Virtual Event – Calling Out Racism: A Reckoning

Friday 8 April 2022, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EDT, online (Canada)


Please join us as we welcome Augie Fleras who will be speaking on the topic of Calling Out Racism: A Reckoning. A time of discussion will follow his presentation.

Dr, Augie Fleras holds a doctorate in Maori Studies and Anthropology from Victoria University, Wellington, NZ. His teaching career has spanned nearly five decades, primarily at the University of Waterloo in addition to the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, NZ, and McMaster University and Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. He has numerous publications in the general field of Social Inequality as it applies to the Politics of Diversity in the broadest sense. More specifically, topics of interest include: The Politics of Indigeneity, Racism, Multiculturalism/Post-multiculturalism, Immigration, Media and Minorities. He has also authored 30 books, including 8 editions of Unequal Relations: A Critical Introduction to the Politics of Race, Ethnic, and Indigenous Dynamics in Canada, with a proposed 9th edition destined to be published in 2024. Dr. Fleras has received the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award. He is now retired from teaching but still “rocking”.

The catastrophic events of the early 2020s – from the discovery of massed burial sites of Indigenous children at Indian Residential School sites in Canada to the #BLM-inspired aftermath of the George Floyd murder under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer- have ignited a conversation for calling out racism by way of a national re-reckoning. This presentation on Calling out Racism: A Reckoning is themed around the challenge of clarifying the idea of racism as a contested and changing concept in response to evolving realities and emergent discourses. The presentation argues that we now occupy a new racism world, one so profoundly different from past iterations as to trigger a near paradigm shift in how we see, think and talk about, and react to it. Contemporary racisms are shown to be much more complex and contradictory than widely believed or sloganized. References to racism neither mean what they once said nor do they say what they now mean because of these transformational shifts, resulting in a glaring disconnect between public perceptions and peoples’ lived experiences. The presentation also contends that any calling out must acknowledge racism’s uncanny knack of reinventing itself as it seamlessly weaves its way throughout the social fabric of society, while intersecting with other axes of identity and differentiation to amplify negative outcomes. Finally, any attempt in making sense of what is going on, how, and why is aligned along the lines (to borrow from Churchill) of “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Debates continue to focus on what racism means (“a riddle”), how it works (“a mystery”), and why it persists (“an enigma”). By relying on a wealth of secondary sources as the prime resource, this moment in calling out racism in a changing, hyper-diverse, and networked context joins a global movement in re-reckoning the challenges and paradoxes of contemporary racisms.

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