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An inquiry into the contextual specificity of Canadian literature on anti-racist education Sivak, Alisa Marie 1998

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A N INQUIRY INTO THE C O N T E X T U A L SPECIFICITY OF CANADIAN LITERATURE ON ANTI-RACIST EDUCATION by ALISA MARIE SIVAK B.A., McGill University, 1993 Dip.Ed., McGill University, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Educational Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to thejequired standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1998 © A l i s a Marie Sivak, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of rS^ U C a r r i o n ) S&Ucp-CS The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT This study focuses on Canadian literature on anti-racist education and, in particular, the body of literature which acknowledges a sense of conflict between the theories, goals, and strategies of anti-racism and multiculturalism. The purpose of the study is to investigate the ways in which this body of literature addresses the Canadian context, particularly in reference to the prevalence of multiculturalism in Canada's official policies and popular ideology. The study reveals the existence of two different conceptions of the conflict between anti-racist and multicultural education: irreconcilable conflict and inevitable compromise. Each of these conceptions fails to provide practical guidance in terms of what those visions look like or how they can be resolved. Closer analysis reveals that this literature as a whole seems to rely on a standard critique of multiculturalism, failing to substantiate it with illustrations from the Canadian context. In fact, the literature fails to engage with Canadian multiculturalism with the kind of complexity it warrants, addressing it, instead, as if it is a monolithic and static entity that can be dismissed superficially. Addressing that complexity in the future can only strengthen Canadian anti-racist research. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S iii CHAPTER ONE: C O N T E X T 1 Mapping the Canadian Literature on Anti-Racist Education 2 Background to the Research: Detecting the Problem 5 Research Question 12 CHAPTER TWO: M E T H O D O L O G Y 13 Locating the Data 13 Analysis of the Literature 16 Problems Encountered A 18 CHAPTER THREE: ANTI-RACISM Vs. MULTICULTURALISM: IRRECONCILABLE CONFLICT OR INEVITABLE COMPROMISE? 20 Irreconcilable Conflict 20 Inevitable Compromise 25 Literature That Does Not Mention Multiculturalism 28 Discussion 29 CHAPTER FOUR: E X C A V A T I N G FOR CANADIAN CONTENT IN T H E CRITIQUE OF MTJLTICULTURALISM 31 The Critique of Multiculturalism as Central 31 A Critical Look at the Critique of Multiculturalism 33 Discussion 49 CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION 54 Summary 54 Recommendations 57 Conclusion ...60 REFERENCE LIST OF MATERIALS A N A L Y Z E D 62 BIBLIOGRAPHY 64 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my committee, Tom Sork, Charles Ungerleider, and Reva Joshee, for giving me consistently strong support and guidance. Thanks also to Shauna Butterwick for her thoughtful input. I would also like to acknowledge the camaraderie of Indy Batth and Seonagh Copperthorne, who understand all too well the trials and tribulations of writing a thesis. Thanks to Denise Phillipe for thoughtful editing, for late-night encouragement over the telephone, and for a friendship which helped steer me through some rough times. Thanks to my parents, Barb and Jake Sivak, and my brothers, Jeremy and Ben, for their consistent support. Thanks to Ivan for listening, for sharing his thoughts and wisdom, for pushing me when I needed to be pushed and for reminding me to relax when I needed to relax. And, most importantly, for going on late-night chocolate runs. CHAPTER ONE CONTEXT The transnational movement of ideas can be an illuminating and enriching phenomenon in terms of the development of social research. Anti-racism, in particular, seems to appeal to a wide variety of theorists and practitioners in many different parts of the world. Canadian researchers tend to refer to anti-racism as if it has a generic meaning which can be applied to any number of different contexts. It is important to keep in mind, though, that the meaning of anti-racism itself may not be as universally understood or generic as.it appears to be. Allmen (1992, 52) has noted that words have "contextual and historic weight", by which she means, there is no guarantee that the nuances of a word in one context and to one group of people will be the same in another context with another group of people .... When one changes country, region or language, one runs into problems with terminology since local use of terms is affected by regional traditions, the conventions of language and the political and legal structures in place. Anti-racism has offered me, as a student of Education, as an educator, and as a community activist a new lens through which to scrutinize issues related to ethnocultural or "racial"1 diversity and social justice. Without an adequate understanding of how the meaning of anti-racism may or should be adapted to the Canadian context, though, how can someone like me fully understand its relevance to my own concerns, or communicate with others about its benefits and drawbacks? The contextual and historic weight of words must be taken into account if those researching and/or working directly with social concerns expect to have productive dialogues in terms of finding solutions. 1 Due to a "general internationalisation which has taken place among the world's academic and policy communities" (Halpin and Troyna 1995, 307), anti-racism has been embraced by theorists and practitioners in various countries (Canada, Britain and Australia, in particular), and appears to have acquired or maintained a degree of common meaning. Canadian researchers, for example, use the term "anti-racism" as if it has a generic definition, sometimes even citing anti-racist theorists from other countries with little contextual explanation. Though this Canadian literature may, in fact, provide detailed discussions of the Canadian context to which anti-racism can be applied, there is little or no discussion of the ways in which anti-racism itself might have been adapted or should be adapted to that context. Mapping the Canadian Literature on Anti-Racist Education I have found two major conceptions of anti-racist education within the Canadian literature. "Complementary Facets of a Unity" One conception within the Canadian literature represents anti-racist education as if it shares the goals of multicultural education. Moodley has observed that anti-racism in Canada is often "coupled with" multiculturalism (1995, 811) and Fleras and Elliot (1992, 313) define anti-racism as being "situated squarely within the category o f multiculturalism (1992, 313). Within the realm of Education, anti-racism and multiculturalism are often conceptualized as "complementary facets of a unity" (see 1 I use the word "race" in quotation marks to acknowledge both its lack of scientific basis and the 2 Solomon and Levine-Rasky 1996b, 344) sharing the same theoretical framework (see Lyons and Farrell 1994; Zarate 1.994; Wright and Allingham 1994; Beynon and Warsh 1993). These kinds of studies might, for example, reflect on multicultural lesson planning along with "anti-racist" techniques for addressing racist incidents in the schoolyard. This literature tends to follow a simple definition of anti-racism as any approach that is "against racism", a definition which is distinct from visions of anti-racism as critical pedagogy, which I found in the rest of the Canadian literature. Critical Anti-Racism I refer to the second conception as "critical anti-racism" because it tends to be characterized as a form of critical pedagogy. Of more interest to me, though, is the fact that most of the literature within this category acknowledges a theoretical conflict between the origins, beliefs, goals, and strategiesof multiculturalism and anti-racism (Hesch 1995, 1996; James 1995; Lee 1994; Regnier 1995; Rezai-Rashti 1995; Roman and Stanley 1997; Solomon and Levine-Rasky 1996a,b; Srivastava 1997; Srivastava 1996; Tatof and Henry 1991; Thomas 1984, 1987; Walcott 1990). This literature relies on a critique of multiculturalism and multicultural education as a springboard from which to detail the concerns of anti-racist education. The exceptions to that observation are Dei (1994, 1995, 1996), McCaskell (1995), Ng (1995) and Solomon (1995), who write about anti-racist education as a form of critical pedagogy, but who do not mention multiculturalism at all. persistence of its socially constructed meaning (see Jackson 1995). 3 This is the conception of anti-racism that I was interested in examining more closely. Reading this literature, I identified what seemed to be standard beliefs, concerns, and strategies which echo those in much of the British (Troyna 1987, 1993) literature as well as some literature from Australia (Rizvi 1992), New Zealand (May 1994) and the United States (McCarthy 1992). These standard qualities of anti-racism can be found throughout this body of literature, except the critique of multiculturalism which, as I have noted, is missing from some writing. Critical anti-racist theory critiques multiculturalism, first, for operating within a "culturalist theoretical framework" (Hesch 1995, 107), "[assuming] culture to be the primary category of social analysis" (Rizvi 1993, 6) and second, for addressing racism mainly at the level of individual attitudes and behaviour. Strategies of multicultural education, according to this critique, largely include trying to dispel ignorance about unfamiliar cultures through cross-cultural education and celebration. Multicultural education is also described as having and encouraging only superficial understandings of diversity and racism, representing cultures as static. Anti-racist education, in contrast, addresses difference as a political category rather than a technical or objective one (Solomon and Levine-Rasky 1996b), encouraging critical inquiry into the history of racism, the ways in which racism manifests itself in everyday life, the interrelationship between racism, sexism, classism and heterosexism, and the kinds of structural inequalities that exist on the basis of 'race' throughout Canadian society. While strategies of multicultural education are portrayed as encouraging cultural pride and cross-cultural understanding, focusing on dispelling ignorance in order to change individual attitudes and behaviour, anti-racist education is characterized in terms 4 of seeing the school as a site of political struggle. Educators and students are meant to reflect on the relationship between individual and structural racism, deconstruct the racist social patterns people take for granted every day, and look into the history of racism in Canada. Multiculturalism is also portrayed as a top-down ideology promoted through state policy. Hegemony is a theme throughout this literature, and multiculturalism and multicultural education are alternately portrayed as either being oblivious to that hegemony or being a manifestation of it. Anti-racist education, on the other hand, is heralded as political education, a form of critical pedagogy, which has grown from the grass-roots level. Anti-racism, then, delves more deeply into issues of diversity and racism and encourages learners and educators to think critically about their surroundings and common-sense assumptions. Background to the Research: Detecting the Problem I suppose I have always been an advocate of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism was an ideology to which I adhered in my brief experiences teaching in primary schools, in my daily experiences as a community activist, and in the way I generally perceived the world. The niche for my particular interests, I believed, existed in the space carved out by official policies of multiculturalism and in the programs and writings that reflected those policies. That is not to say that I had no interest in issues of structural and institutional racism; rather, I assumed that those concerns were implicit in theories of multiculturalism. I believed that work falling under the umbrella of "multiculturalism" would naturally also be "anti-racist". In short, I thought of multiculturalism as an 5 umbrella under which all concerns for issues of diversity, social justice, and racism could be addressed. Imagine my confusion when I discovered anti-racist educational theory which conceptualizes the origins and goals of anti-racism as being different from—even in conflict with—multiculturalism. What follows, in this introduction, is meant to be an anecdotal recounting of the ways in which I tried to make sense of a set of theories that was initially foreign to my way of thinking. I refer to Britain and British anti-racist literature extensively in the following paragraphs, not to set the groundwork for an extensive comparison between Britain and Canada, but simply to illustrate the conceptual explorations which led me to this research and to demonstrate what I believe to be sufficient grounds for the need to do research specifically into the nature of Canadian anti-racist theory. My educational journey through the maze of anti-racist educational theories began with the British literature. It was there that I found anti-racist scholars such as Troyna (1993, 1987), Rattansi (1992), Mullard (1984) and Brandt (1986), whose writings outlined and debated the compatibility of anti-racism and multiculturalism as sets of educational theories. Mullard (1984), for example, characterizes multicultural education as microscopic, in that its focus is on ethnic cultures and strategies for eradicating ignorance of those that are unfamiliar. Anti-racism, then, is perioscopic, because it is more concerned with institutional discrimination and inequality. According to Troyna (1987), the basic difference between anti-racist and multicultural education lies in the way each approach conceives of racism. Multiculturalist approaches view racism as the behaviour of prejudiced or ignorant individuals, while anti-racism focuses on structural inequality. This fundamental difference, Troyna (1987, 311) notes, has prompted "the 6 development of different frameworks within which specific priorities for action are embedded". Thus, anti-racism and multiculturalism are often portrayed in the British literature as competing ideologies, "irreconcilable conceptions of educational change" (Troyna 1987, 307). The "debate", according to Rattansi (1992, 24), "has been presented as an opposition between a broadly liberal programme—multiculturalism—and an antiracism which claimed for itself the mantle of left radicalism". There are, in fact, a significant number of British scholars who critique this perceived conflict as a "fake dichotomy" (Bonnett 1996, 277; see also Rattansi 1992), and this discussion seems to have taken the form of an extensive academic debate. While uncovering elements of the British debate about anti-racism, I began to explore the Canadian literature on anti-racist education. For a variety of reasons, it was at this point that I realized what a confusing maze I had stumbled into. Looking back, I can see that my confusion centred on the common use of the term "anti-racism". Because both bodies of literature use the same term, I found myself trying to understand anti-racism as if it were generic; as if, in fact, the Canadian anti-racist literature were simply an extension of the British, and vice versa. By discussing anti-racism in this way, the Canadian literature suggests that the meaning of anti-racism remains constant regardless of contextual differences, an illustration of the successful "internationalization of social knowledge" (Smelser 1991, 65). 