Structural Racism in Canadian Universities: Moving Beyond Tokenism.

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  • The concept of racism is often conceptualized or perceived as overt discriminatory actions against racialized minority groups. There is, however, a subtle and pervasive form of racism: Structural Racism. In this paper, structural racism and systemic racism will be used simultaneously to describe a form of racism that is profoundly entrenched in institutions’ systems, written or unwritten policies, beliefs, and practices. Structural racism produces,
    reproduces, and normalizes unfair treatment and oppression of racialized minority groups. Despite the mass promotion of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives in Canadian universities, many researchers are of the view that these initiatives are shallow implementations that fail to address structural racism. It is on this premise that this scholarly literature review seeks to provide a lens through which structural racism can be identified and explore practical measures that can be taken to address this issue. The conceptual foundations were informed by Critical Race Theory (CRT). I begin by providing a historical background of colonialism to aid in the understanding of structural racism, then highlight areas in practice that reflect the existence of this issue. Following this I explore the attitudes of university administrators towards structural racism and evaluate strategies that can be employed to move beyond a tokenized approach to addressing this form of racism. The findings will serve to heighten the awareness of the existence of structural racism, expose discrepancies between policies and practice, and provide possible pathways that can be adopted by administrators for genuine institutional change.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International