Until the 1960s, racism was a fairly blatant aspect of Canadian society. Racism played an obvious role in shaping individual attitudes, state policies and institutional arrangements in the economy, the political system and civil society. But to what extent does racism continue to inform and structure how our institutions operate today, what is the social meaning of race in contemporary Canadian society, and what is the most effective way to combat racism in all its forms?
The chapters in this book seek answers to these important questions. They analyze, in different ways, the conditions that give rise to racism in various forms, the extent to which racism permeates the way certain social institutions operate, how groups of people have organized against racism, and the ways that racism is linked to class, gender and ethnicity. They also try to provide readers with some conceptual tools and empirical evidence as a basis for discussion and debate about the meaning of race, racism, racialization and social inequality in contemporary Canada.
This book may disappoint those looking for simple answers and those who are looking for the final word on whether Canada is indeed a racist society. The contributors do not fully agree on the significance of race and racism in contemporary Canada.
Some see race and racism as a fundamental organizing principle of our society and of certain institutional spheres; others see racism as more situational, subtle and muted in its forms and consequences; others point to the racialization of certain aspects of Canadian society but do not necessarily see this as being equivalent to racism; and still others argue that allegations of racism in certain institutional spheres tend to be overplayed at the expense of class and gender differences.