7 The Language qf Diversity I first began to question that generic quality of anti-racism when I realized that I was having difficulty comprehending the British anti-racist literature, let alone reconciling the ideas I found there with my surroundings in Canada. The first step I took was to investigate the reasons for that gap in understanding, trying to gain a better awareness of the context-specific language that is used in British anti-racist literature. The term "Black", for example, appears often in British anti-racist literature, in reference to people of both African-Caribbean and South Asian descent. Though some researchers argue that these communities represent a multitude of cultures and therefore should not be referred to as one monolithic group (Brah 1992) the term has been "mobilised" by members of the communities themselves, "as a part of a set of constitutive ideas and principles to promote collective action" (Brah 1992, 129; see also Brandt 1986), a political response to common experiences with racism. There is a significant difference between the meaning ascribed to the word "Black" in Britain and its meaning in Canada, which has been influenced by the American context. The term "Black", in Canada, relates only to Canadians of African descent (see Dei 1995, for example), though arguments about cultural and experiential diversity in this community also apply (hooks 1990). Further, the language of diversity which seems to dominate in Canada has been influenced by the "mosaic" metaphor. The majority of Canadian studies seem to focus on ethnicity (see Fleras and Elliot 1992; Breton et al. 1990, for example). Tator and Henry (1991, 143), in fact, note that "systems [such as educational institutions]... in contemporary Canadian society" reflect an "emphasis on the ethnicity and cultural orientations of new immigrants to Canada 8 while ignoring the ... dimension of race". Canadians as a whole are more likely to identify themselves in terms of ethnic origin(s) than by skin colour (Reitz and Breton 1994), though the term 'visible minority' has been adopted by policy-makers as well as some researchers. Though that distinction seems minor upon reflection, it represented an important hurdle for me in terms of understanding the British ideas and trying to reconcile them with issues in the Canadian context. National "Illusions ": Monoculture vs. Multiculture As I became more aware of the kinds of subtle, contextually-based language differences that were affecting my ability to synthesize British anti-racist literature with my own experiences and observations in Canada, I began to wonder about the social and political context out of which that language has grown. I found analyses depicting the British perception of nationhood as being exclusively anglocentric, if not racist (Bonnett and Carrington 1996; Jackson 1993; Smith 1993; Troyna and Hatcher 1993). In terms of the history of immigration policy, for example, Smith (1993, 52) writes that Britain has only ever seen itself as a country of emigrants, has never welcomed immigrants and rarely accommodates them in significant numbers. British immigration policies thus express and shape a vision of nationhood based on ideas about an inherent, immutable national character, which is ascribed through birthplace and lineage and whose strengths and future depend on preserving the integrity of geographically bounded traditions. Further, Britain does not have constitutional and statutory support for issues of ethno-cultural and 'racial' diversity (Selby 1993), though a decentralized education system has made room for multicultural and/or anti-racist educational initiatives to be developed by 9 Local Education Authorities (Troyna and Hatcher 1993; Bonnett and Carrington 1990). Troyna and Hatcher also argue that, although Britain's 1988 National Curriculum was not created as an official policy, it can be seen as the British government's attempt to promote an exclusive sense of national culture. In their analysis of that document they found "an illusory, contrived vision of [an anglocentric] national identity and cultural superiority" (1993, 290). Jackson (1993, 11; quoting Gilroy 1987) summarizes these kinds of observations, noting that the British nation ... continues to invest in the illusion of'racial' homogeneity, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, at least at the level of symbolism and iconography where there still 'ain't no black in the Union Jack' (emphasis mine). McLeod (1992, 218) has even gone so far as to theorize that anti-racism developed in Britain precisely because of this social climate. He states that, In Britain, human relations issues seem to have focused upon color and racism: those who are not 'white' are 'black.' The terms racism and anti-racism are used there frequently probably because of the lack of belief in Britain that it is culturally pluralistic, and partly because of the lack of response in Britain to multiculturalism compared to charges of racism and the demand for anti-racist programs. Whether or not McLeod's observations are accurate, becoming aware of these contextual details has clarified for me the influences and concerns implicit in British anti-racist literature. I believe that they are the kinds of details that can lead to confusion if they are not clarified when anti-racism is discussed or debated across and even within national borders. Gaining an understanding of the British national vision represented a significant step towards illuminating, for me, unique aspects of the Canadian context. Though its social and political atmosphere may be equally anglocentric and racist (see Henry, Tator, Mattis and Rees 1995; Li 1991 and Stasiulis 1990), particularly in terms of the history of 10 immigration policy (Whitaker 1991; Anderson 1991; Abella and Troper 1982), the Canadian context can also be seen as distinct. Paralleling Jackson's description of the British illusion, Reitz and Breton (1994) make reference to a Canadian illusion that includes "celebrating] its identity as a nation of immigrants whose past and future rest on the attraction of new settlers" (Smith 1993, 52). The ideology of multiculturalism (see Fleras and Elliot 1992) has taken on a large role in the overall Canadian social consciousness and has been highly promoted in terms of official political rhetoric. Multiculturalism, according to Bannerji (1997), is an integral part of the contemporary "national imaginary" of Canada, and Srivastava (1997, 177) notes that "what differentiates Canadian multiculturalism from other national forms of multiculturalism is ... its imaginative hold on its citizens". As Reitz and Breton (1994, 9) point out, though the reality may be different, "the mere existence" of an official policy of multiculturalism "would seem to reflect a commitment to cultural diversity, at the level of public discourse". Anti-racism in Canada: Confusion The other issue which led me to investigate the nature of Canadian anti-racism arose from the confusion and ambiguity which I observed in relation to the meaning of anti-racism and its relationship with Canadian multiculturalism. While I'd seen evidence of a well-developed debate about that relationship in the British literature, the Canadian literature seemed to contain a great deal of ambiguity. Though I have been able to map at least two conceptualizations of anti-racism in the Canadian literature, that fragmentation is not acknowledged within the literature itself. I often encounter this 11 same confusion and ambiguity in informal dialogue with teachers,.activists and academics who either do not realize that different conceptualizations exist or dismiss those that do not conform to their own understandings as incorrect or naive. This confusion became especially apparent to me when I tried to explain my research to other people. I repeatedly found myself having to outline the different views of anti-racism before proceeding to an explanation of my research question. Research Question To sum up, my confusion arose from the simple fact that the term "anti-racism" is used in the Canadian literature" in a way that suggests its meaning is unproblematic, when it would seem logical for anti-racist theories to have adapted to the Canadian context. It seemed to me that the most logical place to concentrate my analysis was on the perceived relationship between multiculturalism and anti-racism. I focused on the body of literature that defines anti-racist education as a form of critical pedagogy because the majority of those studies conceptualize anti-racist education as being in conflict with multiculturalism and multicultural education. I began this study, then, by asking, how does this body of literature envision the role of anti-racism and anti-racist education within the context of a nation that in many ways identifies itself in terms of multiculturalism? 12 CHAPTER TWO METHODOLOGY As may have become apparent in Chapter One, this research grew out of my own experiences of trying to make sense of the Canadian literature on anti-racist education. I believe that, as a person who has a strong interest in issues of education, diversity, and social justice, the difficulties I encountered may be able to shed some light on some conceptual problems in Canadian anti-racist research. So as to fully detail the ways in which my comprehension of those problems shifted and expanded, I describe my research findings in a way that highlights process as well as content. In the same way that I recounted, in Chapter One, the ways in which I discovered a problem with this body of literature, the remainder of this thesis explains the process I went through to find the source of that problem. I invite my readers to accompany me as I reflect on the journey itself, from beginning to end. Chapter Three, for example, details my initial analysis of the literature, while Chapter Four explains the problems that I encountered in that analysis as well as my examination of ideas that I had initially taken at face value. Locating the Data The first step I took was to locate my data, which was to take the form of • scholarly research on anti-racist education. As I indicated in Chapter One, I had already decided to focus on literature that conceptualizes anti-racism as being in conflict with multiculturalism. 13 Limitations: I came across articles written more generally about anti-racism theory (Bannerji 1995, 1997; Leah 1995; Reed 1994, for example) as well as anti-racist community action (Calliste 1995; Stasiulis 1990). Though I limited myself to research on anti-racist education or pedagogy, I recognize that this study addresses only one small portion of the Canadian literature on anti-racism. I focused only on literature written in English, though I recognize that there may exist Canadian literature on anti-racism and anti-racist education that is written in French. Future analysis of that literature may uncover ideas which could further enhance the current understanding of Canadian anti-racism. I also excluded research on racism in Canada (see Li 1991) as well as research, falling under the umbrella of "multiculturalism", which looks into social justice or human rights education (see McLeod 1992). Though I acknowledge that those bodies of literature may share with critical anti-racist educational literature similar perspectives about causes, manifestations, effects of and strategies for combatting racism, I excluded them because, for the purpose of this study, I am interested in literature in which the focus is described solely in terms of "anti-racist education and not multicultural education". Compiling the List I compiled my list of articles and books in a variety of ways. First, I searched journals using E.R.I.C., The Education Index, The Canadian Education Index, The Canadian Periodical Index, The Canadian Business and Current Affairs Index and The 14 Social Sciences Citations Index. I used, as key search terms, "anti-racism", "antiracism1" "racism", "multicultural", and "multiculturalism" in conjunction with "education" and "pedagogy", including "Canada" with each variation. I also discovered articles by reading the bibliographies of the literature I had already found. I selected only scholarly literature on anti-racist education that specifically relates to Canada Terms Used to Define the Selected Literature Though I was limited to writings about education, I found that even that category represents quite a broad spectrum of concerns. The category "anti-racist education" includes literature addressing education in public schools (McCaskell 1995; Dei 1993, 1994,1996; Tator and Henry 1991); teacher education (Hesch 1995, 1996; Solomon and Levine-Rasky 1996; Solomon 1995); First Nations issues in Education2 (Regnier 1995; Hesch 1995, 1996); student perspectives of diversity and racism (Roman and Stanley 1997); issues associated with teaching anti-racism at the post-secondary level (Ng 1995; Srivastava 1997); and non-formal anti-racism workshops (Srivastava 1996), as well as literature which broadly discusses anti-racist educational theory (Thomas 1984, 1986; Lee 1994; Rezai-Rashti 1995; Walcott 1990; James 1995). As I have already indicated, "anti-racist" refers, in the context of this study, to the 1 British spelling. 