Colour Coded A Legal History of Racism in Canada Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History Creat Constance Backhouse are Book Constance Backhouse Is a we
Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 (Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History) Creat Constance Backhouse are Book Constance Backhouse Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the
Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 (Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History) book, this is one of the most wanted Constance Backhouse author readers around the world.
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Historically Canadians have considered themselves to be or less free of racial prejudice Although this conception has been challenged in recent years, it has not been completely dispelled In Colour Coded, Constance Backhouse illustrates the tenacious hold that white supremacy had on our legal system in the first half of this century, and underscores the damaging legHistorically Canadians have considered themselves to be or less free of racial prejudice Although this conception has been challenged in recent years, it has not been completely dispelled In Colour Coded, Constance Backhouse illustrates the tenacious hold that white supremacy had on our legal system in the first half of this century, and underscores the damaging legacy of inequality that continues today.Backhouse presents detailed narratives of six court cases, each giving evidence of blatant racism created and enforced through law The cases focus on Aboriginal, Inuit, Chinese Canadian, and African Canadian individuals, taking us from the criminal prosecution of traditional Aboriginal dance to the trial of members of the Ku Klux Klan of Kanada From thousands of possibilities, Backhouse has selected studies that constitute central moments in the legal history of race in Canada Her selection also considers a wide range of legal forums, including administrative rulings by municipal councils, criminal trials before police magistrates, and criminal and civil cases heard by the highest courts in the provinces and by the Supreme Court of Canada.The extensive and detailed documentation presented here leaves no doubt that the Canadian legal system played a dominant role in creating and preserving racial discrimination A central message of this book is that racism is deeply embedded in Canadian history despite Canada s reputation as a raceless society.Winner of the Joseph Brant Award, presented by the Ontario Historical Society. A viral Books Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 (Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History) From the back cover:"Historically Canadians have considered themselves to be more or less free of racial prejudice. Although this perception has been challenged in recent years, it has not been completely dispelled. In Colour-Coded, Constance Backhouse illustrated the tenacious hold that white supremacy has on our legal system int he first half of this century, and underscores the damaging legacy of inequality that continues today.Backhouse presents detailed narratives of six court cases, each giving evidence of blatant racism created and enforced through law. The cases focus on Aboriginal, Inuit, Chinese-Canadian, and African-Canada individuals, taking us from the criminal prosecution of traditional Aboriginal dance to the trial of members of the 'Ku Klux Klan of Kanada'. From thousands of possibilities, Backhouse has selected studies that constitute central moments in the legal history of racism in Canada. Her selection also considers a wide range of legal forums, including administrative rulings by municipal councils, criminal trials before police magistrates, and criminal and civil cases heard by the highest courts in the provinces and by the Supreme Court of Canada.The extensive and detailed documentation presented here leaves no doubt that the Canadian legal system played a dominant role in creating and preserving racial discrimination. A central message of this book is that racism is deeply embedded in Canadian history despite Canada’s reputation as a raceless society." From the forward:"In Color-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950, she maintains the same high standards as she continues to break new historiographical ground. Shifting her interest from gender to race, and maintaining her case-study approach, her mission in Colour-Coded is to capture the role played by the law in sharing the definition of race and shoring up racial repression and stereotypes. Professor Backhouse weaves a spell-binding storyline in her depiction of a series of court cases that focus on Aboriginal, Inuit, Chinese-Canadian, and African-Canadian individuals. From the criminal prosecution of traditional Aboriginal dance, to the trial of members of the 'Ku Klux Klan of Kanada,' Backhouse demonstrates the deep and abiding legacy of racism that suffused Canadian legal structures and society."From the introduction:"One of the shortcomings of Petticoats & Prejudice is its failure to interrogate fully how gender relates to race in historical terms. In an effort to prevent this from happening again, I commenced my research by attempting to compile and analyse all the racialized cases and statues in Canada that arose between 1900 and 1950. Almost immediately it became abundantly clear that 'race’'is a complex and variable historical construct. The recognition that racism is perpetuated through institutionalized and systemic practices thar then through the indosyncratic behaviours of isolated individuals is fundamental to the accurate assessment of Canadian racial history.”Don't let the size of this book put you off it's you're looking for a more relaxed read. While it's true it's 485 pages, only 281 of them are the core text. The next 200 pages are Backhouse's extensive notes, bibliography, and index. She also created and put on the internet a supplementary text. From here you can read the 490 pages of detailed notes that she was, I assume, persuaded to cut from the full text.Backhouse examines six legal cases from the first half of the twentieth century that emphasize the racialized nature of the Canadian legal system, despite attempts to make race invisible within the legal system. (Backhouse calls this a "raceless" system - scare quotes intentional.) As in her previous work on 19th century legal cases, Backhouse’s goal is to show how a mostly-white all male judicial system and entirely white parliamentary system could claim to be "raceless" while at the same time making decisions about people based on race. As with the women Backhouse talked about in Petticoats & Prejudice, a marginalized group is having decisions made for them by people who are not part of that group.In this work, however, there is much more emphasis on the agency of racialized people in the majority of the law cases examined. In every case save the first one (a Supreme Court decision about who counted as "Indian" under the Indian Act), racialized people fought against the legal system’s racial bias, finding white lawyers to act as their representatives in court. While they lost in the majority of cases, there were instances where fighting back within the court system was effective in alleviating some aspects of racial discrimination.As with P&P, the work is a series of case