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The Race Factor

Essay by   •  November 1, 2010  •  512 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,444 Views

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In a recent interview regarding the inspiration behind his new book, Foster explained his ideas regarding Canadians and their relationship with multiculturalism, "We have only a flicked-off notion of tolerance, race relations, and ethnic differences." Foster believes that "there might very well be a complacency that is arriving [in our society] that makes us think that Canada is irreversibly multicultural, and that there will always be multiculturalism." He noted that "Canadians tend to forget the history that brought about multiculturalism."

Where Race Does Not Matter examines Canada's history, looking at former leaders' attempts to create a white, Anglo-Saxon society, an early "Great White North," so to speak. While elements of our past may be shameful, by the late sixties our attitudes had changed considerably. Foster identifies Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as "the man for the moment, who recognized what was happening [in Canada]." The development of official multiculturalism, initiated by Trudeau and continued by Mulroney, worked to reinforce Canada's multicultural identity. While this may seem like a great achievement, Foster reminds us "there is still so much work to be done."

Where Race Does Not Matter wishes to expose Canadians to the truth regarding our past notions of race, while also identifying race as a manufactured concept that no longer exists. Previously, racial identities had been supported by individuals representing ethnic groups crossing every strata of society. From the South African politician Jan Smuts to the black activist Marcus Garvey, leaders had advocated race as a biological fact. Foster's novel works to dispel this notion while at the same time promoting acceptance and celebration of cultural differences. By global standards, Canada is a fairly young country, and Foster argues we have the opportunity to create for ourselves a legacy of peace and recognition of our cultural mosaic.

Foster's straightforward yet eloquent writing

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