2 It is important to note, here, that First Nations issues are most often conceptualized as a completely separate discourse, particularly in reference (or in opposition) to multiculturalism. Although I acknowledge the political significance of that position, I avoid an extended discussion of it in this study, partly because it is an important issue that deserves more attention than I can provide within this context and partly because the arguments presented in the writing of both Regnier (1995) and Hesch (1995, 1996) specifically acknowledge the possibilities that anti-racist and First Nations discourses can offer one another. In both authors' writings, the concerns of First Nations have been situated within the framework of anti-racism. Whether or not that stance is acceptable to other scholars of First Nations issues, I have elected to discuss their work as 15' conceptualization of anti-racist education as critical pedagogy. I considered referring to "critical anti-racism" throughout the thesis, as I did when I mapped the Canadian literature in the introduction, but decided against it lest I inadvertantly give this body of literature credit for acknowledging the fragmentation that exists within Canadian anti-racism. As I pointed out in the introduction, this body of literature refers simply to "anti-racism" as if it is generic, both internationally and within Canada. "Canadian" refers to literature written by scholars who currently reside in Canada and whose research is grounded in the Canadian context, whether in terms of personal experience or observations made through systematic research. Thus, although I include one article co-authored by Roman and Stanley (1997) which is based on research in one Canadian school, I have excluded one of Roman's earlier articles (1992) that makes reference to the American context. I also exclude from my pool of data an article by Bonnett and Carrington (1996), two British scholars comparing anti-racism in Canada and Britain. "Scholarly" describes literature which has been written with the intention of formally analysing one or more aspects of anti-racist education. I exclude any literature written in the form of practical guidelines written by or for teachers and/or community activists for use in formal and non-formal classrooms (see Lee 1985, for example). Analysis of the Literature The Conflict Between Anti-racism and Multiculturalism: What Does Lt Look Like ? After establishing that this literature views the relationship between anti-racism and multiculturalism as one of conflict, I went on to investigate the ways in which this representing one perspective within anti-racism. 16 literature conceptualizes the conflict itself in light of the prevalence of Canadian multiculturalism. I uncovered two completely different visions of that conflict, which I discuss in Chapter Three. I also found that this literature does not discuss the conflict in enough detail for me to fully comprehend its implications in terms of the application of anti-racist ideas and strategies.. In order to address the inadequacy of that discussion, I found myself having to more closely examine some of this literature's arguments with regard to multiculturalism. Critically Assessing the Literature I returned to the perception of conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism that I had earlier accepted at face value. Though anti-racist education is described in this literature as one form of critical pedagogy (see Ng 1995, for example), Mansfield and Kehoe (1994, 419) have noted that "Whereas multicultural education has been subjected to considerable critical analysis over the past two decades ... anti-racist education has received relatively little critical scrutiny". In Chapter Four I describe my attempt to look more deeply at the critique of multiculturalism with the intention of investigating the depth to which it is explained and substantiated with reference to the Canadian context. Limitations: Other Canadian researchers have critiqued the relevance of anti-racism in . a Canadian setting as well as the validity of anti-racist claims in general, focusing on its alleged leftist political focus, reductive tendencies, and counter-productive qualities (Mansfield and Kehoe 1994) as well as critiquing its concerns as inappropriate in terms 17 of the Canadian context (McLeod 1992). This study is not intended to investigate those concerns further. My intention is simply to investigate how well the Canadian literature on critical anti-racist education addresses the Canadian context. My intention was also not to critique each author's explanation in terms of what he or she failed to do, which might entail taking into account editing or publishing guidelines which could have influenced or placed constraints on content. For example, I looked at articles by Solomon (1995) and James (1995) which were published in Race, Gender and Class, an American journal. Might those researchers have had to alter their writing so that it would be relevant to an American audience? Tator and Henry's (1991) study, funded by the Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship, critiques multiculturalism very briefly. Though I critique their scanty explanation in Chapter Four, I recognize that there may have been external factors influencing what they could or could not elaborate on. In light of those problems, my intention is to evaluate this literature as a whole; how well does this body of literature explain anti-racism as an approach to Canadian education? Problems Encountered Choosing the language with which to discuss these issues was particularly difficult. The literature I analyzed refers to anti-racism, anti-racist education, anti-racist theoifies), anti-racism praxis, anti-racist approaches, and anti-racist pedagogy, in addition to alternating between multiculturalism, multicultural education and multicultural policy and ideology. While in Chapter Four I critique this body of literature for its tendency to critique "multiculturalism" without indicating the various 18 forms it might take, I also recognize that specifying those forms in writing can be a complicated task; where possible, summing up a set of concepts with a single phrase can be strategically appealing, both to writer and reader. I have also tried to simplify my discussion by referring simply to "anti-racism" and "multiculturalism" throughout much of my analysis, though I believe that it is important to recognize the ways in which that choice can be problematic. 19 C H A P T E R T H R E E A N T I - R A C I S M VERSUS M U L T I C U L T U R A L I S M : I R R E C O N C I L A B L E C O N F L I C T O R I N E V I T A B L E C O M P R O M I S E ? The body of literature that I focused on sees the beliefs, aims, and strategies of anti-racism as being different from and in conflict with those of multiculturalism. This chapter is concerned with uncovering the ways in which this literature conceptualizes 0 that conflict in terms of the role of anti-racism in Canada, in light of the support which the Canadian social and political climate seems to offer multiculturalism as ideology and policy. I was surprised to find that conflict framed in two very different ways. Irreconcilable Conflict -The first conceptualization portrays anti-racism and multiculturalism as being inherently different in nature, sets of theories that are and must remain in conflict. The oppositional nature of anti-racism, in this view, is at odds with the values and goals of multicultural ideology, particularly in terms of the state. Thomas (1987, 20), one of the first Canadian researchers to outline the difference between anti-racism and multiculturalism, warns that, although anti-racism has had an influence on proponents of multiculturalism, * '' it departs from the tenets of multiculturalism and multicultural education in quite substantial ways, and it is important to define clearly the oppositional nature of an anti-racist education before the uncomfortable edges are smoothed and we are left with yet another term for 'dealing with diversity'. 20 Regnier (1995, 77), discussing the relevance of anti-racism to First Nations concerns, also rejects the idea of developing anti-racist pedagogies within the space created by official multiculturalism. He states that, Emancipatory anti-racist pedagogies formulated within multicultural frameworks run the risk of supporting policy that does not sufficiently address, and ultimately pre-empts, their concerns. Emancipatory anti-racist pedagogies formulated within multicultural frameworks run the risk of utilizing ideologies of cultural pluralism to revise rather than criticize strategies of assimilation. Walcott (1990, 112) also explicitly argues that official policies of multiculturalism do not create space for anti-racist education, noting that the basic position of anti-racism, one that "rejects the reification of power", is at odds with the interests of the state as well as state-instituted multiculturalism. In fact, he goes on, "It is a fact that the state instituted multicultural education rendered any subversive elements mute". The state, then, has no interest in making significant changes to the racist social structure in Canada; anti-racism and anti-racist education can only be useful as counter-hegemonic movements which remain outside of the state. View of Compromise This approach views compromise between anti-racism and multiculturalism as indicating a flawed understanding of anti-racism, or even a 'selling out' of its oppositional quality. Rezai-Rashti (1995, 9) critiques the final report of Ontario's Advisory Committee on Race Relations, established in 1985. That report was controversial in that the committee was made up of proponents of both anti-racist and multicultural education who had trouble defining key goals and strategies. Rezai-Rashti notes that, 21 The tensions and contradictions of the committee members are evident in the final report, which reflects their need to find a compromise solution amenable to supporters of both multicultural education and anti-racist education. In the end, the committee produced a report which, though well-intentioned, opened itself to harsh criticism from all sides. Others argue that teachers often misunderstand anti-racism. Solomon and Levine-Rasky (1996b, 343) note that "many [teachers] conceptualise anti-racist pedagogy as the 'negative half of an anti-racism-multiculturalism dualism", having been influenced by state and local boards of Education whose "policy language ... does not acknowledge the different origins, pedagogical and political objectives or the potential outcomes of the two educational perspectives" (Solomon and Levine-Rasky, 344). James (1995, 44) also views the amalgamation of anti-racism and multiculturalism with trepidation, critiquing the tendency for educators to assimilate anti-racism into an already ineffective multicultural framework [which] is a reflection of the philosophy of equity and democracy of multiculturalism to which Canadians subscribe. He critiques the pervasiveness of multiculturalism, noting that teachers who had gone through what they called anti-racist training continued to understand issues of diversity and racism in ways that "reflect the multicultural education paradigm" (James, 39). He also critiques the same Ontario policy brought up by Rezai-Rashti (1995), specifically aiming his critique at the use of the phrase 'race and ethnocultural equity'. Although the Ontario government claims to have developed an anti-racist approach, he (James, 32) notes, that particular phrase only indicates the pervasiveness of multicultural ideology1. Multiculturalism is ineffective, yet 1 This assessment is quite different from that made by Cumming (1994), who sees Ontario's policy as already having evolved toward an anti-racist paradigm (see Chapter 2, p.5, this document). 