Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stewart Steinhauer, "A post-colonial theory of race," Straight Goods, June 13, 2006.

Our history is the history of western Europe's colonization of Turtle Island, and racism is the joining together of structural power with the notion of race.

I find it impossible to imagine folks coming up to nechwamps and saying, "You're looking nice and black", the way that they come up to me and say, "You're looking nice and brown." When nechwamps started working on his Master's thesis, folks at the University of Alberta would ask him what his topic was, and he would reply, "racism". They would look at him with skepticism and ask why he had picked that topic, because there was no racism in Canada....

...This theory of race was developed as a necessary tool of colonialism, needed by western European intellectuals to explain to themselves why they were the naturally superior "race" of human beings on the planet, and the corollary of this notion, that all the "other" races were developmentally backwards, obviously dependent populations in need of a helping hand up....

Within the Turtle Island context, racism is more accurately called "white privilege". The phenomenon of white privilege is one of the fingers on that invisible hand of the market that so miraculously accomplishes the task of allocation, turning "individual greed" into "the common good".

...Euro-ancestry Canadians are ready to admit that racism exists, but, like the war industry, and imperialism in general, most Canadians think that racism is a phenomenon that is found in other countries.

Stewart Steinhauer is an internationally-known stone sculptor who lives on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, where he was born and raised. He enjoyed success as a market gardener, a furniture builder and a house builder, before he turned to sculpting. He is the author of Voice from the Coffin, about life on the Rez. Visit his website at this Post

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