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Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 [Paperback]

Constance Backhouse
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 20 1999 Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History

Historically Canadians have considered themselves to be more or less free of racial prejudice. Although this conception has been challenged in recent years, it has not been completely dispelled. In Colour-Coded, Constance Backhouse illustrates the tenacious hold that white supremacy had on our legal system in the first half of this century, and underscores the damaging legacy of inequality that continues today.

Backhouse presents detailed narratives of six court cases, each giving evidence of blatant racism created and enforced through law. The cases focus on Aboriginal, Inuit, Chinese-Canadian, and African-Canadian individuals, taking us from the criminal prosecution of traditional Aboriginal dance to the trial of members of the 'Ku Klux Klan of Kanada.' From thousands of possibilities, Backhouse has selected studies that constitute central moments in the legal history of race in Canada. Her selection also considers a wide range of legal forums, including administrative rulings by municipal councils, criminal trials before police magistrates, and criminal and civil cases heard by the highest courts in the provinces and by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The extensive and detailed documentation presented here leaves no doubt that the Canadian legal system played a dominant role in creating and preserving racial discrimination. A central message of this book is that racism is deeply embedded in Canadian history despite Canada's reputation as a raceless society.

Winner of the Joseph Brant Award, presented by the Ontario Historical Society


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Customers buy this book with Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth Century Canada CDN$ 54.95

Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 + Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth Century Canada
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About the Author

Constance Backhouse is Professor of Law at the University of Western Ontario and author of Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada.


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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely insights Feb. 24 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The king has no clothes on. Canada isn't so innocent of crimes and injustice.
Finally a statement that traces the roots of systemic racism in this country. From cross-burning, to acts of violence, to weilding the power of law, the courts and the legal system, White Canada oppressed minorities and created advantage while forcing others to try to survive on an unlevel playing field (while making sure minorities "feel Canadian" when it comes to paying taxes to the system).
We've inherited a legacy of limitation of access, to say the least. This history helps us challenge the assumption that how things are now is "normal."
Thanks, Ms. Backhouse, for challenging the White establishment to stand up and acknowledge this dark history of shame.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely insights Feb. 24 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The king has no clothes on. Canada isn't so innocent of crimes and injustice.
Finally a statement that traces the roots of systemic racism in this country. From cross-burning, to acts of violence, to weilding the power of law, the courts and the legal system, White Canada oppressed minorities and created advantage while forcing others to try to survive on an unlevel playing field (while making sure minorities "feel Canadian" when it comes to paying taxes to the system).
We've inherited a legacy of limitation of access, to say the least. This history helps us challenge the assumption that how things are now is "normal."
Thanks, Ms. Backhouse, for challenging the White establishment to stand up and acknowledge this dark history of shame.
5.0 out of 5 stars Colour-Coded. Dec 4 2013
By Daffodil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is informative and that is the reason why I purchase it. I could relate to it as I was born in Canada.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Item amazing, seller great, amazon horrible!!!! July 3 2012
By Disappointed in Amazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I needed this item for a class that I was taking in university. I ordered it in the beginning of the semester. Due to a concussion caused by a car accident, I wanted to get started on my book report early as I knew I would need extra time. I had to order this text book 5-6 times before I finally received it. Granted, one of the times was because I accidentally used a credit card that I had forgotten I had cancelled because it had been stolen. The other times, Amazon cancelled the shipments because of some underlining on a few of the pages. I had opted to purchase a used copy, so I was aware that it would not be in perfect condition. Needless to say, I received the text one week before the paper was due and I was in an incredible amount of stress as a result. I expected more from Amazon as I have used them countless times before. I will be bringing this to their attention.
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