22 so pervasive that the implementation of anti-racist education will be limited. Also, the pervasiveness of the multicultural framework is likely to result in educators representing multicultural curricula and practice as if they were synonymous with anti-racism". Resolution of the Conflict This approach takes a radical, counter-hegemonic stance: because multiculturalism is state-instituted, it can do nothing to further the cause of anti-racism; anti-racism must remain completely separate from multiculturalism. If that is the case, though, where does anti-racism fit into the grand scheme of things, in a country with both official and popular support for multiculturalism? In other words, if policies of multiculturalism, multicultural programming, and funding for multiculturalism exist as a part of Canada's official framework, not to mention the influence official multiculturalism has had on the "national imaginary" (Bannerji 1997) of Canada, how is anti-racism meant to make any significant inroads without somehow becoming a part of that framework? Can anti-racism exist as a separate, counterhegemonic approach, without leaning on an already-established multiculturalism for support in the form of public perception or motivation and government funding? I find that sort of strategic detail missing from this literature. A generous reading might reveal that these researchers really do envision anti-racist theories as changing multicultural policies, as well as proponents' perceptions, one step at a time. Perhaps the goals of a counter-hegemonic movement are simply to be vocal about its opposition while slowly etching away at the dominant ideology within a society. If that is the case, though, and this literature is simply using elaborate rhetoric 23 for symbolic reasons, I have to argue that while I find these ideas provocative, I do not find them useful. Living in Canada, I am surrounded by theories and strategies of multiculturalism: schools with multicultural programming, people who believe in multiculturalism and funding from agencies that support multiculturalism. I would not say that I am looking for practical guidelines for implementing anti-racism at the classroom level. Rather, I am looking for conceptual guidelines to explain to me what anti-racist theories have that theories of multiculturalism are missing, and how to fit those theories into my conceptual framework which has been influenced by multiculturalism for almost three decades. The writings of James (1995), Solomon (1995) and Solomon and Levine-Rasky (1996a,b) particularly reflect the practical and conceptual difficulties involved in maintaining an anti-racist approach that is kept separate from the workings of official and popular multiculturalism, if only because they let their own uncertainty slip instead of charging ahead, as do others in this group. For example, though highly critical of the hold that multiculturalism has had on the development of anti-racism, James (1995, 44) concludes, briefly, that "The challenge for anti-racism educators ... is to help students to reconceptualize multiculturalism" (emphasis mine). Through this single statement he implies that there is, in fact, room to develop anti-racism within multiculturalism; that, in fact, there is enough room within the multiculturalist framework for anti-racism to move in and subsequently alter the path of multiculturalism. Solomon and Levine-Rasky (1996b, 339) also note that "There are, of course, essential ideological and political differences between [multicultural education and anti-racist education]", yet they try to 24 distance themselyes from any real or practical responsibility for that position by stating, in a footnote, that There is a long-standing controversy about the implications of defining respective boundaries for multicultural and anti-racist education. We deliberately avoid the interminable debate here because their meanings are anything but universal and objective (Solomon and Levine-Rasky 1996b, 343; emphasis mine). In fact, by acknowledging the conflict as they do, these scholars do anything but avoid the debate. Inevitable Compromise The second approach also acknowledges a conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism, but goes on to i) take the position that there needs to be active compromise between the two approaches, or ii) simply take note of the fact that despite their theoretical differences the two approaches automatically blur together in practice, like it or not. Hesch (1995, 1996) also strongly emphasizes the counter-hegemonic nature of anti-racist education, stating further that multiculturalism "can be viewed as a strategy of the state to secure hegemony in the field of race relations" (Hesch 1995, 105). At the same time, he indicates that he was able to fit his course on anti-racism into an aboriginal teacher education program which "was created on the basis of multicultural assumptions" (Hesch, 105). Although the program has limited space within which aboriginal learners can take control of education, in that it is ultimately controlled by the state, he maintains that it is possible to effect change, slowly but surely. Hesch (1996, 271) believes that 25 When the activities produced by oppositional social movements confront the interests manifested through the state, both sides may give. The results, however insignificant, may lead to the transformation of the state. He turns to Ng (1990) for an explanation of this process, noting that social struggles are usually 'in and of the state', and not outside of it. Thus, the program to which Hesch refers, and others like it, the establishment of which has been a result of extensive lobbying on the part of aboriginal groups, "represent a qualitative change in the delivery of teacher education ... where aboriginal teacher (sic) is both within and against the state" (Hesch 1996, 272). Tator and Henry (1991, 145) also suggest compromise. They note that critics of anti-racism argue that it is "too polemic, rhetorical and political", suggesting that, One way perhaps of reducing some of the polemic either/or debate is to create constructive alternatives and actions that can be seen as sensible by both sides. Using other vocabulary is another approach that has been used recently by some educational institutions to describe the work. Their study goes on to commend the Ontario Ministry of Education's Advisory Committee for introducing the term 'race and ethnocultural equity' in its policy "while incorporating the main principles of anti-racist education. While acknowledging the contributions of multicultural education, it also recognized some of its limitations2" (p. 146). Lee (1994, 22) appears to agree with this view, stating that In some places the struggle is described as the battle between multiculturalism and anti-racism. At this point, the content and outcome of the struggle are more significant than the banner under which the struggle is being waged. Banners can be very misleading in this field. 2 The same policy which Rezai-Rashti (1995) and James (1995) critique as centering on multiculturalist assumptions and which Cumming (1994) sees as representing an anti-racist paradigm. 26 Finally, Srivastava (1996, 305), writing about anti-racist workshops, takes note of the pervasiveness of multiculturalist ideology, noting that "divisions that are clearly outlined in debates between multicultural and anti-racist education become blurred in practice". View of Compromise Despite the fact that this approach begins to address possible resolutions of the conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism by acknowledging the need for some sort of compromise to take place, it is flawed in that it does not go far enough in explaining what form that compromise should take. Though Tator and Henry (1991, 145) suggest that "constructive alternatives" which can appease advocates of both approaches need to be developed, they make only a limited attempt to explore the forms those alternatives might take. Hesch (1995, 1996) only delves superficially into this issue as well, indicating that those educators with an interest in anti-racism and critical pedagogy can find the space to do so within a multiculturalist framework and implying that change can occur through sheer persistence. Finally, Lee (1994) and Srivastava (1996) merely comment on the fact that these approaches cannot help but blur in practice. What is missing is a significant exploration of what that compromise might look like and how it might take place. For example, which elements of multiculturalism should be considered valuable and which ones should be "put on the shelf? Who should make the decisions as to which ideas are valid? How can the gap between advocates of anti-racism and multiculturalism be narrowed, aside from the use of delicate policy language, as Tator and Henry (1991) suggest? ' 27 Literature That Does Not Mention Multiculturalism Dei (1994, 1995, 1996), McCaskell (1995), Ng (1995) and Solomon (1995) also write about "critical anti-racism", yet they do not mention multiculturalism at all. Instead of critiquing multiculturalism as a jumping-off point, they simply explain what they see as the positive aspects of anti-racism and anti-racist education. The goals of anti-racist education are still described by Dei (1996, 251) as being, educational and social transformation [proceeding] from a critical understanding of how contemporary social formations provide the educational and institutional structures through which dominating values, principles and traditions are actualized in everyday experience. Ng (1995), further, describes anti-racist education, as a form of critical teaching, as subversive. McCaskell (1995) and Solomon (1995) also describe anti-racism in similar ways. I am ambivalent about this work. When I first read these studies, I was frustrated that these researchers had neglected to comment on multiculturalism. I wondered how they could do so, when they are conducting their research within a country that appears to be so preoccupied with multiculturalism. Re-reading Lee (1994, 22), I learned to appreciate that omission much more. As she notes, Tensions and contradictions are emerging as the struggle against racism finds a serious place on the agenda of Canadian schools. In some places the struggle is described as the battle between multiculturalism and anti-racism. At this point, the content and outcome of the struggle are more significant than the banner under which the struggle is being waged. Banners can be very misleading in this field. She goes on to discuss the advantages and weaknesses of different ideas and strategies without labelling them as either multicultural or anti-racist. At times, I wonder if Dei, 28 McCaskell, Ng and Solomon have done the same thing. By omitting a critique of multiculturalism, they may be simply discussing anti-racist education as set of interesting theories and strategies which they see as being more effective than other theories and strategies which may or may not be labeled "multiculturalist". It is the individual theories and strategies that are significant and not the banners under which those strategies may lie. On the other hand, having identified their work as "anti-racist", these researchers may be taking the critique of multiculturalism for granted; at the very least, their readers may assume that they do. Discussion As I have noted, it is the work that does see conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism that intrigues me. Rezai-Rashti (1995, 17) has critiqued critical pedagogy, anti-racism included, for being too concerned with "a highly abstract set of theoretical principles", neglecting discussions of how to implement those principles at a practical level. Instead of focusing on anti-racism's inability to make a practical connection with front-line workers, as she does, my critique centres on this literature's vague and ambiguous portrayal of anti-racism even at the theoretical level. I find that Schreader's (1990, 185) observations of the state-funded women's movement support my belief that this literature's discussion of anti-racism may be incomplete. She writes, at the time when I was conducting this study, I was struck by the inability or unwillingness of feminists to think in anything but conspiratorial terms. This reliance upon conspiracy theories had resulted in a perception of the state as monolithic, unified and threatening. But what was more significant was that feminists had thus far neglected to systematically analyze the process of state 29 intervention into popular movements. Thus, while the effects of intervention, such as deflection of progressive goals, defusing of issues and co-optation, were increasingly noted, little was understood about how state functioning had promoted these undesirable outcomes. Equally misunderstood was how contradictions in the movement itself had provided significant opportunities for political co-optation to occur. While parts of Schreader's observations apply particularly well to the "irreconcilable conflict" group, who seem to rely extensively on a vague sense of state support for multiculturalism as inherently counter-productive, I find that they also help to explain the limitations of the "compromise" group. Both groups discuss key issues and problems in simplistic though rhetorically effective terms, without providing me with specific explanations or strategies. This literature seems to have become caught up in the standard conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism, neglecting to effectively take into account the particularities of the Canadian context. After reflecting on those problems, I realized that I had taken this literature's critique of multiculturalism at face value. I went on to examine that critique more carefully. 