white bigotry, but systemically.

    In fact, I would argue that Canadian racism is of a particularly pernicious, insidious, toxic variety for the various ways in which it presents and is perpetuated: very much in the open but within a heavy cloud of denial (& all the social dysfunction that brings) that attempts to occlude any rational, coherent dialogue about racism in Canada. At least in the USA (God Bless America, by the way), there is an active, healthy, lively rational discourse taking place in the wide public open about race and racism….Canada is about 50 years behind the USA in this and that makes all the difference in the world.

    • anomynous

      Found the sociology student. Or perhaps he’s just a tumblrite.

      You meant to say “systemic racism,” my misguided (and likely Marxist) friend. “Interpersonal racism” is a form of racism which white people most certainly can and do experience. You can dress it up in Orwellian newspeak if you would like to, such as “oh, it’s not racism, it’s just minor prejudice,” but that wouldn’t make much of a difference to the individual (of any ethnicity) who is the victim of racially-motivated hate crimes. I know that your next line is going to be “you just don’t understand because you’re white,” which is supposedly somehow a more moral sentence than “you just don’t understand because you’re Jewish” for reasons yet unclear.

      Your speech about denial etc. is (but correct me if I’m wrong) another way of saying, “I am upset that people in Canada feel like they get along instead of focusing on my narrow, extremist view of ‘race relations’ and social justice! They – the ethnic minorities posting happily in this comments section, for example – should just accept my entitled [white] liberal perspective because I most certainly know better than them!” Given the opportunity, what would you do to deal with ‘racism’ – mass censorship? Speech codes? Or maybe you’d just argue that somehow, minorities are both helpless and ignorant and the fact that there isn’t as much of a “social justice” (lol what a misnomer) discourse in Canada is because they haven’t yet been enlightened by the Tumblr vanguard. Good thing you’re here to do that, though.

    • ghanderman

      from your anonymous post i can see why people think canadians are pompous paternalistic ignoramuses. im sure jonah knows what he meant and said it. but obviously you know better.

    • Sojo Truth

      You must be the sort of person who thinks statements like “don’t commit sociology” are rational.

      Nonetheless, sociology as gone a long way in explaining patterns of aggregate behavior.

      Oh, I forgot, you’re a hick so you probably won’t understand those words any more than Gerald what’s-his-face understands why murdering an unarmed person sitting in a car by shooting them in the back of the head is wrong.

      Facts show that rural areas tend to evolve much more slowly than urban areas. Canada is basically one big redneck town where there’s never been any real challenge to its whiteness or racism.

      Well, that’s all going to change especially with the influx of immigrants of color who have the numbers and the political organization to call you out (thank you Celina Caesar-Chavannes!).

  • s.r

    I agree with the article in the sense that racism needs to be recognized as a problem in Canada, but just like it needs to be recognized as a problem everywhere else. As a person of visible minority (Canadian-born but with Pakistani/Indian heritage) myself, knowing others of visible minority who have lived in other countries, and due to the statistics (seriously), Canada IS relatively more accepting as a multicultural nation than elsewhere. So I think that it’s a good thing to feel proud of ourselves as Canadians that we don’t have such a bad reputation with the rest of the world, because that’s for a reason. Thinking negatively and ignoring the reality that it doesn’t exist here just as much as everywhere else will make us lose hope and make people unaware of how bad people have it with racism in other places. Also, if later on when the population becomes even more globalized in the future and racism starts becoming more of an issue (because there will be more social issues with a higher population obviously), and we think that we never had a good standard set up with the world to begin with, it would make us feel less ashamed and regretful, like we wouldn’t feel that we lost something good that we once had. So there’s no sense or point in denying what’s true.

    How about instead of comparing ourselves to other nations, we set our own standards? How about we examine racism as it differs from province to province? Because based on my own personal experience as a visible minority, I’ve experienced some overt and subtle forms of racism in Saskatchewan that I have never experienced when I lived in Ontario (although, yes, I did experience racism in Ontario, but it was less severe). Why? Because Ontario has been majorly multicultural for generations. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, has just experienced a recent influx in the past decade in immigration as well as an economic boom. Saskatoon isn’t as small town as it used to be. Many people who have been living in Saskatchewan all their lives have to deal with this flood of immigrants and people of colour from other more globalized/advanced provinces like Ontario and British Columbia. So as everyone is getting used to each other here, it makes sense that there would be more racism here in the beginning. I’m pretty sure in the early years of Ontario’s globalization history there was quite a bit of racism as well. And it still exists. I’m not denying that it exists, but I am focusing on the positive aspect that like a trivial, annoying fly, it is going away. And we should really be proud of that as Canadians, so racism itself becomes an insult to our nationality.

