“Canada” — The Name of a Hate Crime

I have often thought that “Canada” is probably best understood as a euphemism for hate crime, a code word for invasion, a federal fantasy born of imperialism, built on internal colonialism. It’s the kind of case study that could be used for validating the notion of “invented tradition,” as it was created in part by a Marxist historian (Eric Hobsbawm) whose target was the nation-state and its ruling elites (and yet somehow, out of some questionable logic, in anthropology the target of the “invented tradition” approach has mostly been indigenous peoples and non-state actors).

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports today in “Race the top motivator for hate crimes in Canada,” that race and ethnicity still account for the overwhelming majority of hate crimes in Canada. This conclusion is based on a survey of police forces covering 87% of the population. In 2006, 892 hate crimes where reported by police, and about 60% of those were linked to race or ethnicity. One can assume that this figure excludes the hate crimes which police themselves engage in, on a more routine basis than most Canadians would be comfortable recognizing. Almost half of the 502 hate crimes that police relate to “race,” involved “blacks”. The vast majority of “blacks” in Canada are in fact from the Caribbean. One third of the hate crimes involved assault. The Muslim community, according to the head of the Canadian Islamic Congress, has suffered from such an onslaught of hate crimes that it has been unable to keep up with filing complaints to the police.

And, if anyone is still not swayed, visit any news story on the CBC news website itself that involves aboriginals, Muslims, or some other category of usual suspects, and read through the tons of hate messages posted underneath each story — another hate crime, this time enabled by the CBC, and reported to no one.

Finally, there has been some debate about why Canada seems to lack “iconic photographs” that express the “essence” of Canadian national identity. The leading candidate for the “iconic Canadian photo” is the one shown at the top of this post, one widely reproduced on many blogs, and features a “Canadian” soldier in a standoff against a Mohawk warrior, during the Oka intervention of 1990.