Racism or the Supplement of Multiculturalism
Racism has been deeply embedded in the structure of our society that it even exists in countries that are supposedly liberal. Canada, a country that avowedly celebrates the plurality of cultures, is no exemption. Despite it supposedly multicultural attitude, Canada remains a country hinged on racism. This assertion begs a question: why does multiculturalism support and breed racism rather than eradicated it? In our attempt to answer this question, our starting point should not be an investigation of whether racism exists in multicultural Canada but the claim that racism precisely exists in Canada because the country remains to be multicultural.
Racism has been part and parcel of Canada. Despite the supposed progress in history, racial discrimination unfortunately still lingers not only in Canada but all over the world. It is as if the lesson of World War II and anti-Semitism has not taught us anything. We see how racism exists in Canada with the way people of color are treated at work, in school, and other key public places. It not an exaggeration to say therefore that, as Stanly Barrett puts it, “racism has been institutionalized.” The claim that racism exists in Canada is not borne out of whim. This claim is actually based on material evidences that are products of social investigation. For instance, as the surveys have it, Blacks in Canada are often refused of employment because of the politics of their skin. Moreover, records have it that Canadian police forces treat non-white citizens in a harsher manner compared to white-skinned citizens. Due to the multifarious facets of racism in Canada, it is accurate to argue that “white supremacy” is very much present in the country.
In order to display its intention of ending racism, the Canadian government adopted a multicultural policy. What strikes us as curious is the fact that the Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship Act completely left out the definition of multiculturalism. As a result, the new department proved inefficient in putting an end to racism because it functions within an unclear theoretical framework. On a more crucial note, multiculturalism cannot put an end to racism because it presupposes the equality of cultures as it remains biased to a particular culture. In the context of Canada, it is the French and English culture. Hence, multiculturalism’s espousal of cultural equality is negated by its very act of putting a particular culture on a pedestal.
For Canadian government to truly end racism, it must first and foremost have the genuine sincerity to do so. However, the very policies it has towards immigrants and other people of color show otherwise. To end racism means to radically reconfigure the political, economic and cultural policies of the government. This necessitates a firm political will on the part of government officials. Also, anti-racism campaigns should also be support by the majority. If the people are themselves proactive in fighting racism, it won’t be long when results will take effect. It is good to know that people are increasingly becoming more and more aware of the need to finally end racism.
However, our fight against racism must not only be a struggle launched by the common people. We must also pressure the government to have a “clearly articulated policy of anti-racism, directed at rooting out the effects of racist and white supremacist thinking.” In order to end racism, the government must drop its use of colorful terms like multiculturalism that in the end reproduces the problem it originally sought to solve. Multiculturalism therefore, in the Canadian government’s use of the term, engenders racism precisely because of the lack in policy support. In final analysis, it is only through a thorough our participation and refashioning of government policies that we can really make racism a thing of the past.