On Himani Bannerji’s “On the Dark Side of the Nation: Politics of Multiculturalism and the State of ‘Canada.'”

In order to adequately do justice to the complexity of Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s “Skim,” I’ve been researching melancholia and race, and have been doing a lot of reading in the field of Asian American Studies. I’m pretty new to that field, and am learning the edges and limits of it as I go. Also, my research has led to some pretty moderate frustration at the difficulty I’ve experienced in finding material that attends to the specific history and ideologies of the Canadian context through the lens of AAS. I’m sure the material exists, I’ve just been having trouble finding it (and, hey, while we’re here, if you have any reading suggests I’d love to hear them!). Anyway, this is my progress so far: a friend recommended that I check out Lily Cho’s work, and also I remembered that I own this book, which has a whole section on “race, difference, and multiculturalism.”
Himani Bannerji’s work is compelling, accessible, and hardline. Bannerji suggests that the official policy of multiculturalism taken up in Canadian politics and ideologies operates as a mask that papers over that difference is unevenly distributed along the lines of race such that it is comeasurate in effect to the colonial histories on which Canada as a nation and state is founded. For Bannerji, difference is so stark that it takes the shape of an “unofficial apartheid” that separates out Anglo and Francophone Canada from visible minorities, with ‘visible minorities’ marked off for ‘special’ (read: poor) treatment on an official level. The solution put forth by the article is to work within the structure of multiculturalism (to abandon it as a structuring tool would be to favour the far right), but to resist state sanctioned interpellation, or to resist being known in the way the state seeks to know you.

On Himani Bannerji’s “On the Dark Side of the Nation: Politics of Multiculturalism and the State of ‘Canada.'”

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