Multiculturalism remains one of the most popular topics of political, social, and cultural discussions. In her article “Why Multiculturalism Can’t End Racism”, Marlene Nourbese Philip (1993) proposes an idea that multiculturalism and racism can successfully coexist. In other words, active promotion of multicultural values cannot guarantee successful eradication of racist values and behaviors. Philip (1993) explores the past, present, and future of multiculturalism in Canada, concluding that only a collective commitment to rejecting white supremacist beliefs can end the era of racism in the country.
Philip (1993) begins with exploring the notion of multiculturalism. In Philip’s (1993) view, multiculturalism is one of the many power configurations, which bring together the two dominant cultures – French and English – while allowing them to be surrounded by lesser satellite cultures. The basic intent of multiculturalism is to equalize the power exhibited by separate cultures, with equality being the fundamental concept behind multiculturalism (Philip, 1993). Philip (1993) also writes that, because multiculturalism is designed to equalize all cultures, it says nothing of race and discrimination. Even Canada’s official policy on multiculturalism avoids using the terms “race” and color” (Philip, 1993).
The author proceeds to the analysis of the historical events that have led to the current situation. Philip (1993) is convinced that, throughout the history of Canada, its belief system always placed Europeans at the top of the cultural hierarchy, leaving African and Native people at its bottom. The writer refers to numerous examples of discrimination and racial intolerance in Canada, from the genocides against Natives to the numerous immigration acts favoring white Europeans’ interests (Philip, 1993). Philip (1993) claims that, at all times, when Europeans entered new territories, the Natives and indigenous populations they encountered were treated as a potential source of threat. Canada was no exception to this rule (Philip, 1993).
After a brief analysis of the historical trends, Philip (1993) focuses on reviewing the present-day situation. In her opinion, the word combination “white supremacy” is the best description of the existing racial realities in Canada (Philip, 1993). Due to the growing multicultural awareness, Canada manifests racial and ethnic prejudices in many different forms (Philip, 1993). Moreover, the ideology of white supremacy remains one of the building blocks of Canada as country (Philip, 1993). Philip (1993) claims that police treat Asian and African communities differently than white citizens; publishers refuse to accept manuscripts involving African characters; Black citizens face employment refusals three times more frequently than their white countrymen. All these practices waste the quality of the human capital, while the multiculturalism philosophy does not offer any answers to the questions of racism (Philip, 1993).
Philip (1993) tries to look into the future. Because multiculturalism does not help to solve the problems of racism, it will never be useful in developing a just society that can successfully eradicate racist beliefs (Philip, 1993). Simultaneously, Philip (1993) does not expect that multiculturalism will disappear. The author treats multiculturalism as a source of numerous benefits for many people in Canada (Philip, 1993). Even if it is included as part of the country’s anti-racist policy, it will hardly create an atmosphere of equality and justice in the multicultural society (Philip, 1993).
In conclusion, Philip (1993) says that, with time, Canadian society may reject its beliefs in white supremacy. However, this is possible only with a collective commitment to this task (Philip, 1993). Philip (1993) does not believe that the multiculturalism policy can do any good to those, who seek to eradicate the principles of white supremacy and racism in Canada. The fact is that equality of all races and ethnicities crosses the boundaries of multiculturalism (Philip, 1993). Unless Canadians can implement broader projects for the purpose of racial equality, multiculturalism will be nothing but a piece of theory.