    • Mr Magoo

      I doubt that racism will ever really go away in any European-in-origin society. European societies are typically premised on the use of oppressive power to enforce social norms & values & the commodification of life itself that becomes subject to a cost-benefit ratio analysis. You see the tendency to slip back into the original triangular configuration happening all across the world where societies are built on the logics of the elite right to use oppressive power (China is one such example) for social control & social engineering. They use the argument that it is for the “greater good”, but how else would they pass such ridiculous laws and get the public to go along with it?

      Racism, like sexism, will persist so long as societies continue to allow themselves to be co-opted by a power elite and as long as hierarchies are allowed the currency they enjoy. Why? Well, I mean, racism is really about power, just as sexism is about power. And as long as people socialized in such contexts continue to worship unmodified power then they will continue to practice the more extereme forms that oppressive power takes, such as rigid boundary drawing behavior that results in the othering required for racism and sexism and homophobia to exist.

    • s.r

      Yes, I agree that racism will never go away, but my point was that we should focus on making it as least prominent as we can. Just as we can never say that evil values will go away, we can never say that racism will completely go away, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still enforce that it’s bad and should go away.

      I think that ultimately, people will have prejudiced tendencies because of something in their natures, not because of any economic system. If I’m understanding you correctly, we could live in a communist society where (in theory) there is no such triangle, however prejudice would still exist in some form or another. This tendency of prejudice is innate and not the product of some greater system, and this tendency has been manifesting itself within human beings throughout many diverse civilizations which have come and gone.

      I’ve noticed the strength of racism in European and other societies as opposed to Canada, and I do believe it has to do with their national values and history. Take Paris, for example, where there is (I don’t know if the ban is lifted now) the burqa ban, which doesn’t allow Muslim women to wear their long coats. This law helps foster racism, yes, but it is rooted in France’s natural movement from religion to extreme secularism, meaning that to be open to people’s differing cultural/religious values that do no harm to anyone is against their national values. Then take a look at the United States–there is much more Islamophobia there than in Canada because of their history with 911. So yes, while I do agree that a resource struggle that you speak of is involved, it is a contributing factor but not the root cause. The root cause is a country’s history and national values, which have been born from their natural tendencies to discriminate.

      And about European-in-origin societies especially having this socially oppressive premise–I disagree, because the same phenomenon also takes place in most Asian societies such as Japan, South Korea, and India, to name a few. The resource hierarchy that you are speaking of is true and is occurring all across the world, but the natural feeling to discriminate which is in every human being regardless of origin–that is quite a different matter.

  • Jerry

    How was this published? I would think that a University publication would put some value on supporting claims and having research to back up bald assertions but there I go forgetting that this is the Sheaf.

  • ghanderman

    actually, racism is a concept and term that was coined to describe the institutionalized and systematic privileges that are given to an individual (in canada & the us these individuals are white) ONLY because of their “race”. since racism is an expression of a systems-level power dynamic, only those with the right skin color are capable of being racist, whether it is the explicit racism of name calling (which is not even the worst form of racism) or the more implicit forms of racism that are much more pervasive & dangerous than grade school name-calling. in such a system ONLY the direct beneficiaries of such a system are capable of being racist, even if they do not consciously subscribe to the underlying ideology. people of color are never capable of racism in such a system because they are denied the institutional power to actually be racist (which in canada would translate to, say, an aboriginal social worker issuing an apprehension order for white children again and again and again while spending time & resources to work with aboriginal families to stabilize themselves which we know is not the case bc aboriginal people do not have that level of institutional power or support). same application of this underlying power dynamic goes for sexist societies that privilege men, or heterosexist societies that privilege straight people, or classist societies that privilege the wealthy. in the last one, i think we can all agree how ridiculous and illogical it is to call poor people classist when they angrily call a 1-percenter a naughty name. technically and pragmatically speaking the disempowered in any oppression hierarchy are incapable of practicing the -ism by which they are ensnared. so no, POCs arent racist. only white people (and light skinned people who can pass as white) are racist in a society that is built on granting them privileges because they are white (or light skinned). the biggest problem i see with racism in canada is the over-simplified and inaccurate conceptual framework the average thinker, like you, has when it comes to power analyses and racism as an expression of power.

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