Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 20, No. 4, 2021
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nick Catalano
Lynda Renée
Gary Olson
Howard Richler
Oslavi Linares
Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
  Music Editors
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Emanuel Pordes
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  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somerville
Mona Eltahawy
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

oh canada



Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. He is the author of more than 50 books including The Educational Deficit and the War on Youth and Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism. Many of his essays, including The Spectacle of Illiteracy, appear on his website at His interview with Bill Moyers is must viewing. He was recently named one of the century's 50 most significant contributors to the debate on education.


YOUR COMMENTSThe tragic deaths of now over a thousand Indigenous children not only reveals the horrors of Canadian settler colonialism at the heart of the country’s policies, but it also exposes how a politics of systemic racism and disposability is reproduced by the erasure of history. While the genocidal acts committed against Indigenous people are once again making visible the crimes of racist state violence, it is crucial for Canadians to acknowledge how history can be erased by examining not only their own past but also how a politics of racial cleansing through an attack on the teaching of history is at work in the United States.

The genocide inflicted on Native Americans and Black slaves, the horrors of Jim Crow, the incarceration of Japanese Americans, among other historical events is disappearing into a disavowal of past historical events with the emergence of right-wing policies, embracing a political and pedagogical language of censorship and erasure. At work here are attempts to eliminate from public and higher education any trace of racism committed as part of its long history of violence against those considered unknowable and disposable. These efforts are not about education reform but about institutionalizing bigotry in the schools.

For example, the Republican Party’s attack on the teaching of critical race theory in the schools, which they label as “ideological or faddish” both denies the history of racism as well as the ways in which persistent racism is enforced systemically through policy, laws, and institutions. Forbidding the teaching about racism is now justified with the ludicrous claim of protecting students from learning about the diverse ways in which racism persist in American society — a history labelled as unpatriotic.

This whitening of history is now largely being reproduced by right-wing attacks on diversity, critical race programs in the public and higher education. The fight to censor truth-telling versions of a history shaped by racism is part of a larger conservative project to prevent teachers and students from speaking openly about historical issues that legitimated race-based practices. It is also an attempt to erase the struggles of those who resisted and risked their lives in the fight against racism. What is shared by all of these attempts to censor school curricula is the claim that critical race theory and other “anti-racist” programs indoctrinate students and undermine the alleged foundations of Western Civilization — an argument that has always been central to a ruthless ideology of colonialism.

Under such circumstances, education becomes an object of oppression, and a way of deskilling teachers who address matters of racial inequality and injustice. Right-wing politicians now use education to discredit any critical pedagogical approach that enables students to realize themselves as critical citizens. In doing so, they undermine and discredit the critical faculties students and others need to “investigate the core conflict between a nation founded on radical notions of liberty, freedom and equality, and a nation built on slavery, exploitation, and exclusion.”

The current attacks on critical race theory, if not critical thinking itself are part of a larger authoritarian attempt to normalize racism, class inequities and economic inequality while safeguarding the interests of those who benefit from such inequities. In pursuit of such a project, Republican Party politicians are pressing for curricula in some 47 states that teach complacency, obedience and mindless conformity. They undermine matters of injustice and the common good in the curricula, and rarely embrace notions of pedagogy that sharpen a student’s civic skills, sense of justice, and openness to empathy. They embrace former president Donald Trump’s claim that teaching about racism is comparable “to teaching people to hate our country.”

In light of this attack on empowering forms of education, there is a need to rethink and relearn the lessons of history by considering the role that it can play in educating students and others in the values of inclusivity, compassion and democracy. This points to the challenge of interrogating history while addressing those repressive elements of its past. Central to this task is the recognition that a democracy cannot exist without informed citizens.

Given the increasing visibility of its colonial past and the violence directed against the most vulnerable of those populations considered disposable — Indigenous children, Canada must reject the attacks on historical memory in order to avoid what is happening in the United States. It must invest in an educational system that is empowering in its support of racial justice, and civic culture. If democracy is “to breathe again” in Canada, history must be an object of critical inquiry rather than an act of blind reverence.

By Henry Giroux:
Plague of Historical Amnesia
Recovering from Trumpism
Tribute to Noam Chomsky
The Ouster of Trump
White Supremacy in the Offal Office
The Plague of Inequity
Covid and our Embattled Society
Trump and the Corona Death Waltz
Neoliberal Fascism
The Terror Unforseen
Interview of H.A.Giroux
The Normalization of Fascism
The Public Intellectual II
Bertrand Russell: Public Intellectual
Thinking Dangerously in Dark Times
Democracy in Exile
Authoritarianism in America
Violence: US Favourite Pastime
Losing in Trump's America
In Dark Times Teachers Matter
The Age of Civic Illiteracy
Exile and Disruption in the Academy
What Society Produces a Donald Trump
From School to the Prison Pipeline
Orwell & Huxely
American Sniper and Hollywood Heroism
Selfie Culture
The Age of Disposability
In the Shadow of the Atomic Bomb
Killing Machines and the Madness of the Military
The Age of Neoliberal Cruelty
The Politics of the Deep State
Challenging Casino Capitalism
Crisis in Democracy
America's Descent into Madness




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