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The Great White North Project: Exploring Whiteness, Privilege, Racism and Identity in Canada. Darren E. Lund and Paul R. Carr. Anti-racism, two White guys and an elephant in the room. Overview. Paul: What is Whiteness, and why does it matter?

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the great white north project exploring whiteness privilege racism and identity in canada

The Great White North Project:Exploring Whiteness, Privilege, Racism and Identity in Canada

Darren E. Lund and Paul R. Carr

overview
Overview
  • Paul: What is Whiteness, and why does it matter?
  • Darren: What is the Great White North Project, and what did it achieve?
why whiteness
Why Whiteness?
  • If we wanted to end sexism, we would have to involve … MEN; therefore, if we wanted to end racism, we would have to involve...
  • Official colour-blindness vs. lived experience of racism
  • Canada is… a peaceful, multicultural, tolerant nationthe US is not…
  • Race is:
    • a social construction
    • about power
    • connected to social (in)justice AND the intersectionality of identity
what does whiteness look like
What does Whiteness look like?
  • Power: gaps in income, employment, status and representation based on race
  • Equity advancements have often avoided racial issues (i.e., women’s movement)
  • Networks, associations, clubs, private schools producing more inequity?
  • Unwritten, unspoken, coded language, jokes…
  • Confusion between overt and systemic racism
  • Data collection on race is discouraged
  • Quick: think of a Canadian Prime Minister, a Canadian ambassador, a Canadian supreme court judge, a Canadian Bank President, a Canadian University President...
whiteness is goodness
Whiteness is goodness
  • “White as Snow”, “Pure White”, “Snow White”…
  • Metaphors, analogies, images, cultural landmarks and concrete manifestations in language, law and cultural practices
  • White ---------------------------------------------------------------------Black
  • Good  Evil
  • Lightness  Darkness
  • Benevolence  Malevolence
  • Cleanliness, kindness, and serenity  Undesirable
  • the conqueror  the “dark continent”
  • “Whites, no matter how poor, are part of a club, even if it is the second tier”
historical whiteness
Historical Whiteness
  • Canada is a White, European, Christian nation? (ask the First Nations)
  • Were there different racial groups in Canada from the beginning? (ask Mathieu DaCosta)
  • Was there slavery in Canada?
  • Immigration, head-tax for Chinese-Canadians, internment of Japanese-Canadians, racial segregation (housing, education, military...), etc.
  • Hate groups
the numbers
The numbers
  • Canada is increasingly diverse re: ethno-cultural and racial identity
  • Most teachers are White
    • How teachers understand their Whiteness will have an effect on their White and non-White students
    • Avoiding acknowledging race, racialization and racism is problematic
    • The objective is to work for social justice
  • Black and Aboriginal under-achievement, racial profiling, Black-focused schools, a euro-centric curriculum, AND the qualitative educational experience of all members of society merit attention
  • Can governments simply respond that they are against racial segregation?
  • How do we understand social justice, democracy and citizenship, if we do not engage in an interrogation of Whiteness?
doing whiteness
Doing Whiteness
  • There is discomfort, denial and resistance when engaging in Whiteness
  • The approach is key
  • Diverse examples, anecdotes, experiences, personalities, activities and contexts
  • White people need to be involved
  • The objective is not guilt and shame

 critical dialogue, political literacy, engagement and action

slide11

THE GREAT WHITE NORTH?

EXPLORING WHITENESS, PRIVILEGE, AND IDENTITY IN EDUCATION

Editors: Paul R. Carr and Darren E. Lund

Foreword by George J. Sefa Dei

Introduction: Scanning Whiteness (Paul R. Carr and Darren E. Lund)

Section 1: Conceptualizing Whiteness

1. Exposing the Authority of Whiteness: An Auto-Ethnographic Journey (Kathleen S. Berry)

2. Before I was White I was Presbyterian (Tim McCaskell)

3. Being White and Being Right: Critiquing Individual and Collective Privilege (James Frideres)

Section 2: Whiteness and Indigenous Peoples

4. On Indigenous Academia: The Hermeneutics of Indigenous Western Institutional Participation – Eleven Theorems (Tracey Lindberg)