30 CHAPTER FOUR EXCAVATING FOR CANADIAN CONTENT IN THE CRITIQUE OF MULTICULTURALISM The idea of conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism was the starting point for my initial analysis of this literature, which I outlined in Chapter Three. I had accepted the perception of conflict at face value, moving on to investigate the ways in which it is articulated with reference to Canadian multiculturalism. The concerns I had with the results of that analysis led me to wonder if I had underestimated the significance of that sense of conflict as a central feature of this literature. I went on to look more critically at this literature's critique of multiculturalism. The Critique of Multiculturalism as Central The most obvious evidence of the centrality of the critique of multiculturalism is its recurrence as a theme. Tator and Henry (1991, 143) announce, for example, that "Multiculturalism is in itself an inadequate conceptual framework for the kind of structural or systemic changes needed within the institutions of this country and particularly its educational system". James (1995, 32) also notes that: the principles and practices of multicultural education, premised on the Canadian Multiculturalism Policy/Act, which are to be found in the approaches to education in many of today's classrooms, have been ineffective in addressing the needs, expectations and aspirations of students generally and minorities in particular. Some studies briefly outline a general critique of multiculturalism (Rezai-Rashti 1995), while others focus on a particular problem (Roman and Stanley 1997). Still others avoid addressing the issue directly, referring only vaguely to the existence of a debate between 31 proponents of multiculturalism and anti-racism (Solomon and Levine-Rasky 1996). As I noted in Chapter One, this literature seems to rely on a critique of multiculturalism and multicultural education as a springboard from which to detail the concerns of anti-racist education. The very existence of this pattern in the literature suggests that the critique of multiculturalism is important to anti-racist theory. It is also central in that multiculturalism is so salient in Canadian society that to offer anti-racism as an alternative vision, as this literature does, must necessarily entail a detailed critique of multiculturalism, specifically the way it is conceptualized in the Canadian context. Researchers have the responsibility, if only for the sake of clarity, to explain this critique while engaging with Canadian multiculturalism in a way that takes into account its complexity. As an educator/community activist, I am very interested in the claim that multiculturalism is flawed. My goal, after all, is to find the most effective means of effecting change in the way Canadians, as a nation and individually, address ethno-cultural or "racial" diversity and racism. To fully understand and evaluate anti-racism's potential as an alternative to multiculturalism, as this literature suggests that I do, it is imperative that I first thoroughly understand the alleged limitations of multiculturalism. When I examine the critique more closely, however, I find that this literature as a whole does not explain it in a way that engages with Canadian multiculturalism in enough detail. 32 A Critical Look at the Critique of Multiculturalism Characterization of Multiculturalism This literature tends to characterize multiculturalism as a tool of Canadian hegemony. Much of that discussion centres on the idea that multiculturalism was originally initiated as policy by the Canadian government. Walcott (1990, 112), for example, notes that "the state instituted multicultural education rendered any subversive elements mute," explaining that "It is important to keep in mind that the state constructs and appropriates where necessary to maintain its hegemony". Further, Anti-racist education is not a creation of the state. At some point in the future the state might attempt to appropriate anti-racist education, but that is unlikely since the basic tenet of anti-racist education is one that rejects the reification of power. ... Multicultural education was limited from its inception because it was not concerned with unsettling power relations as they existed. Thomas (1984, 1987) contrasts the official roots of Canadian multiculturalism with an image of anti-racism as a grass-roots movement, "developed through the work of community organizations" (Thomas 1984, 20; also cited in Walcott 1990 and Rezai-Rashti 1995). Hesch (1995, 105) also discusses multiculturalism in this way, observing that the aboriginal teacher education program in which he is involved was created on the basis of multiculturalist assumptions, to produce 'role models', and the primary non-aboriginal support comes from those who understand [the program's] graduates as fulfilling a multiculturalist mandate. Therefore, the ideology of multicultural education was central to the ideology of 'teacher' that my students were engaged in constructing. In this analysis, multicultural education can be viewed as a strategy of the state to secure hegemony in the field of race relations, (emphasis mine) I find this characterization of multiculturalism problematic, though I admit that it is compelling. 33 The idea that multiculturalism is a tool of the state to secure hegemony is somewhat appealing because it has some basis in fact: Canadian multiculturalism has its roots in federal policy1, and different levels of government are obviously still involved in funding for multicultural programming. The characterization, of multiculturalism as a tool of the state, though, seems to assume a linear connection between the origins of the policy and every other conceptualization of multiculturalism that has developed since. In fact, Joshee (1995) has found the history of Canadian multiculturalism to be more complex than that, having evolved from a focus on citizenship to cultural diversity to issues of human rights and social justice. I am also concerned about the characterization of multiculturalism in contrast to the grass roots of anti-racism. I believe that there are many Canadians who would argue that they are involved in implementing multiculturalism at the grass-roots level. Axe they incorrect? What definition of "grass roots" are these researchers working with? Again, there is space for proponents of anti-racism to research that claim further. Though I admit that I have found this characterization provocative, I am wary of it simply because it does not need to be—cannot be, in fact—substantiated or disproved. Its thin basis in fact seems to be all the proponents of anti-racism need to substantiate their claims. Rather than taking these compelling ideas and doing research to substantiate them in the Canadian context, I find that this literature relies on the strength of rhetoric which dismisses all of multiculturalism without having to critique it more thoroughly. I address this problem further in the latter half of this chapter. 1 Though much of this literature explicitly notes that multiculturalism was introduced as policy in 1971, Joshee (1995), in fact, traces its roots back to 1940. 34 Finally, this characterization is not useful to me in terms of uncovering potential problems with the ideas and strategies with which I interact daily under the umbrella of multiculturalism. I moved on, then, to examine a recurring argument within the critique which explicitly addresses some of the alleged beliefs and strategies of multiculturalism. Multiculturalist Beliefs and Strategies: A Culturalist Focus I looked more closely at one strand of the standard critique, which begins by . noting that multiculturalism operates within a culturalist framework, focusing only on ethnic culture and promoting cross-cultural interaction and cultural celebration as a means of increasing understanding and tolerance, and eliminating racism. The critique goes on to argue that this approach not only neglects to take into account issues of structural inequality within Canadian society but it also portrays cultures as static. Multiculturalism focuses on ethnic culture. The basis of this argument is the statement that multiculturalism focuses only on ethnic culture; the critique that follows is meaningless if this statement is not substantiated with reference to the Canadian context. Unfortunately, I found that the literature as a whole addresses this statement weakly in that its accuracy, for the most part, is taken for granted. Though this literature openly addresses the Canadian context in terms of "setting the stage" for its critique, it makes little effort to draw on the details of that context to substantiate its claims in reference to multiculturalism. 35 I found Tator and Henry (1991, 143) to be the only researchers to link their observations to an actual study of the Canadian context. They sum up their observations by noting that, [Our] analysis of the response of the educational institutions to cultural and racial diversity clearly indicates that this system, as all others in contemporary Canadian society, reflects the emphasis on the ethnicity and cultural orientations of new immigrants to Canada while ignoring the very important dimension of race. Unfortunately, though, they do not draw on examples from their study to illustrate these observations in the kind of detail that might help someone like me to understand what exactly the education system's cultural focus looks like. Walcott (1990, 113) also briefly refers to a Canadian scholar (Manicom 1987) to substantiate his claim that multicultural education is "concerned with song, dance, festivals and other tangible cultural products". Still, though, he does not take that observation any further, either to provide illustrations or to explain what that preoccupation looks like. James (1995) addresses this argument as well, arguing that teachers in Canada tend to integrate any new knowledge about anti-racism with a weak multiculturalist framework that is influenced by official government rhetoric and policy. Aside from discussing the problem in general terms, however, he only makes a weak effort to explicitly substantiate his observation with reference to the Canadian context, briefly citing Canadian scholars of multiculturalism and multicultural education (including Mansfield and Kehoe 1994; McLeod 1992; Fleras and Elliott 1992). Later on, he further demonstrates Canadian teachers' preoccupation with culture in a discussion about 36 teachers' tendency to "conceptualize anti-racism within their existing multicultural perspective" (James, 39). He notes, In a recent end of year celebration to which I was invited by the 'Multiculturalism and Race Relations Consultant' of a school board in Ontario, one teacher spoke about what she had learned from a number of antiracism sessions she attended. She said that she had learned a lot from the sessions; in implementing what she had learned, she ordered posters from Air Canada that showed the areas of the world to which they fly. These posters were posted around the school. This was her attempt to have posters that represented the 'backgrounds of the students of the school'. This representation of difference and diversity was very much in the context of the celebration that evening. The program included folk songs, music and 'cultural dancing' of the Caribbean, traditional Portuguese dance performed by 'Portuguese' children, and a performance by a playwright entitled: 'We Are One'. I identified the content of the .program to show that while the teachers had gone through what they claimed to be 'anti-racism training', still their understanding of addressing ethnic and racial diversity and cultural differences continued to reflect the multicultural education paradigm. I found this to be an interesting anecdote, and it certainly illustrates some significant issues which should be addressed, but I am left wishing that James had been more explicit about how he sees this particular example relating to the broader picture of multiculturalism and multicultural education in Canada. Readers, I suppose, are meant to assume that he believes this illustration to be indicative of a widespread tendency within the Canadian education system, but he never explicitly makes that point. Despite the limitations of these studies, they have at the very least made a weak effort to substantiate the initial claim that Canadian multiculturalism is preoccupied with culture. In other cases, the observation that multiculturalism focuses on culture tends to be referred to as if it is standard, the assumption being that Canadian multiculturalism simply represents one manifestation of a generic theory of multiculturalism, the qualities of which are so obvious that they can be taken for granted. 