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Racism in Canada
In March of 2012, a white power rally in Edmonton drew out a dozen or two members of the Blood and Honour racist group. They were met and peaceably challenged by hundreds of participants in an anti-racism rally, which was "coincidental" (Dykstra). Therefore Canada still does have lurking racism, but in its overt forms it is socially unacceptable. This paper will address the overt forms of racism evident in Canada, which include hate groups like Blood and Honour. However, it is the covert forms of racism and bias that threaten to undermine the social fabric of Canada.
Immigration policies have been under fire for their racist under- or overtones. As Rees states, "Canadian immigration policy has historically always been determined by racial preferences." Institutionalized racism is a problem in Canada, in spite of the many official policies and programs designed to manufacture an equitable society. For example, Canada's Human Rights Commission and Employment Equity Act are both admirable but "Canada fails to fully implement" their guidelines (Song). Racial profiling is also a problem in the Canadian law enforcement and immigration sector. One study shows that Canadian residents who are African or black receive "harsher treatment" than white residents, and are also "overrepresented in police statistics of charges and arrests," (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants).
Racism and stereotyping is a covert problem that is fomented by the media. Advertising is notorious for milking stereotypes and promoting all types of social biases through imagery and targeted product marketing. The truth is, racism seems to sell products. "Foreign markets and domestic advertisers, the story goes, pay more for entertainment products which feature white people in lead roles," ("The Economics of Ethnic and Racial Stereotyping"). The entertainment sector also perpetuates stereotypes, which can precede racism.
One of the most pervasive forms of covert racism in Canada is a phenomenon known as white privilege. White privilege is a multifaceted issue that will be discussed at length in this research paper. In short, white privilege is what enables "whiteness" to be normative and therefore deserving of a higher social, political and economic status. White privilege usually goes unnoticed by whites, which is in fact part of the very problem (Crawford).
Many Canadians are even willing to admit their racist, or at least biased, tendencies. In one study, "59% of Quebecers admitted they're somewhat racist," (Song). Quebec might even be among Canada's worst provinces for institutionalized racism, with only 3% of minority representation in the civil service sector -- unchanged since the 1980s (Song). More than half (52%) of participants in a poll said that racism was a problem in their city, and yet 57% of Canadians said that a fight against racism is not necessary (Song). This shows a lack of awareness of the extent and severity of the problem. Although Canada prides itself on being a multicultural and tolerant nation, there still remain signs of racism in terms of institutionalized racism, media stereotypes, white privilege, and even hate groups.
Institutionalized Racism: Immigration Policy, Policing, and Institutionalized racism refers to structural barriers to equality. These barriers are usually highly complex. According to Hutchings, "The living standard of Aboriginal peoples in Canada falls far short of those of non-Aboriginals, and they, along with other racial minorities, continue to encounter barriers in gaining equality." The association between income and race is one of the manifestations of institutionalized racism. According to Block, "Racialized Ontarians are far more likely to live in poverty, to face barriers to Ontario's workplaces, and even when they get a job, they are more likely to earn less than the rest of Ontarians," (p. 1). Institutionalized racism creates a double-edged sword, as it becomes hard to break free of the cycle of poverty. The means by which to achieve upward social mobility require some investment of time and money, which poor people do not have. Moreover, people of color end up having a harder time finding good jobs and are often paid less than whites in the same position (Block). As Morgan shows, institutionalized racism begins in the classroom as many teachers stereotype their racialized students. Even if unconsciously, teachers might show favoritism or differential behavior that is based on race rather than on the student's actual abilities. In education, racism and stereotypes may even be embedded in the curriculum. Teachers should "represent Africans in a…[continue]
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