Racialized Canadians

‘Racialized person’: Have these words ever escaped anyone’s lips within the Greater Toronto Area?

“Very few immigrants — who make up 46% of [Toronto’s] population — hold senior positions in business, politics or civil society. Racialized Torontonians — as they call themselves — are disproportionately poor, underemployed and socially isolated.”

— Carol Goar, in her Toronto Star column of July 8, 2014.

“Racialized Torontonians” as they call themselves?

Here’s a question for readers who live in Toronto: Do you know a single ordinary person — someone who is not either an activist, or enrolled in feminist film studies at Ryerson, or a “diversity consultant” hired by governments and big companies — who routinely refers to herself (or anyone) as a “racialized” person?

To be more specific, have these words ever escaped anyone’s lips within the 7,124 square kilometers of the Greater Toronto Area: “As a racialized Torontonian, I’m supporting Argentina over Germany in the World Cup final.” “As a racialized Torontonian, that shade of eye shadow really doesn’t go with my skin tone.” “As a racialized Torontonian, I’m having trouble finding a restaurant that serves authentic soul food.”

I suspect that most ordinary Torontonians would be utterly confused if Ms. Goar insisted on addressing them as a “racialized” person in a restaurant or store. They might assume she was taking some kind of ethnic census. If pressed to describe themselves through the lens of race-obsession, they might more simply respond: “If you really want to know, I’m half-black.” Or, “I’m Sephardic Jewish with a quarter Latino.” Or “I was both in The Philippines.” Or perhaps many might just avoid eye contact and say, “I’m a Canadian who lives in Toronto.”

But those answers are unacceptable to the diversity lobby. Its leaders worry that in the post-Barack, post-Oprah, post-Tiger era, we might all forget to remember just how racist everyone is. Why, even the victims of racism might lose their race-consciousness.

The “racialized” tag helps solve this problem: Because the word is derived from a verb — and, better yet, a verb whose grammatical subject, in its active form, is a putative white racist — it transforms the idea of race from a badge of identity (which minority members themselves might irresponsibly renounce) into a malignant, omnipresent psychic force whose existence cannot be denied.

In this way, the term “racialized” solves an awkward semantic problem for identity activists. Specifically: How does one continue to obsess about race while insisting that the very concept of race is a pseudo-scientific mirage made up by racists? “Racialized” comprises a sort of one-word sociological code that means, in effect: “As an enlightened person, I know that ‘race’ has no meaning — but our society is full of ignorant racializers who believe otherwise. So let’s talk about race. A lot.”

In the mid-20th century, when the civil-rights movement was still a work in progress, and Canada and the United States really were hotbeds of racism, liberals dreamed of a world where race didn’t matter — where we all would be judged according to the content of our character. But now that we’re (thankfully) living that dream — a society in which anyone can aspire to create their own billion-dollar internet start-up, or become President of the United States, or even mayor of Calgary — it is liberals, not conservatives, who are desperately seeking to preserve race as an organizing construct through semantic legerdemain (“microagression,” “institutional racism,” “check your privielege,” etc).

When I search on the word “racialized” in a leading historical database of Canadian newspapers, I find that one of the very first widely quoted instances comes from a 1992 essay by Toni Morrison: “My work requires me to think about how free I can be as an African-American woman writer in my genderized, sexualized, wholly racialized world.”

A year later, Morrison won the Nobel Prize in literature. That was more than 20 years ago.

Since then, Western societies have, to their great credit, taken further strides in removing race as a barrier to professional achievement. Indeed, one of the only barriers they have left to overcome is the effort of Toronto Star-type liberals to convince them that anyone without white skin is constantly being “racialized” by the rest of us.

They’re not. Go, Argentina.

Jonathan Kay: Stop calling people ‘racialized minorities.’ It’s silly and cynical | National Post

they are if the star says they are eh.
Stupid is as stupid does.

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