Whiteness & Racism

Volume 52, Issue 1: Spring 2018


Few topics are as fraught as whiteness these days, at least for white people. No sooner do they step up and name their white privilege than they are criticized for neglecting to use it to the advantage of others. When they show up to express solidarity for anti-racism, they are told that their support is unnecessary. When they accept their ignorance of racism, they are upbraided for the willfulness of that ignorance. What’s a white person to do?

At one end of the spectrum there is the awkward whiteness expressed by white liberals who genuinely want to fight against racism. At the other end is the brutal white supremacy and white separatism of reactionary groups whose notoriety has reached new heights since the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

We need to look at the larger struggle against the forces that divide us into races but not from positions that affirm those divisions. There is everything to gain from standing together, even if strategically and temporarily, to fight the uneven effects of austerity measures, the growing gaps between rich and poor, the dismantling of the welfare state, the countless affronts to democracies, the rise of proto-fascism and white nationalism and racism on the local and global scales.

In this issue of CD, our focus section delves into the analytical concepts of whiteness, intersectionality and racism. Leading off is Queen’s University professor Cynthia Levine-Rasky, who offers a guide to working through white supremacy, guilt, privilege, fear, allyship, power, and the possibility of having it all wrong; and why it may not matter. Elsewhere, Samir Gandesha, director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University, unpacks Liberal identity politics, asking a vital question: Does ‘anti-racism’ contribute to racism? Don’t miss this vital collection of essays and perspectives from leading Canadian thinkers.

Canadian Dimension was heavily involved in the campaign to defeat the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement back in the 1980s. It was the last great pan-Canadian grassroots movement this country has seen. Tragically, the opposition movement necessary to promote alternatives to NAFTA never again came together. But we are starting the conversation in this issue of Dimension.

Also inside: the CD coordinating committee’s take on the NDP convention and Jagmeet Singh, a clarification on where we stand on Syria, André Frappier with a critical take on pension reform and Bill C-27, unpacking the trouble with investor-state dispute systems, James Hutt on why Canada’s overdose epidemic is getting worse, and a deep-dive on Canadian energy economics. Plus, new book and film reviews, and a must-read remembrance of legendary Canadian socialist Jim Laxer, who tragically left us this year.

Have a good read.

Table of Contents


Alternatives to NAFTA

  • Trump, NAFTA and Canada’s Choice
  • Trumping NAFTA: ‘free trade’ versus democratic planning
  • Goldilocks and the search for global trade balance
  • Towards a new Canadian trade strategy
  • The fix is in on investor-state dispute systems

Whiteness & Racism

  • Whiteness is ... or isn’t it?
  • Does ‘anti-racism’ contribute to racism?
  • Who is your oppressor?

Other Features

All That’s Left

  • CBC’s Keep Calm and Decolonize offers provocation and meaning
  • The unforgetting of black Canadian baseball
  • The North End Revisited: Photographs by John Paskievich
  • Examining the American nightmare
  • Trees and teargas: worldviews clash at Barriere Lake
  • Jim Laxer — 1941-2018
  • Media are complicit in the sexual exploitation of women

More Issues