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The Politics of Race

The Politics of Race: Canada, the United States, and Australia

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    The Politics of Race
    Book Description:

    As race and politics become increasingly intertwined in both academic and popular discourse,The Politics of Raceaids readers in evaluating different approaches for promoting racial justice and transforming states.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9397-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction: The Politics of Race in Three Settler States
    (pp. 3-42)

    The purpose of this book is to explore the politics of race¹ in Canada, Australia, and the United States. All three countries were colonies created by Britain, and White descendants of British colonists have dominated them politically and economically for centuries. Accounts of their settlement usually stress the hard lives and heroic efforts of pioneers who ‘won’ the land from the ‘wilderness’ and who tamed anarchic frontiers; so claims each country’s founding myth. But they also are referred to as ‘supplanting’ societies because, far from being empty wilderness, the lands on which these countries were built had been home to...

  6. 1 Foundational Race Regimes
    (pp. 43-69)

    In English-speaking countries, political science has had little to say about race. When discussed, race is treated as a policy issue or as a problem for the courts or the police. Race relations receive more attention as a problem in Australia and the United States, where race riots occur; whereas in Canada, race tends to be seen mostly as a problem that exists somewhere else. Canadian governments enacted sanctions against South Africa, prohibiting trade, thereby pathologizingapartheid, that country’s official system of oppression, racism, and White supremacy. That is, most Canadians and probably also most Australians and Americans considered it...

  7. 2 Subsequent Race Regimes – Segregation and Whites-Only Nationalism
    (pp. 70-102)

    In chapter 1, we explored how three settler states – Australia, Canada, and the United States – dispossessed Indigenous peoples. We also showed how those states’ institutions created and administered the foundational race regimes of internal colonialism and slavery. In this chapter we explore two subsequent race regimes that those three settler states created. The first issegregation,a system of White supremacy and privilege in which non-Whites are denied access to land, employment, housing, schooling, and public facilities – things that Whites have reserved for themselves. The term ‘segregation’ means to keep the races apart; in some cases, though, as in the...

  8. 3 Immigration Policy and Multiculturalism
    (pp. 103-133)

    Until recently, Australian, Canadian, and U.S. political elites explicitly treated their countries as White men’s. But since governments in all three sought continent-wide domination, they had to import immigrants, both free and coerced, to build the nations they dominated. Other settler societies – in Latin America, for example – were more densely populated when the Europeans arrived, and more Indigenous people survived the conflicts and the diseases the Europeans brought with them. Hence the governments of these three settler societies discussed in this book faced serious labour shortages because Indigenous people were fewer to start with and had been reduced even further...

  9. 4 Federalism and Electoral Systems: Mechanisms of the Politics of Race
    (pp. 134-168)

    In the preceding chapters we examined the foundational and subsequent race regimes and the role they played in the historical evolution of White majority rule in Australia, Canada, and the United States. We also showed how the contradictory mix of egalitarian and racialist values that we characterize as democratic racism currently permeates all three countries. In this chapter we explore the political institutions that have maintained White rule – specifically,federalismand electoral systems. In federal systems, sovereignty – the power to make binding decisions for a society – is divided vertically between a central and state/provincial governments, both of which relate to...

  10. 5 The Politics of Race: Contexts and Bottom-Up Approaches to Change
    (pp. 169-193)

    In the next two chapters we explore how those privileged by racialismresistchange and how those oppressed by race regimespromotechange. Top-down approaches are state-driven; bottom-up approaches can involve political parties, interest groups, and/or social movements. Both also involve discourses that either legitimize the status quo or justify change. Some laws embodying race regimes have been rescinded – for example, the United States has abolished slavery and legal segregation; all three governments have made Indigenous people citizens; the ‘White Australia’ and comparable laws have been revoked; and all three governments have ended Asian exclusion laws. But such acts have...

  11. 6 Top-Down Approaches and Democratic Responsiveness
    (pp. 194-223)

    In this chapter we explore top-down, state-directed approaches to change. Our focus is on whether the settler democracies discussed in this book, each characterized by a large White majority (up to 75 per cent), are responsive to the demands and needs of the race minorities in their territories. We theorize that democratic responsiveness varies with the size of the group that is making claims through the electoral/legislative process; and that larger race minorities are more likely than their smaller counterparts to succeed in generating responsiveness, though a minority can magnify its clout by joining coalitions. Since there are large minorities...

  12. 7 ‘Back to the Future’: Fragmented and International Race Formations
    (pp. 224-250)

    This chapter explores the racialization of Hispanics, contemporary Asians, and those victimized by Islamophobia. Hispanics¹ were racialized over the centuries as the United States expanded its territory to dominate the continent and the hemisphere. When it became a superpower, and especially when the Cold War ended and it became the sole superpower, it was drawn into conflicts around the world, which produced Islamophobia and the creation of a new race regime governing Asian Americans. This chapter focuses mainly on the recent construction of race formations in the United States, which is a powerful opinion leader imitated by the other two...

  13. 8 Basic Concepts for Understanding the Politics of Race
    (pp. 251-276)

    In this chapter we discuss the main concepts used in the book. The definitions often differ from those in dictionaries, which are written from the perspective of those in power. In studying the politics of race, you learn there are no simple definitions, nor do ordinary dictionaries or encyclopedias help. There are specialized encyclopedias specifically about race issues, but the concepts related to the politics of race are hotly contested; also, the meanings vary in different countries and change over time as groups struggle to control what words used to describe or categorize them mean. So to understand what the...

  14. Appendix A The Facts of the Matter
    (pp. 277-290)
  15. Appendix B Resources for Further Research
    (pp. 291-292)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 293-306)
  17. References
    (pp. 307-320)
  18. Index
    (pp. 321-332)