37' Thomas (1984, 21), for example, notes that "proponents of multiculturalism urge the celebration of... diversity", which she explains further, observing that, the aspects of culture which have currency with multiculturalism tend to be the more consumable dimensions of food, dress, 'customs' and habits (Thomas, 22). Aside from the obvious fact, which she establishes at the beginning of the article, that her explanation is set in the Canadian context, she neglects to substantiate observations such as this one with reference to that context. Hesch (1995, 106) makes the same mistake, noting that "The two most frequently made criticisms of multiculturalism are: first, that it casts the experiences of victims of racism purely within a culturalist framework; second, that multiculturalism usually reifies culture". Both Thomas and Hesch seem to defer to a standard description of multiculturalism without investigating the accuracy with which it describes the Canadian context. Solomon and Levine-Rasky (1996a,b) and Srivastava (1996) primarily rely on British anti-racist scholars (Mullard 1984; Troyna 1993, 1986; Troyna and Williams 1986) in making this statement. They make absolutely no attempt to explore or evaluate the significance that British interpretations might have in Canada. It is obvious, then, that this argument has a weak foundation to begin with. First, I am asked to rely on vague references which fail to adequately illustrate these authors' interpretations of the goals and strategies of multiculturalism. It would be much more helpful for me to know exactly what a "culturalist focus" entails, according to these researchers, as well as what it looks like in schools and more generally throughout Canadian society. I admit that this description seems simple enough on the surface: I could likely deduce my own understanding of a "culturalist focus" by referring to 38 examples which I have gathered from my own observations. I believe, though, that by leaving that task to their readers, these researchers risk widespread misunderstanding and confusion, which can only have a negative outcome in terms of the impact of their ideas., Not only might uninformed readers need a more detailed explanation of this characterization, but so might readers like myself who already have a good understanding of these kinds of issues. This literature leaves me, for example, wondering exactly which aspects of a "culturalist focus" are ineffective: is it wrong to refer to ethnicity at all? Is it naive or incorrect to promote ethnic culture in any way? Not only is this characterization left virtually unexplained, I am also left without any direct evidence that Canadian multiculturalism truly does have a culturalist focus, though the argument is presented in a way that makes it appear so obvious an observation that it need not be substantiated. Again, while I understand that it may be easy to characterize multiculturalism in this way, based on a superficial appraisal of public perception, advertising, or school culture, I do not believe that it is a characterization which should be accepted unproblematically. In fact, Joshee (1995, 35) has found that, throughout much of Canada, contemporary multicultural policies have a social justice, rather than a culturalist, focus. The social justice paradigm, according to Joshee, is: marked by an overriding concern about issues of relations between people of colour and the white majority. In the quest for equality of opportunity and access to the mainstream, a focus on developing separate ethnic identities is seen as a liability .... Identity is seen as establishing a presence within the mainstream rather than maintaining and developing a separate ethnic identity. ' The "culturalist focus" of multiculturalism is not as clear-cut as these researchers imply. Because these researchers fail to adequately substantiate this characterization, either in 39 terms of their own observations or by looking to other research on multiculturalism, I am left with the sense that they have not engaged in a detailed way with the very thing they claim to be critiquing. In that case, how can I trust that this literature's critique of multiculturalism applies to the ideas, policies, and practices that surround me? No detailed explanation of the problem. If Canadian multiculturalism emphasizes ethnic culture, a claim which has not been thoroughly demonstrated, why or how is that a problem? Once again, though the authors set up their critique as though it quite obviously relates to the Canadian context, they neglect to explain or substantiate their concerns with Canadian illustrations or reference to other Canadian studies. Thomas (1984, 21) outlines the problems with a culturalist focus, arguing that Canada is a country in which inequalities of power override the benefits of cultural celebration. [According to multiculturalism], Canada should be a place where everyone's culture can be preserved and lived out with respect and without penalty. At present, it is not. Indeed, the very people who should be enjoying the preservation of their heritage have been, and continue to be denied equal opportunity, and equal access to programs, training and jobs While it would be nice if cultures were considered equally valuable, it is a fact that not all cultures are equally powerful in this country .... Unequal power not only limits the dimensions of one's culture which can be legitimately expressed. More significantly, unequal power limits one's ability to earn a living, meet basic needs, make one's voice heard. Unequal power makes the struggle for self respect, let alone the respect of one's neighbours, a formidable one. While multiculturalism focuses on cultural differences, it is "the significance that is attached to differences, and more importantly, the way that differences are used to justify unequal treatment" (Thomas, 21) that is truly the problem. Further, according to Thomas (p.22), 40 The oppositional elements which cause people to resist and challenge those things which hurt and oppress them are usually marginalized in multiculturalism's portrayal of culture. While this explanation outlines the argument quite well, it offers me no insight into the specific ways in which it applies to the Canadian context. For example, what does unequal power look like in Canada? In what ways are people treated unequally? What does oppression look like in Canada? I would like to see, for example, an illustration of the ways that multiculturalism portrays culture, in Canada, as well as the kinds of elements that are marginalized in that portrayal. Far from disputing that these problems exist, I only wish I had a better understanding of the concrete ways in which they appear in the Canadian context. Similarly, Rezai-Rashti (1995, 6) simply outlines: while the central assumption of multicultural education is that sensitization and celebration of difference can counteract biased and prejudiced attitudes among Canadians, anti-racist education concentrates on examining the histories and practices that prejudice supports. and, While the supporters of multiculturalism look at culture as if it were a static institution, anti-racist educators see it as a dynamic institution influenced by elements of social class and gender. Again, this researcher has not substantiated her argument. Problems with the multiculturalist focus are only implied through a description of anti-racist education, and readers are left with no concrete sense of how these observations relate to the Canadian context. Tator and Henry (1991, 143) also offer an empty critique: though they obviously have a rich pool of data about multicultural education across Canada from which to draw 41 illustrations and evidence, they have chosen not to do so, for reasons which are unclear. As a result, their critique is weak. They simply note that [Our] analysis of the response of the educational institutions to cultural and racial diversity clearly indicates that this system, as all others in contemporary Canadian society, reflects the emphasis on the ethnicity and cultural orientations of new immigrants to Canada while ignoring the very important dimension of race. Multicultural education is primarily a response to ethnic diversity in Canadian society. It assumes that racial groups such as Blacks of Caribbean origin, South and South East Asians can all be dealt with at the level of their culture and ethnicity. According to many sophisticated observers in this field, the multicultural approach will do little to challenge the discrimination and inequalities that exist in Canada on the basis of racial differences. Once again, uninformed readers may be left wondering, "Why can't Canadians be dealt with at the level of their culture and ethnicity?" or "In what ways is multiculturalism ineffective in dealing with discrimination and inequality?" James (1995, 35) more specifically argues that by focusing on ethnic cultures Canadian multiculturalism fails to address more important issues such as inequality. He explains that official multiculturalism both embodies and encourages the Canadian belief in cultural democracy: the idea that all cultural groups are equal, with equal chances at economic and occupational success. First, he argues the inaccuracy of that belief as there is, in fact, a dominant cultural group in Canada. The norms, values and aspirations, of the society generally will be a reflection of the dominant ethno-racial group, who through its institutions uses its power to ensure its survival. The 'other' cultural groups must operate on the basis of the values and norms of the dominant culture in order to survive. By focusing only on ethnic cultures, multiculturalism fails to address imbalances of power and the struggles which accompany them. Multicultural education, then, is ineffective because, 42 ... educational successes or failures are not only a consequence of racial and ethnic cultural difference. Structural inequalities and barriers based on race, class, gender and other variables operate to influence educational outcomes. ... Hence, insofar as the State sanctioned approach to education does not interrogate or challenge these inherent structural factors, then it is limited in the extent to which it will be able to meet the needs of students generally, and minorities in particular (James, 35). Once again, though this argument is well laid out, it would help me to see more specific references to the Canadian context. What does the dominant culture look like in Canada? How is the dominant culture manifested in everyday experiences and perceptions? What kinds of compromises do minority ethno-cultural groups make when they follow the norms that that dominant culture has laid out? What kinds of structural , factors operate to limit students' life chances and how is it that multicultural education in Canada fails to address those factors? Regnier (1995, 76) discusses the irrelevance of multiculturalism to First Nations' concerns. He notes that multicultural education is of no use to aboriginal Canadians because it tends to identify or define groups solely "in ethnic or cultural minority terms that do not recognize claims to sovereignty, to land, to aboriginal rights, and to socio-economic obligations as spelled out in treaties". Though "immigrant cultures to Canada ... share with aboriginal peoples in being victimized by dominant ideologies and material structures that keep them oppressed", multicultural education does not address that side of the coin. Regnier only discusses this issue peripherally, though I see it as being key to a good understanding of the role that anti-racism can play in First Nations pedagogy. First Nations' ideological and political rejection of multiculturalism has a strong scholarly and political background into which he does not delve. Further, I believe that the acceptance of anti-racist pedagogy as a means of dealing with aboriginal issues in 43 Canada is relatively new. Though he obviously sees a place for anti-racism within First Nations pedagogy, Regnier does not explain or substantiate his vision as clearly as I believe he should. Questionable Tactics I have demonstrated that this literature fails to clearly explain or substantiate the problem with multiculturalism's alleged "culturalist focus". Instead, the authors rely on questionable tactics to back their observations and arguments. British references. A recurring problem within this literature is the reliance on British refererences to substantiate the argument that multiculturalism's alleged focus on culture is ineffective. There are scholars who believe that anti-racism has its roots in Britain (Bonnet and Carrington 1996; Dei 1996; Moodley 1995; Sleeter 1995; Selby 1993; McLeod 1992), and there is certainly a well-developed body of anti-racist literature by British scholars. Solomon and Levine-Rasky (1996a,b), and Srivastava (1996), though, completely defer to British theorists in their critique without discussion. Roman and Stanley (1997, 208) also rely on general and somewhat vague observations, in tying this critique to the Canadian context: Young people, like most adults, are exposed to the idea that Canada is a multicultural society by virtue of its celebration of diversity—of different 'ethnocultural' groups that are pieced together in one 'mosaic' called 'the nation'. Under this rubric, schools, along with other institutions (such as the family) are expected to teach children the principles and practices necessary to achieve the 'intercultural harmony and tolerance' of so-called racial/ethnic and national differences (which have been equated with so-called 'cultural differences'). 44 By enclosing certain phrases in quotation marks, the authors indicate that they represent problematic concepts, but rather than explaining those problems, they cite Gilroy, a British researcher. Gilroy (1990) theorizes the existence of what he terms "the new culturalist racism" (cited in Roman and Stanley 1997, 208) which, Roman and Stanley explain, exists in addition to "the older, aggressively biodeterministic [racist] discourse" (Roman and Stanley, 208). Roman and Stanley explain that "the new or emergent culturalist racism operates through a reductive or essentialist understanding of ethnic and national differences". Multiculturalism, thus, in its focus on the superficial aspects of ethnic cultures, "often unwittingly supports or promotes an emergent discourse of ethnic absolutism" (Roman and Stanley, 208). While I can see that Gilroy's ideas relate to the standard critique of multiculturalism, I am left wishing the authors had made more of an effort to discuss the context out of which Gilroy's ideas arose and how those ideas relate to multiculturalism in Canada. What does "ethnic absolutism" look like in Canada? How might it manifest itself? What might be its appeal for Canadians? What are its drawbacks in terms of Canadian society? Of course citing research from other countries is perfectly acceptable; I simply find fault with the fact that these authors have not looked more carefully at how the British arguments relate to the Canadian context. In what ways are British ideas relevant in Canada? In what ways might they be irrelevant? By citing the ideas of British scholars without investigating their relevence to Canada, these authors imply that ideas exist as an entity unto themselves, unrelated to a particular social context. This is a claim which I find problematic. I believe that only after specifically illuminating the contextually 45 distinct elements of British ideas can we begin to see their value in reference to the Canadian context. Calling upon a false sense of authority. In some cases, this argument is offered in a way that suggests it is the only logical interpretation. The authors rely on empty authoritative statements instead of taking the opportunity to explain more thoroughly with contextual details or substantiating evidence. Tator and Henry (1991, 143), for example, punctuate their observations with the statement, "According