Elianna Lev, Yahoo, April 24, 2021
A recently distributed version of Global Affairs’s training guide for Canadian diplomats explicitly focuses on anti-racism through a critical race theory lens. The theory believes that race is salient and is the axis on which all other things function. It’s a notably different approach compared to similar material in the past, which focused on understanding and accommodating multiculturalism.
Kathy Hogarth is a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Waterloo, with a focus on critical race, racism and equity in Canada and international contexts. She says this approach based in critical race theory is crucial in order for things to be different moving forward.
One of the myths addressed in the training material states: “Myth #1 Reverse racism exists, BIPOC can be racists towards white people.” Some critics took issue with the point that it implies if you aren’t white, then you can’t be racist.
“A lot of white people will say ‘I don’t have power so I can’t be racist,’” she explains “What we’re talking about isn’t your individual power, it’s the power associated with your grouping. In the world globally, whiteness is expressed as the power holder, the dominant. It’s that attribution to whiteness that allows us to understand racism. Within racial groupings, that power element is non-existent.”
“Neutrality isn’t an option in dismantling systems of racism,” she says. “We’re either dismantling it or building it. We’re either anti-racists or we’re supporting a racist system.”