Student voices on social relations of race in Québec Universities.

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This study aims to shed light on the role of the university as a space contributing to (re)production and even to the reification of social relations of race. To do this, we sought the views of 30 students enrolled in first-year undergraduate studies to analyze how institutional racism occurs through microaggression interactions, i.e. subjective or overt racism expressed by individuals or through institutional practices, understood as indirect processes that may have unplanned effects on racialized groups via feelings of inequitable treatment. These students were born to immigrant parents from Haiti and sub-Saharan Africa. This article shows that, despite a denial of systemic racism by the Québec government, our data do reveal unequal social relations of race in the daily lives and practices of academic institutions. Students, through their words, tend to emphasize the existence of a boundary linked to power relations between those they name as Whites and Others. They relate incidents of microaggression, which seem normal or banal for the majority group, often taking the form of humour, which constantly bring them back to their otherness, their social positioning vis-à-vis power relations, which they describe as inferiorizing. They also highlight the perception of these boundaries at the institutional level in the choice of staff hired, in the whitewashed image of the institution in promotional materials, in the predominance of formal and hidden ethnocentric or racist curriculum, and in student life.

This content has been updated on 3 March 2022 at 9 h 56 min.