to many sophisticated observers in this field, the multicultural approach will do little to challenge the discrimination and inequalities that exist in Canada on the basis of racial differences" (emphasis mine). Readers are not offered a chance to see who those sophisticated observers might be or to evaluate their claims. In arguing that a culturalist framework does not address the inequalities that exist between groups of people in Canada, Thomas (1984, 21) also relies on this false sense of authority. She notes, for example, that, "While it would be nice if all cultures were considered equally valuable, it is a fact that not all cultures are equally powerful in this country" (emphasis mine). She (Thomas, 22) further notes that, "in the experience of the anti-racist educator, providing information about other cultures does not always result in 'increased tolerance'" (emphasis mine). James (1995, 35) also draws upon this questionable technique looking at the idea that multiculturalism both promotes and embodies a popular yet naive belief in the "equality among ethnic groups". He explains that 46 This notion of cultural democracy presupposes that the norms, values and principles, indeed the laws, by which the State operates are neutral, and therefore citizens are able to fully participate in the society and institutions uninhibited by their culture. He then goes on to argue, "But we know that every society has a dominant culture around which institutions are formed" (emphasis mine). Calling upon a false sense of authority in this way does nothing to substantiate this critique of multiculturalism. These are empty statements that merely provide a facade for arguments that really need to be substantiated in more depth. Is Multiculturalism Ineffective in Canada? Finally, I find no strong evidence, in this literature, that multiculturalism, including multicultural education, has been ineffective in Canada, though I have come across many strong claims to that effect. I have selected some of the more interesting arguments to illustrate what this problem looks like. James (1995, 32) notes that the principles and practices of multicultural education, premised on the Canadian Multiculturalism Policy/Act, which are to be found in the approaches to education in many of today's classrooms, have been ineffective in addressing the needs, expectations and aspirations of students generally and minorities in particular. Though he briefly outlines the path of multicultural education, from the inception of the 1971 policy, through the addition of "race relations", including the concerns of community groups, he does not cite any studies explicitly detailing the failure of multicultural approaches. Are minority students who have grown up with multicultural education still getting the short end of the stick in terms of employment equity? Have 47 the attitudes of non-minority students remained equally as racist as they were twenty years ago? Have student perceptions of Canadian diversity changed? Rezai-Rashti (1995, 10) also denounces multiculturalism, after detailing McLeod's (1992) assertion that multicultural education is effective enough for Canadians and that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms adequately covers issues of equality. She argues that McLeod's support for liberal multicultural policies cannot hide the fact, however, that racism in society and in the school system has become so prevalent nowadays that the mere existence of progressive legislation and other principles enshrined in the charter are in dire need of updating, if not a total overhaul. The existence of multicultural legislation and the power to enforce it is in itself a sorry indication that without the legislation, a large sector of the Canadian citizenry might not voluntarily abide by the principles of egalitarianism that Canadians hold so dearly. Calling for anti-racist legislation might have a great deal to do with beingleftist, yet it also has much to do with the fact that multiculturalism has failed (or it may in the not-so-distant future) to maintain societal equilibrium. (emphasis mine) First, the author has not explained what racism looks like in contemporary Canada. Has it always existed? Has it changed its form since the inception of multicultural policy? How does she know that multiculturalism has failed? What does that failure look like? Rezai-Rashti has made many different, highly charged and even contestable, claims, yet not one of them has been substantiated. Finally, Rezai-Rashti (1995) and Roman and Stanley (1997) both cite students' good understanding of the tenets of anti-racism as an indication of the need for anti-racist education in the schools. Rezai-Rashti notes that, "My recent experiences working with students ... shows that, unlike teachers, the students have no difficulty in acknowledging the existence of racism in their own schools and communities" (1995, 15). Roman and Stanley (1997, 222) write, "[the students'] solutions are specific and, if 48 taken seriously, would necessitate a radical revision of most school curricula (including so-called 'inclusive curricula') and their attendant practices". Neither of these studies explore or even consider the possibility that students are already getting their ideas in the schools; and if they are not, where are they getting them? Once again, these claims need to be substantiated more Clearly, not only in terms of their validity, but also in order to provide readers with a more detailed analysis with which to consider the critique of multiculturalism. It is one thing to critique multiculturalism in theory, but in order for that critique to have any practical value, it needs to be reinforced with solid examples. Discussion Multiculturalism as Monolithic In retrospect, I now understand my confusion after the initial analysis. I see now that this literature is unable to conceptualize the practical ramifications or significance of the conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism because it has failed to address the complexity of Canadian multiculturalism. Canadian multiculturalism is made up of a complex combination of ideology, policy, research and practice (Joshee 1995, 1997). Interpretations have changed through time and from province to province. This literature tends to rely on a standard critique of multiculturalism without addressing its complexity within the Canadian context. It seems to interpret multiculturalism as if it is a monolithic, static entity. With the possible exception of Tator and Henry (1991), who have explicitly done an extensive study of multicultural education programming across Canada, this literature 49 discusses multiculturalism in a way that blurs the boundaries between what I see as three major tiers: ideology, policy, and education, with no discussion of how interpretations might differ for each area and without taking into account scholarly work in the area of multiculturalism. I see this problem manifesting itself in a variety of ways. First, there is a recurring pattern in which "multiculturalism" is referred to without explanation. While I understand the necessity of sometimes using an all-encompassing term in that way, as I have done throughout this study for the sake of simplicity, I believe that the choice to do so should be explained and qualified thoroughly along with an explanation of the ways in which that kind of simplification can be problematic. Regardless of the problematic way that multiculturalism is discussed, I am also bothered by the fact that this literature as a whole contains absolutely no discussion of the complexity of Canadian multiculturalism, whether looking into the relationship between ideology, policy, education and research or the complexity within each of those categories. Once again, Tator and Henry (1991, 4) are the exception, noting that the relationship between policy and the implementation of programs is not linear or hierarchical. The relationship can be interactive in the sense that action can inform policy and indeed point to and provoke institutional change. This observation is made mainly in terms of the limitations of their study; the authors do not explicitly discuss that relationship's meaning in terms of their critique. James (1995, 32) also begins to discuss the relationship between federal policy and education. He states explicitly that he intends to examine how 'official' multiculturalism has influenced multicultural and anti-racism educational policies and practices in Canada. We will argue that the principles and practices of multicultural education, premised on the Canadian Multiculturalism 50 Policy/Act, which are to be found in the approaches to education in many of today's classrooms, have been ineffective in addressing the needs, expectations and aspirations of students generally, and minorities in particular. Unfortunately, his examination is more about the influence that official multicultural ideology has on teachers' understandings of anti-racism, the "tendency for educators to assimilate anti-racism into an already ineffective multicultural framework" (James, 44) than it is about following the progression of multicultural theory from state to education policy and then to practice. Fleras and Elliot (1992, 70) point out that, It is imperative that we maintain a clear distinction between multiculturalism as broad ideological field and its practical expression as official government policy and a specific set of programs. If those researching anti-racism in Canada see a connection between those fields, I would like to see them explicitly explore that connection, backing their claims with Canadian illustrations or references. Otherwise, I find their oversimplification confusing. Further, Canada is an enormous country. Is it not possible that multiculturalism could be conceptualized differently in different parts of Canada? In terms of education, for example, Tator and Henry's (1991,. 147) study found that ministries, boards and schools from one province or territory to the next had very different agendas. They found that while the maritime provinces "continue to be influenced by a white anglo assimilationist perspective", in Ontario, "there has been a significant increase in the level of activity as it relates to multiculturalism, race and ethnocultural equity and anti-racist education" (Tator and Henry, 149). It is common sense to think that different communities within Canada—for example, Black Nova Scotians versus Chinese immigrants in Vancouver—might understand Canadian multiculturalism in different ways 51 (see Bonnett and Carrington 1996; Multiculturalism and Race Relations Directorate 1995). Even on a smaller level, this literature does not acknowledge, let alone discuss, the possibility that there may be a few different interpretations within each of those major tiers. Federal multiculturalism, for example, has not remained static since its development in the 1940s (Joshee 1995). As Fleras and Elliot (1992, 70) point out, It is ... accurate ... to see multiculturalism as a multi-dimensional process undergoing constant modification, and dissolution in response to various social and political forces. ... Nor should we approach it as an object with a common set of timeless attributes and fixed objectives. The content and objectives of multiculturalism are open to various interpretations, and are contested at all points by competing interests with contrasting visions. Such is certainly the case in Canada, where federal multiculturalism has evolved in a manner and direction never envisaged by the architects of the policy. Further, policies of multiculturalism do not only exist at the federal level. There also exist provincial policies of multiculturalism, as well as municipal and school board policies and even school mandates. Perhaps those policies are all manifestations of the original federal policy and perhaps not. Again, there is room for research here. Finally, it is blatantly obvious, from the lack of references, that the Canadian proponents of critical anti-racism engage very little with Canadian (or other) research on multiculturalism or multicultural education. Sleeter (1995) has made similar observations in reference to radical critiques of American multiculturalism. How can this literature claim to thoroughly critique multiculturalism or suggest that it needs to be either replaced or altered by anti-racism, when it does not engage with so-called multiculturalist literature itself? There even exists research, falling under the umbrella of multiculturalism, that is critical of Canadian multiculturalism policies (see Joshee 1995, 52 for example) yet that research seems to have been dismissed or ignored by anti-racist researchers. Engaging more with those sorts of resources could only enhance or add much-needed depth to anti-racist educational research. A Self-Serving Problem I see this pattern as a self-serving inconsistency in this literature. Canadian multiculturalism is so intricate that I understand why these researchers would not want to address its many different levels of interpretation. It would be much easier for anti-racist researchers to refer to a simplistic image of multiculturalism, especially since their intention is to critique it and hold up anti-racism as a better alternative. Still, without grounding their ideas in a good understanding of Canadian multiculturalism, without addressing it at the level of complexity which it deserves, this literature fails to present anti-racism to me in a way that I can understand and subsequently evaluate for its relevance to my own concerns. By not effectively addressing the Canadian context, this literature only weakens the very ideas it wishes to offer as an alternative. 