OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society

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OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 10 , No. 1

[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 81-113
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2020
Received 26 Oct 2019 Revised 31 Dec 2019 Accepted 05 Jan 2020

Challenging the Narrative of Canadian Multicultural Benevolence: A Feminist Anti-Racist Critique
Marina Gomá
University of Ottawa, Canada

Funding Information ▼


This article points at the limits of Canadian multicultural citizenship from a feminist anti-racist perspective. It aims to illustrate the racialization effects of Canadian multiculturalism as a biopolitical apparatus of state-diversity-management that depoliticizes civil society’s decolonial and anti-racist struggles. This article reclaims the necessity of challenging Canada’s narrative of benevolence towards immigrants and so-called visible minorities and proposes to flip the script from an unproblematized focus on the failures of multiculturalism such as tropes about the ghettoization and excessive religious demands of visible minorities towards a genuine engagement with the many contradictions of Canada’s society. Given that multiculturalism can adopt a wide range of meanings, my argument is that multiculturalism should not simply be researched as an ideological position, but analyzed through the specific historical conditions that have led to its enshrinement in Canada; changes in policy and political party discourse; its power as an apparatus of racialization; and its potential to act both as a tool to protect migrants, racialized communities and minority groups and a vehicle to engage genuinely with Canadian society’s contradictions and structural inequalities.

Keywords: Canadian multiculturalism, settler colonialism, racialized governmentality, feminist theory, critical race theory, alternative infrastructures of citizenship


The project that gave rise to these results received the support of a fellowship from “la Caixa” Foundation (ID 100010434). The fellowship code is LCF/BQ/AA17/11610049.

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Case Law and Legislation
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Biographical Note

Marina Gomá Ph.D. student in Feminist and Gender Studies. Her doctoral research, supervised by Dr. Mythili Rajiva, is a cross-cultural analysis of Spanish and Canadian migrant and queer-feminist countercultures. She is currently a member of the Research Collective on Migration and Racism (COMIR) at the University of Ottawa. Email: