Canadian diplomats receiving anti-racist training courses are now using materials that draw on a Marxist-based social theory, teaching them that “objectivity,” “sense of urgency,” and “paternalism” are all characteristics of “white supremacy.”
Through an access to information request, the Toronto Sun acquired Global Affairs’ anti-racism training materials, which is part of Canada’s latest anti-racism initiative. Yet, unlike the federal training against discrimination a few years back, which focused on the elimination of racial barriers for all Canadians, these latest materials draw on critical race theory (CRT), which divides people into “oppressors” and the “oppressed” according to their races.
The critical race theory is a social science theory rooted in Marxist philosophy and was first promoted by civil rights scholars in the United States during the 1970s.
One of the emphasis of the CRT is that racism is ultimately a structural problem—rooted in complex historical, cultural, and institutional backgrounds—that “routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of colour,” according to the course materials.
Under the document’s “Myths and Facts” section, one heading calls it a myth that BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and other people of colour) can also be racists toward white people, claiming that stereotypes about white people should not be considered as “racism,” but only as “racial prejudice.”
“Racial prejudice can indeed be directed at white people … but is not considered racism because of the systemic relationship to power. When backed with power, prejudice results in acts of discrimination and oppression against groups or individuals,” the training materials state.
“In Canada, white people hold this cultural power due to Eurocentric modes of thinking, rooted in colonialism, that continue to reproduce and privilege whiteness. It is whiteness that has the power to define the terms of racialized others’ existence.”
The course materials state that while most people associate the term “white supremacy” with radical groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, it is in fact an “ever present” social force that gives white people disproportionate advantages even without our intentions.
An example of this racial advantage given in the course materials is the law schools across Canada, which have “typically held homogenized class cohorts of white middle/upper class white men.” The training materials thus consider meritocracy—the idea that the power and privilege allocated to individuals are determined by their merits, rather than race—to be a “myth.”
One chart in the materials offer examples of “white supremacy culture” characteristics such as principles of “objectivity,” “paternalism,” “either/or thinking,” and “right to comfort.” These examples were based on the contents of Dismantling Racism, a book based on CRT.
The course materials state that since racism is a structural problem, it cannot be remedied through education. As a resolution, individuals are encouraged to become anti-racist through efforts that include yielding “positions of power to those otherwise marginalized.” One photo included in the course materials reads, “If you aren’t an antiracist, you are complicit.”
The goal of the Global Affairs anti-racism training is to move toward racial equity and racial justice. It is a point that ideas and actions such as “Thanksgiving,” “colour-blindness,” and “Not believ[ing] the experiences of BIPOC” are considered a form of “covert white supremacy.”