Conflicting role of state Promotes racism Controls racism - eradicate racism, promote equity
Response to racism in a liberal democratic society One Role of the state is to proscribe behaviour State uses a Liberal democratic framework Liberal democracies feature constitutional protections of individual rights from government power, which were first proposed during the Age of Enlightenment by social contract theorists such as Hobbes and Locke. The Liberal democracies today usually have universal suffrage, granting all adult citizens the right to vote regardless of race, gender or property ownership.
Liberal democracy Emphasis is on Individual freedom. Fundamental principle is equality of individuals. Equality of access, equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes for all are implicit.
State responses Multiculturalism legislation policy The Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms Employment equity and human rights codes and commissions The employment equity act Anti-terrorism act
Multiculturalism An official policy (1971) P. Trudeau recognized that Canada was a plural society. Recommends Canada’s diversity be maintained
Critique of Multiculturalism Contructs a dominant culture in which all “other” cultures are “multi-cultural”. Symbolic rather than transformative (passive language) Pluralist discourse (emphasis on liberal democratic values) Who defines who is a “real citizen”?
laws Laws exist within an ideology of whiteness International declaration of human rights _ eliminate all forms of racism (1971) but no “teeth” – no way of regulating, enforcing. Creates impression Canada is equal
Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms 1982 – racial discrimination said to be unconstitutional 1985 – equity rights clause: “every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discriminatrion and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical abitity.”
Charter - critiqued: No mechanisms to promote racial equality (passive instrument) How do you prevent racism from private persons working within systems and organizations? Underlying Assumption: “equality exists and only the lapses from it need to be addressed”.
Anti- terrorist act Dec. 2001 (3mos after Sept. 11) Objectives: Stop terrorists from getting in Develop new tools to identify, prosecute, convict and punish Deal with Canada/US Border issues – but allow economic trade Work with international community
Anti-terrorist critique Highly controversial due to incompatibility with charter of rights and freedoms Concerns: similar to War Measures act Definition of terrorism is broad Racial profiling Increase in surveillance based on a discourse of risk (justification- better safe than sorry) Potential to use against peaceful demonstrations Search without a warrant Increase power of police and government to suppress information preventative detention – detained if believe to be suspicious (e.g, Imams Kutty and Abdool Hameed – held for 16hrs because they were muslim) jailed if police believe you are going to commit a crime (Maher Arar case) Longer sentencing Undermines principle of due process Use apologies to “right the wrongs”
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