Race Talk in a Multicultural Canada: Canadian Children and the Racial Socialization Process

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There is a substantial amount of sociological scholarship on racial socialization, which scholars argue creates racial distinctions and differentiation, in the American context (Myers, 2005; Pollock, 2004). However, there are limited studies addressing racial socialization or “race talk” in the Canadian context. “Race talk” or the way people talk about race and racism not only reinforces racial hierarchies, but also ensures the persistence of racism (Meyers, 2005). This body of literature shows that understanding the different racialized ideas that white and racialized children are growing up with inevitably shapes race relations between children and subsequently adults. Even less scholarly work is to be found in Canada on related topics and how multiculturalism as a policy may be shaping people’s views of race in Canada, especially pertaining to colorblind ideologies (Bonilla Silva, 2018). Given the current watershed historical moment in race relations in Canada, owing to heightened public discourse on racial injustices over the last year this research explores how families are engaging in racial socialization and the type of content that children are internalizing into their own racial consciousness. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 23 parents and 14 children in Alberta, this analysis demonstrates some key themes in the racial socialization that Canadian children are receiving from their families. These findings demonstrate the striking differences in the ways that white and racialized families teach their kids about inequality in a multicultural Canada. Using these findings this study also makes several suggestions for families in how to challenge existing structures of inequality and work towards an anti-racist future.
family, race, socialization, children, multiculturalism
Jong, M. (2021). Race talk in a multicultural Canada: Canadian children and the racial socialization process (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.