Out of Asia: Topologies of Racism in Canada

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Jennifer Chan


This case study recounts my harrowing experience through a great Canadian equity swindle—involving two internal university equity investigations, BC Human Rights Tribunal, and the BC Supreme Court—to bring to account a deeply flawed and allegedly discriminatory academic hiring process. I situate my human rights complaint in the larger socio-political context of Canada becoming “too Asian.” Using a methodology of a critical personal narrative in the form of a self-interview, I discuss how diverse actors from the union to lawyers, the court system, the media, the public, and fellow academics stubbornly refuse to see the nexus between race and discrimination. These embarrassing conversations form the contours of topologies of race in Canada, stretching and bending our academic, legal, media, and social landscapes without tearing white hegemony apart. I highlight the common experiences of fellow human rights complainants who contacted me during this period and the implications of our ordeals on the Canadian social body.

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