studies, with background legal information to make the landscape clear. In addition, Backhouse makes clear (implicitly, and then explicitly in the penultimate chapter) that class background was an important aspect of challenging the legal system. All of the men and women who bring suits are able to afford a lawyer, and are described by members of their communities as being 'respectable' and worthy citizens. Without their respectability, it is likely that the protagonists of Backhouse’s case studies would not have thought to use the legal system to their advantage.In Re Indians, Backhouse examines the argument between the Quebec government and the Federal government about whether Eskimos were considered Indians or a separate race in order to determine which section of the BNA Act their financial care would fall under. As is made clear, racial definitions were both ever-shifting and difficult to make, with experts disagreeing throughout the 19th and 20th century about what race was. [See "Mismeasure of Man" for further discussion of this.] She also shows who was considered an expert and who was not - on this important question, not a single Indian or Eskimo was asked their opinions on the matter. Ultimately, Eskimos were declared Indian by the judges of the Supreme Court, thus leaving their financial needs under the purview of the Federal government.In the second case, in which an Aboriginal man (Wanduta) was charged with participating in an illegal grass dance, Backhouse shows how prominent white men who had also broken the laws about grass dances were unafraid, knowing that the laws would not touch them. She also effectively shows how different members of the same First Nation could have different views on white society, on tradition, and on the interference of the white government without making either "side" out to be the villain or hero. In this case, Wanduta spent several months in jail, while the Department of Indian Affairs declined to even examine the case until only a few weeks before his scheduled jail time was complete, much to the disgust of his white legal team.In the third case, Sero v Gault Backhouse shows the history of First Nations landclaims, demonstrating again both how people could stand up and fight for their rights and yet not be fully supported by their communities in doing so. This case ultimately rested on the question of whether or not the judiciary agreed that the Six Nations were subjects of the British Crown, or their own independent Nation. The judiciary decided they were subjects, despite centuries of treaties that indicated otherwise.Backhouse also examines Saskatchewan's White Women’s Labour Law, the only law that explicitly used race as a determining factor - the alleged concerns about women’s protection were explicitly about white women (without a definition of what a “white” woman was), with no equal concern about the working lives of racialized women. This is the first case Backhouse discusses in which the participants named racism as part of the issue under discussion, and in which the judges involved in the case agreed with this assessment. While Yee Clun was able to argue in court that he should be allowed to open a business with a license to employ white women, the Saskatchewan legislature later changed the law to prevent this and allow Regina to overturn Yee Clun's license if they so chose. Another case looked at the KKK in Canada (and includes a short history of KKK’s activities), and again addressed the complicated question of how we determine a person's race - were the victims of the KKK’s behaviour in this case “Black” or were they, as they claimed, “Indian”? Ultimately the answer to this question did not matter to the court, for the victim of the crime was determined to be the white woman who the KKK had menaced in order to prevent her marriage to a non-white man. While the court ultimately upheld that the KKK had behaved illegally, it was because they had worn masks, not because they were threatening people over interracial marriage. (Of note here is the extended discussion about the ridiculing of the KKK by those opposed and whether or not this is an effective deterrent to hate groups. Backhouse falls firmly on the side of "no".)The final case is about Viola Desmond being removed from a theatre in New Glasgow, NS, after requesting a downstairs ticket and being refused. She was charged and convicted of tax-fraud, and ultimately appealed. This is the section that unpacks the issue of class as well as race, discussing how, as a middle-class Black woman in Nova Scotia, Desmond would have expected a certain type of treatment that she did not receive. This in turn led to her to consider a legal case about her mistreatment, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. Part of Backhouse's goal is to make clear that while we can dither back and forth about whether or not "race" is actually a thing and what that thing is defined by, racism is a very real force in Canadian history. She explains the reasons that she chose the various cases because of their importance in highlighting the legal landscape, both in whose voices were heard and whose were believed. The research that supports the narratives proves that the Canadian legal system played a principal and dominant role in creating and preserving racial discrimination.Backhouse explores the complexities of even defining race. In each case she shows how various definitions were used to determine whether or not someone was, for example, "Indian" for the the purposes of various laws being enforced, such as the paying out of dividends or the purchase of alcohol. "The multiplicity of legislative formulae, consistent between governments and over time, is reflective of the difficulties. What is remarkable is the readiness of authorities to use the law to draw racial boundaries to concretize distinction and to create a hierarchy of racial designation... The ambiguity and instability of race becomes undeniably apparent when one traces its path through history." She also makes clear that she rejects the idea that we cannot talk about racism and racial discrimination in the past because "that's just how people were back then." Backhouse shows how people from all races, including white people, resisted racism and were able to call out certain races of people were systemically discriminated against because of their race. She makes clear in each of her cases as well that we can't just assign one reaction to white supremacy to entire groups or non-white races. In each of the cases she shows how parts of the community supported the protagonist while other parts didn't, and while Backhouse does appear to support her protagonists, she does this without demonizing the people who disagreed.As with Petticoats & Prejudice, this is a very readable book. I finished it off in about 6 hours of straight reading, and was disappointed when I got to the end. Backhouse has a very engaging writing style, and although you get a lot of information out of her books, it almost doesn't feel that way because of what a good storyteller she is. I also appreciate that it's a very geographical diverse book: while the cases focused on come from particular areas, the background information and further discussion encompasses the majority of Canada, including Nunavut. (I don't remember any mention of Newfoundland and the other Territories, though.)