DOING THE WORK: Race, Labour and Transformative Justice

By Karine Ng, Our Times Magazine

As Canadians, we are often invited to join in the national exercise of glorifying Canada. But we should first carefully consider that many of our preconceptions may be influenced by nationalist narratives. Without using a critical lens to understand concepts like nationhood and citizenship, or state and newcomer, those of us who are racialized settlers may unwittingly perpetuate the same oppression already meted out to us and to our forebears.

Those of us who see ourselves as beneficiaries of the settler-colonial state have the responsibility of doing the deep, hard work to decolonize. That work requires a redistribution of power and resources, with Indigenous struggles and calls to action always in the foreground. If we occupy any position of power and leadership at all, we must use our power and lead the struggle towards liberation. Being in the boardroom, though, as the token Asian or as a proxy to white power is a lonely and soul-crushing place to be. So we should instead take care to connect and organize with like-minded IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) co-conspirators.

Race-making, in part an institutionalized way of organizing people into racial and economic hierarchies, is fundamentally tied to colonialism. In light of that, how do we, the Asian diaspora, understand the colonial crumbs thrown to us in exchange for our loyalty, and our votes? And by accepting those crumbs that benefit a few of us here and now, how do we harm others who will come after us?

Read the full article here.