Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Mini U Brochures: Advertising Social Exclusion at a Post-Secondary Institution, Canada?

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Mini U Brochures: Advertising Social Exclusion at a Post-Secondary Institution, Canada?

Article excerpt


Since the inception of the multiculturalism policy in 1971 (i.e., equal celebration of religious, racial/ethnic, and cultural heritages and identities), Canada's higher educational institutions have struggled to promote the racial diversity and inclusion of campus members across the country. However, tensions, intolerance, and ignorance against racialized groups are seemly still present across Canadian campuses in spite of social justice and anti-racism movements. Canadian campuses cannot escape the legacies of social injustices, racism, and whiteness like the U.S. ones (Douglas & Halas, 2013; Ross & Edwards, 2016; Tator & Henry, 2009). Both explicit and subtle forms of racism as a kind of social injustices occur in North American campuses tokenizing minority students, teachers, and staff (Baffoe, Asimeng-Boahene, & Buster, 2014; Harwood, Choi, Orozco, Browne, & Mendenhall, 2015). Racial discrimination (e.g., admission, hiring, promotion, governance, research, or curriculum against visible minorities) pervades in Canadian universities (Baffoe et al., 2014; Douglas & Halas, 2013; Henry & Tator, 2009; Tator & Henry, 2010). The everyday reality of racism has been submerged and continues to exist in invisible ways.

Several actions have been held to eliminate racism across Canadian campuses. Some Canadian universities have started to take actions against racism towards improving the fair treatment of racialized campus members by implementing social justice and anti-racism strategies (Henry & Tator, 2006; 2009; Tator & Henry, 2010). Although continuous efforts to eradicate racism and to nurture cultural diversity have been made, "more universities and colleges become places that define, stereotype, and treat people in line with their skin pigment or the origins of their ancestors" (Campbell, 2012, p. 389). It is conceivable that such numerous social inequalities and anti-racism movements represent how racism engrains in Canadian campuses and society.

Like the other aspects of Canadian campuses, the marketing materials of Mini University programs (Mini U) for diverse young customers are under severe scrutiny. Mini U has offered sport, recreation, and academic programs for young people aged between 4 and 16 years old through the University of Manitoba (UM), Canada for 39 years.

1.1Racism in Modern Society

Despite anti-racism and human right movements and transnational immigration via globalization, racism is on the rise across our communities and nations (Clark et al., 2014; Guo, 2015; Harrison, 2013; Harwood et al., 2015; Mensah & Williams, 2015; Smith, 2015). It was predicted by many people that both racism and discrimination would be left behind as an old legacy post World War 2 (Satzewich, 2010). Unlike the optimistic predictions, racism is ubiquitous and exists regardless of whether we sense it or not, and racism intersects with other social markers including gender, class, or age. Integrating justice in development studies, Abdelhameed (2016) argues that social justice includes "provision of non-discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, caste, religion, or national origins" (p. 48). Dependent on cultures and locations, the forms of racism vary in scope from ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide, sport related-, employment-, online/media-, health-, and school racism, racial slur and graffiti, and racial profiling by police (Bradbury, 2011; Mensah & Williams, 2015; Satzewich, 2010; Smith, 2015). All in all, racism matters because it survives everywhere in our current life.

The current forms of racial discrimination in modern society appear subtle and unintentional. Instead of explicit and forced racism, insidious, persuaded, and civilized modes of social control mechanisms (i.e., invisible forms of racism) (Clark et al., 2014; Douglas & Halas, 2013; Harwood et al., 2015; Ross & Edwards, 2016; Satzewich, 2010) are inevitable. …

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