53 CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION Summary This study was prompted by my suspicion that Canadian literature devoted to anti-racist education refers to anti-racism as if it consists of a generic set of theories^  failing to address the Canadian context. I began my analysis of that literature by asking, (a) in what ways does the Canadian literature engage with the Canadian context? and (b) in what ways should it engage with the Canadian context? What I found, in that analysis, was that the Canadian literature is much more complex than I originally suspected. First, there seems to be at least two very different ways of conceptualizing anti-racism in Canada. The first has added anti-racism to the wide mix of theories which already exists under the umbrella of multiculturalism. The other conceptualizes anti-racism and multiculturalism has having very different—even oppositional—beliefs, aims and strategies. I chose to focus on that second conception. Even the second conception, as I realized upon deeper analysis, can be further divided in terms of how its proponents conceptualize the significance of the conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism. One perspective portrays anti-racism's oppositional qualities as its strength, noting that to work within the framework of multiculturalism would mean losing some of that strength. The second perspective puts some thought into coming up with strategies for using some of the strengths of anti-racism to alter the path of multiculturalism, working within the current system, in a sense. 54^ I found those different strategies interesting in themselves, but what I found even more interesting was the fact,that each of those sub-categories neglected to take me to the next level. After reading this literature, I was not sure what I could be expected to do with the ideas that anti-racist educational theory proposes. What sort of position does a purely oppositional anti-racism hold in Canadian society? What should I, a community activist and educator, do with anti-racist theory? What kind of multiculturalist framework should I be avoiding if I follow anti-racism? As a teacher, how can I make anti-racist education work in a school which follows a mandate of multiculturalism? Similarly, the second sub-category also offers me no clear plan of action. If proponents of anti-racism should compromise or negotiate with the multicultural framework which exists in Canada, what exactly should they be doing? Which components of theories of multiculturalism are acceptable? In taking a closer look at this literature's critique of multiculturalism, I found reasons for that lack of resolution and guidance. I found that this literature relies on a standard critique of multiculturalism, also found in anti-racist literature from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, without explaining how that standard critique relates to the Canadian context. Instead of substantiating the critique using illustrations from the Canadian context, this literature relies on weak argumentation. Throughout the literature, I found weak explanations, problematic references to British research, and appeals to a false sense of authority. Behind that lack of substantiation lies a lack of engagement with Canadian multiculturalism. Instead of acknowledging the complexity of Canadian multiculturalism and interacting with it in a way that addresses that complexity, this literature portrays 55 Canadian multiculturalism as if it is a representation of a generic set of multicultural theories, a monolithic and static entity. I noted that I understand the motivation for that lack of engagement with multiculturalism. Canadian multiculturalism represents such a vast and complex intertwining of ideology, policy, practice, and research that to engage with it in a complex way would mean doing a great deal of intricate and systematic research. I believe that Canadian anti-racist research would benefit greatly from that sort of engagement. Returning to my original questions regarding Canadian anti-racism, I believe that Canadian anti-racist literature should build up an understanding of what anti-racist theory means in the Canadian context. I believe that I have demonstrated both that Canadian anti-racism is itself quite complex and that the Canadian context, as regards multiculturalism in particular, is complex enough to warrant a rethinking of the simplicity with which the title "anti-racism" is called upon. As it stands, the Canadian literature on anti-racist education is weak. By weak, I mean this literature as a whole has some important gaps which need to be filled before anti-racism can effectively make inroads into the Canadian discussion of diversity and racism. I can not even begin to evaluate anti-racism in terms of its relevance to my own concerns as a social activist and an educator if I am left unclear about how it can relate to Canadian concerns. My critique of this literature is meant to be a supportive one. In general, I have an appreciation for the ideas and strategies advocated by theories of anti-racism. In particular, I am intrigued by the idea of common-sense racism and the need to teach 56. people to challenge their everyday assumptions (see Ng 1995). Reading about interconnections between racism, sexism, and classism (Dei 1995; Ng 1995) has also provided me with a new way to think through issues of identity. The anti-racist critique of multiculturalism has also been illuminating for me in spite of its weaknesses. As I indicated earlier, I have spent much of my life as an advocate of multiculturalism. I understood multiculturalism as an umbrella under which all concerns about ethno-cultural identity, racism, diversity, and equality can be addressed. The critiques I have encountered have certainly complicated my understandings of multiculturalism, diversity, and racism. The framework within which those understandings exist has evolved as a direct result of my contact with theories of anti-racism. Rather than critiquing multiculturalism and leading me to an alternative vision, though, I feel that the Canadian literature has left me hanging without new guidelines. I've been given a small taste of the problems associated with Canadian multiculturalism, but I do not yet see an alternative in anti-racism. Though I see value in many of the ideas coming out of anti-racist theory, I believe that the body of Canadian literature addressing those theories is incomplete. I hope that I have clearly demonstrated the location of some of those gaps so that they can begin to be filled. Recommendations First and foremost, Canadian literature on anti-racism needs to acknowledge and address the complexity of Canadian multiculturalism. Without addressing that complexity, the theories of anti-racism and the critique of multiculturalism are just not 57 solid enough. Without a detailed understanding of the workings of Canadian multiculturalism, how can any effective alternatives or amendments be developed? Without substantiating a critique on the basis of real, context-based studies and observations, how can people like me, interested in issues of diversity and social justice, truly understand or evaluate how we might be able to apply anti-racist theory in our own lives? If there are problems with multiculturalism as it exists in Canada, there are many specific research projects which could help to pinpoint weaknesses. One project could set out to systematically follow the impact and influence of federal multicultural policy on provincial and municipal policies, school mandates, and educators' perceptions and teaching strategies. Another could look into the meaning of a "culturalist theoretical framework" (Hesch 1995), mapping its Canadian manifestations, explaining how it is ineffective and describing its negative effects. , It also needs to be acknowledged that the anti-racist literature in Canada is complex. How can thorough research be done; how can anti-racism be effectively discussed and debated, supported or rejected, if anti-racist researchers do not acknowledge the existence of alternative visions of anti-racism? The fragmentation that exists within Canadian anti-racism needs to be examined more closely. Why is it that three different visions have emerged within a relatively short span of time? James (1995) and Solomon and Levine-Rasky (1996a,b) have written about teacher misperceptions of anti-racism, noting concerns about the effect of official political visions of multiculturalism and their effects on teachers' understandings of anti-racism. Might there be other explanations for that phenomenon? Further research could look into the 58 relationship between that theoretical fragmentation and the regional fragmentation that exists within Canada as a whole. I would also like to see a study that not only critiques teachers' perceptions but probes them for their value to the theoretical discussion. How do teachers decide how to interpret anti-racism and multiculturalism? Is there any validity to their interpretation? Where do teachers learn their understandings of these sets of theories? I believe that the connection between Canadian and British anti-racism should also be explored more thoroughly. In some cases, that connection is explicitly acknowledged. Thomas (1984, 20), for example, notes that The term 'anti-racist education' has developed through the work of community organizations and activists, particularly those in Britain and the United States, and over the past few years it has been making tentative, halting inroads into discussions of racism in Canada. Tator and Henry (1991, 144) also note that "The most recent trend in [Canadian] education is to move away from a multicultural approach and to embrace the model of anti-racist education popular in England and the United States". Others have acknowledged a connection simply by citing British anti-racist scholars (Stanley and Roman 1997; Solomon and Levine-Rasky 1996a,b; Srivastava 1996; Rezai-Rashti 1995; Hesch 1995). Also, as I pointed out earlier, there are scholars from around the world who perceive anti-racism as originating in Britain. Either way, I see enough of a connection to warrant some historical research into that relationship. I would also like to see a real debate emerge in terms of the idea of conflict between anti-racism and multiculturalism. I have noted previously that the British literature deals with that debate openly; the idea that anti-racism is inherently 59 oppositional—that it must remain radical and separate from multiculturalist approaches—is clearly expressed, and scholars who oppose that position provide clear reasons for which they receive feedback. Despite the obvious existence of at least two points of view regarding that relationship, in Canada, I have found acknowledgement of those different views—let alone any sort of constructive debate—lacking (aside from Mansfield and Kehoe 1994). The Canadian literature persists in referring to "anti-racism" as if it represents a generic set of theories. Finally, I see a need for research looking into the practical significance of anti-racism and anti-racist education in Canada. As I have noted, the anti-racist literature that I examined stops short of explaining how anti-racism should be conceptualized and developed in the Canadian context. The researchers who envision "irreconcilable conflict" between anti-racism and multiculturalism fail to illustrate what that relationship, or lack thereof, looks like in the everyday. Further research could try to piece together a more practical vision of that relationship. The researchers who envision "inevitable compromise" also fail to offer suggestions as to how that compromise might take place. I believe it would be extremely valuable to develop a research project looking into the ways compromise is already occurring—at a policy level, on committees, or at a practical level—as well as envisioning, through interviews with theorists and/or practitioners, realistic and practical strategies for compromise. Conclusion In an article discussing the complexity of the field of multicultural education, Sleeter (1989, 54) notes that 60 ... diversity across national borders must be recognized. While there is considerable dialogue among advocates in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia, the histories of race relations in these countries are sufficiently different that debates in one country cannot simply be transplanted to another country. Understanding the extent to which theories such as anti-racism conform to or transcend local concerns when they cross national borders is essential if those concerned about social issues intend to strive for clear dialogue and debate, unobstructed by inaccurate assumptions and misunderstandings. I do not mean to suggest that Canadian anti-racist research should focus inwards, remaining "insular and provincial in outlook" (Bonnett and Carrington 1996, 271); transnational dialogue regarding common social concerns has become an important factor in the development of solutions to those concerns (Bonnett and Carrington 1996; Crossley and Broadfoot 1992). That dialogue could be even more useful, however, if it were to take into account national context, consciously comparing perspectives and ideas instead of treating them as generic. As Bonnett and Carrington (1996, 284) argue, international comparative research should not seek to identify and categorise discrete national formations but, rather, enable the plurality and divergent paths within and international influences upon particular anti-racist debates to come fully into view. I would like to suggest that by focusing on what is meant by anti-racism in Canada, those divergent paths and international influences can be made more visible, providing those working in the area of diversity and social justice with a more detailed picture of their options and enabling them to more effectively look for solutions. 61 REFERENCE LIST OF MATERIALS ANALYZED Dei, George J. Sefa Dei. 1996. Critical perspectives in antiracism: an introduction. 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