Social Construction of “Race” and “Racism” and Its Relationship to Democratic Racism in Canada Essay
Racism is one of the most sophisticated concepts in terms of its changing nature. In Canada, this concept is interpreted with regard to the individual expression of attitudes or action against racial groups. It is also understood as violent actions and physical assaults against specific groups by bigoted individuals in the workplace, and other social environments.
In public and political discourse, racism displays itself not only through separate individuals, but also in certain groups, communities, institutions, and organizations. The set of values formed in society also influences racial attitudes and perceptions. Therefore, the concept of race and racism is not a natural phenomenon but a deep, complex process during which people various communities shape their attitudes and manifestations that impose certain duties, stereotypes, obligations on people.
Hence, racism has a complex dynamic nature and its meaning constantly changes with regard to social, political, and economic contexts. In Canada, the overt denial of absence of any displays of racism has turned into a phenomenon of democratic racism, according to which whiteness is perceived as a historically acquired privilege whereas people possessing another color of skin has to fight for equality and human rights.
The majority of the Canadians assert that they are rigidly opposed to racism. Nevertheless, the facts and statistics demonstrate the evidence disaccord with the previously presented statement. A number of movies and documentary accounts uncover the shocking stories about unlawful and illegal act of racial discrimination on the part of the policy officers.
This is of particular concern to the documentary Two Worlds Colliding, which focuses on the story of a Native man, Darrell Night, who became the victim of cruel treatment. Mr. Night was arrested by the policy and dumped down in the field area of Saskatoon city, when the temperature of the air was 20 º C below zero.
According to the testimonies, the police’s actions were justified because the arrested was drunk and broke in the house. However, the case does not explain the reason for individual’s outcast, instead of taking the arrested person to the policy department.
Despite the ambiguity of the allegations, the police officers taking part in arrest were sentenced only to eight months of staying at correctional facilities. Hence, the documentary also focuses on other cases of cruel treatment leading to death of the Native residents in Canada. These cases remained unsolved until the present times.
Historical evidence shows that white population has always exercised its dominance over other races, asserting its power and control. Therefore, minority groups had to undertake inferior positions to survive. This historical experience has a potent impact on the current situation in Canada.
The First Nations people are under the great pressure of existing laws, regulations, and prohibitions that do not allow them to protect their human rights and regain the power over their authentic lands. Creating reservations is one of the proofs supporting the ideas of democratic racism that take place in Canada.
In the documentary called Race is Four Letter Word, Sobaz Benjamin proves that democratic racism exists along with negative attitude of the dominating people toward the minority groups. This is ideology withdraws the ideas of multiculturalism in Canada due to the lack of social and political support to alter structures and organizations of social institutions, including justice system, education, and police.
Racist ideology shapes a sort of “common sense”, which leads to the development of racist view supporting the idea that racism is natural for people; it shapes part of human perception, as well as develops specific theoretical knowledge controlling the thinking practices. By constructing the concept of racism, people create new dimensions of understanding complex societies.
Racially prejudiced community does not need in-depth knowledge on the minority groups to suppress them and develop new forms of racial discrimination. Specifically, some of Canadians believe that immigrants should be blamed in taking their job positions because they are hired at much lower salaries. However, indigenous population still suffers from low employment rates because of limited access to education and judicial systems.
Their rights are neglected by the government and, therefore, much concern is given to the living standards of the Native population. In the movie The Mushuau Innu: Surviving Canada, the author focuses on Innu, an Indian people who encountered challenged due to the poor living conditions. In presentation by Seline, the author focuses on human waste and absence of running water in regions disintegrating the minority group and leading it to self-destruction (Seline 2).
As a result, the major part of the Innu community suffered from alcoholism and substance abuse. Ratio of people possessing chronic disease is deplorable, as well as the reputation of the region in which the minority group lives. Although people do not express overt racism, the race distinction still exists.
In Justice System/Policing, the focus is made on the analysis of racist assertions and beliefs that explain the challenges that Canadian people experience by undertaking cultural and social changes (3). Additionally, the presentation discusses that racism cannot be considered as a range of false pleas concerning the mistaken perceptions. They specifically premise on the material conditions in which minorities exist.
Moreover, ideology of racism can go beyond individual attitudes and beliefs because it carries with an initial predisposition of negative, discriminatory, and derogatory ways to members of the minority group. Therefore, the concept of racism is much more powerful than neutral beliefs and attitudes.
In particular, it refers to a set of values and ideas that justify specific social and economic conditions. In order to change stereotypes and object to the existing belief systems, Camille Turner has presented the projected called Miss Canadiana, an overt representation that contradicts the Canadian mythology concerning the country’s heritage.
Representing a girl of African origin is often perceived as foreign in Canada due to the firmly established stereotypes about Canadian culture and national landscape. This project serves as a proof of the presence of democratic racism in Canada that the government has long been denying. It also introduces delusionary perception about egalitarian state that provides equal access to social institutions regardless of gender and race.
In conclusion, although the Canadian government does not accept the evidence of racial discrimination in the country, the cases of unequal and inferior attitude to minorities are numerous. Documentaries, films, and project disclose the overt displays of negative beliefs and prejudiced stereotypes concerning minorities groups residing in Canada.
The Aboriginal population faces rigid opposition on the part of social institutions, including education, police, courts, and law that object to the evidence of racism. Therefore, the common sense of considering races and racism in Canada is congruent with the so-called democratic racism that officially denies discrimination and inequality, but in face, hidden hatred and negligence of human rights is apparent.
Justice System/Policing. Presentation. n. d. pp. 1-6.
Miss Canadiana. Ex. Prod. Camille Turner. Canada: Toronto Film Festival. 2012.
Race is Four Letter Word Ex. Prod. Sobaz Benjamin. Canada: National Film Board of Canada. 2006. DVD.
Seline. Presentation. Section Three. n. d.
The Mushuau Innu: Surviving Canada. Ex. Prod. Ed Martin. Canada: Best Boy Productions. 2004. DVD.
Two Words Colliding. Ex. Prod. Tasha Habbard, Canada: National Film Board of Canada. 2005. DVD.
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