anne o’connell on canadian ‘redneck whiteness’


Anne O’Connell, ‘An exploration of redneck whiteness in multicultural Canada’, Social Politics 17, 3 (2010).

As Canada celebrates forty years of official multiculturalism (1971), a shifting urban/rural dyad (Neal) is central to its configuration. Its urban centers are positioned as diverse racialized spaces unlike their less diverse and more white rural counterparts. In this paper, I explore the relationships between rurality, whiteness, and multiculturalism through the rise of the redneck in North America and the Canadian Redneck Games in rural Ontario. While seemingly politically incorrect, I argue that these expressions of rural whiteness provide both critique and coherence to liberal whiteness and multicultural policies. Celebrations of rural whiteness uphold the frontier narratives (Furniss), the past which helps structure multiculturalism as a contemporary form of white liberal tolerance of and benevolence toward Indigenous peoples and racialized others. These mutually sustaining narratives constitute a contemporary politics which is unable to address past colonial crimes and contemporary racial violence.

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