( part 1 of a poem )( part 2 of an unrelated poem )( Bits from this week's reading on the politics of resistance and marginality )
Moreover, while Canada may have come to oppose slavery, it did not do so in an antiracist context. Escaped slaves were welcomed into Canada not just for benevolence's sake but as cheap labor. After slaves were emancipated in the United States, Canadians encouraged blacks to relocate there. And after emancipation many blacks voluntarily left Canada for the United States, not only to return to kin but also to flee Canadian racism.
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By extension, blacks outside of the United States are often on some level in contention with black America, whether they wish it or not. As many have observed, black subjects globally are affected by African American poiltical and civil rights struggles, as well as by other widely circulating African American discursive technologies and cultural forms, such as literature, scholarship, music, dance, fashion, and so on. This is especially the case in nearby Canada even though Canada is almost always overlooked within the writings that make this type of argument.( Read more... )
Blackness is seen as American, while Canada's foremost national bond, according to countless polls, is a collective sense of self as un
-American. When the most notorious "invisible empire," the Ku Klux Klan, was established in Canada in the 1920s, anti-Americanness was part of its platform.
And yet, this same multiculturalism fosters perceptions of blacks as having non-Canadian origins, a form of displacement, alienation, and expatriation (or repatriation) from the imagined community that is Canada. In the United States this type of association is uncommon for blacks and more common for, say, Asian Americans, who are often treated as recent immigrants, for instance, being complimented on their English, even if their Americanness extends back many generations.
It is the same logic that has prompted some to note that blackness, unqualified, is often coded as American. The anthropologist Michel Rolph Trouillot, for instance, conjectures that "the U.S. monopoly on both blackness and racism [is] itself a racist plot" (1995: 71). The politics of place, the issue of geopolitics, is every bit as consequential an aspect of identity as race, class, gender, and sexuality.( A conclusion of sorts )