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Challenging Racism in the Arts: Case Studies of Controversy by Carol Tator

By Carol Tator

In this considerate and lucid research, framed by means of their competition that 'cultural creation is one approach during which society supplies voice to racism,' Carol Tator, Frances Henry, and Winston Matthis study how six arguable Canadian cultural occasions have given upward thrust to a brand new 'radical' or 'critical' multiculturalism.

Mainstream tradition has more and more develop into the locus for problem by way of racial minorities. starting with the Royal Ontario Museum's Into the center of Africa exhibition, and following via with discussions of convey Boat, leave out Saigon, the exhibition of the Barnes assortment on the paintings Gallery of Ontario, the 'Writing through Race' convention in Vancouver, and the ill-fated makes an attempt to obtain a licence for a black/dance radio station in Toronto, the authors research manifestations of racism in Canada's cultural construction over the past decade. A 'radical' multiculturalism, they argue, is distinction as a politicized strength, and arises each time cultural imperialism is challenged.

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Extra resources for Challenging Racism in the Arts: Case Studies of Controversy and Conflict

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Before the reception she met with Hari Lalla, curriculum adviser for race relations and multiculturalism at the Toronto board, to express her concern about the brochure, which she felt contained stereotypical language. As students and teachers were to be invited to view the exhibition, she felt strongly that the board should respond to what she regarded as the 'alarming nature of the brochure/ This same concern would later be expressed by members of the African-Canadian community. The language in the brochure called attention to the glories of the Imperial Age, and to the heroism of Dr David Livingstone, the missionary explorer who has been romanticized throughout history (though he was viewed in a very different light by Africans).

Another significant feature of a cultural studies approach is its opposition to the moral agenda of the 'New Right/ The New Right fears the new and different values brought in by people of 'different' (thus 'inferior') cultures, and places enormous importance on the need to maintain a traditional, monoculturally based society. A homogeneous image of the national culture is celebrated and enforced to counter the alleged dangers of the increasingly global economy. The promotion of a monocultural society with its emphasis on family values, hard work, and traditional gender roles, requires a devaluation not just of other nations and their cultural identities but of the enemies within - those who are 'other' racially, sexually, ethnically, and so on.

And how does a racial discourse promote the interests of those in positions of privilege who define it? A repertoire of words, images, and practices by which meanings are circulated and power applied. Examples: Exclusionary employment and promotion practices, and media representations of people of colour. Discourse functions to make sense of the social reality of lived experience. Specific conditions are made sense of within the social relations that structure them. To make sense of the world is to exert power over it, and to circulate that sense socially is to exert power over those who employ that sense in coping with daily life.

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