SOC 256 Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism

Two Native American protesters at an Idle No More round dance.

Photo credit: Uyvsdi (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

This course explores the politics, puzzles and paradoxes of race and ethnic relations in Canada, a country that is multicultural and post-racial in principle if not always in practice. A macro-sociological perspective prevails that incorporates the following themes:

First, an emphasis on the ‘economic’ dimensions of race and ethnic relations. Competition over scarce resources transforms Canada into a contested site involving the competitive struggles of racialized minorities, immigrants to Canada, and multicultural minorities for control over power, privilege, and property. The dynamics of race and racism are shown to play a key role in this competition – providing advantage for some by disadvantaging others.

Second, a focus on the social dimensions of race and ethnic relations.  Race and ethnic are socially constructed relationships of inequality: That makes it doubly important to deconstruct how these fundamentally unequal relations are created, expressed, and maintained, in addition to how they are challenged and transformed by way of government policy, institutional reform, and minority protest. This course focuses on the centrality race and racism in creating and maintaining these patterns of inequality and exclusion.

Third, a political  dimension revolves around the challenges of cooperative coexistence.  Attention is directed at what  must be done to (a) make Canada safe for difference, yet safe from difference (b) justify where to draw the line in defining what is acceptable, and (c) enhance a living together with differences, equally and respectfully. The status and role of an official multiculturalism as tool of anti racism or vehicle for more racism are discussed.