Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press

Article excerpt

Frances Henry and Carol Tator, Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 291pp. Paper. £15. ISBN 0-8020-8457-5.

Studies of racism in the media are all too rare, so it is cause for celebration when one appears. Discourses of Domination is, I am disappointed to report, a mixed blessing.

Intended to establish 'a social context' and provide a 'theoretical framework' and 'comprehensive' review of Canadian literature on racism in print media, Part i fails on all counts. It establishes a context of sorts, but does not take us anywhere new and is sometimes embarrassingly backward-looking - for example, in the simplistic declaration: 'Many people resist antiracism and equity initiatives because they are unwilling to question their own belief and value systems' (p. 37).

It is a shock to discover that a (nearly 300-page) study of 'discourses of domination' contains only a single paragraph devoted to questions of gender - set off with the heading, 'Role of Gender', as if it were a fully developed subchapter (p. 66).

The claim to a comprehensive literature review is not justified. Much of the important literature of the past decade is missing. There is only a passing reference (p. 204) to the media/communication studies and reports of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People; the media studies of the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing receive no mention at all. The tv Ontario video, Out of Sync: Racial Bias and the Media is absent, as are numerous major journalistic and academic works. There are no references, either, to important ethnic minority and First Nations presses such as Gary Farmer's magazine, Aboriginal Voices. …

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