5. Going Native: A White Guy’s Experience Teaching in an Aboriginal Context (Herbert C. Northcott)

6. “Don’t Blame Me for What My Ancestors Did”: Understanding the Impact of Collective White Guilt (Julie Caouette and Donald M. Taylor)

slide12

Section 3: Deconstructing and Developing White Identity

7. Development of Anti-Racist White Identity in Canadian Educational Counsellors

(Christine Wihak)

8. “Radical Stuff”: Starting a Conversation about Racial Identity and White Privilege

(Susan A. Tilley and Kelly D. Powick)

9. Who Can/Should do this Work? The Colour of Critique (Carl E. James)

Section 4: Learning, Teaching, and Whiteness

10.The Parents of Baywoods: Intersections between Whiteness and Jewish Ethnicity (Cynthia Levine-Rasky

11. Re-inscribing Whiteness Through Progressive Constructions of “the Problem” in Anti-Racist Education

(Lisa Comeau)

12. Discourses on Race and “White Privilege” in the Next Generation of Teachers (R. Patrick Solomon and Beverly-Jean M. Daniel)

13. White Canadian Female Teachers and Technology in Education: Stories Reproducing the Status Quo

(Brad Porfilio)

Section 5: The Institutional Weight of Whiteness

14. Whiteness and Philosophy: Imagining Non-White Philosophy in Schools (Laura Mae Lindo)

15. (De)Centering Normal: Negotiating Whiteness as a White School Administrator in a Diverse School Community (Debbie Donsky and Matt Champion)

16. A Group That Plays Together Stays Together: Tracing a Story of Racial Violence (Gulzar R. Charania)

17. The Whiteness of Educational Policymaking (Paul R. Carr)

support from scholars of colour
Support from scholars “of colour”
  • Geroge Sefa Dei (from the foreword)
    • “Because White bodies are invested in systems of privilege, the importance of dominant groups questioning their self-appointed and racialized neutrality is always critical and transformative. For far too long we have witnessed how White society has conscripted and choreographed the idea of a fractured Black community that avoids taking responsibility.”
the globe and mail article
The Globe and Mail article
  • May 2007 at Social Science and Humanities Congress in Saskatoon, two weeks before book was released
  • Globe article of 450 words highlighted the work of two White professors interested in exploring Whiteness
  • Over 160 comments on Globe message board
  • Editorials in several newspapers
  • Some hate-mail
  • Invitations to talk on several radio programs
radio interviews
Radio interviews
  • In English, French and Spanish
  • Call-in shows underscore intense reaction about subject
  • It is easy to say that it does not exist because... “I don’t do it,...” “If you work hard...,” “Canada is not like the US,...” and “this is a problem only for Toronto...”
  • Edmonton host who thought it was literally a joke
  • “Two White professors who argue that we need to look at our Whiteness...” evokes intrigue, ridicule and incredulity
presentations
Presentations
  • People of colour have supported the initiative but have questioned how White people will buy into it
  • White people have been split, with some rejecting it and others wanting to know how it works
  • Main question: how do you do it?
  • It is clear that raising the issue is fundamental, and creating a space to understand and critique it is equally important
  • Having Whites lead a project on Whiteness is considered by many to be important
what have we learned from the reaction to the book and project
What have we learned from the reaction to the book and project?
  • The roots of race, racialization and racism run deep
  • The ideology of color-blindness and the myth of multiculturalism obfuscate the quest for social justice
  • Many people want to become engaged but do not know how
  • Treating education as a neutral apolitical enterprise is problematic
  • Whiteness must be approached critically
why do we do it
Why do we do it?
  • To be indifferent to injustice is to condone it
  • To enjoy privilege without questioning it is to reinforce it
  • Do we really want to be colour-blind?
  • Transformation can take place through education
  • Whites must become part of the equation
  • This is not about simply making things better for racial minorities; Whites also benefit from more collective engagement and social justice