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Pretty Like a White Boy: Experience as a Caucasian-Ojibway Man in Canada

In Drew Hayden Taylor's article "Pretty Like a White Boy," he discusses his experience as a Caucasian-Ojibway man in Canada. His ethnic background is manifest in his blue eyes and light skin, which conceal his Native American heritage. At one point, he jokes, "I'd make a great undercover agent for one of the Native political organizations" (Taylor, 1992). In fact, his ability to blend in with the white majority exposes him to three types of racism: passive, or unconscious, racism, institutional racism, and horizontal racism.

The first form of racism Taylor encounters is passive, or unconscious, racism, a widely prevalent phenomenon. "Examples include telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of Whites" (Whited, n.d.). Taylor's cab driver, who said, "If you're not careful, all you'll get is drunk Indians" (Taylor, 1992), is guilty of passive racism. Since the cab driver assumed Taylor was white, he felt comfortable to make a racist comment about Native Americans. In Canada, where the majority of the population is Caucasian, it is easy to see how the idea of passive racism can exist; if there is no one of a different race nearby to be offended, then it may seem acceptable to make jokes and comments. This may also be the most widespread form of racism in Canada, and indeed, the world, because "one does not necessarily have to have any malicious intent at all to commit a racist act; even good-hearted, well-meaning people can contribute to the institution of racism..." (Myhre, 2003).

A second form of racism Taylor encounters is institutional racism, which enforces the status quo through private and government organizations, which include the media, social services, and workplaces. "Examples of institutional racism include policies and practices undue value on selective educational experiences or qualifications in establishing promotion criteria in jobs and schools" (Wh...

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Pretty Like a White Boy: Experience as a Caucasian-Ojibway Man in Canada. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:13, February 22, 2017, from