Pruitt Igoe

I had the opportunity to watch a documentary on Pruitt Igoe, a failed social housing projects in the United States that was created through racism and anti-blackness. A lot of my peer had a difficult time understanding how anti-blackness and racism led to both the construction and the demise of this project. Some of my peers believed that failure of this project was due to bad population projections or that many residents were migrating to the suburbs, but that simply is not the case. Here is a review I wrote on the Pruitt Igoe Myth

 The Pruitt Igoe Myth is directed by Chad Freidrichs and provides detail on the construction of this social housing project and its demise. Pruitt-Igoe was an example of fordist housing in the United States, it was large-scale homogenous high-rise to solve specific issues related to slum housing in the downtown area. Not only was Pruitt-Igoe used as a form of downtown renewal, it was also used as a tool for segregation. Pruitt-Igoe spread over 57 acres in St. Louis, Missouri, it housed mostly lower to middle class income families in the community. At the beginning of the development the housing solution seem as if it was a success, the residents were pleased and the units were well maintained. However, that quickly changed due to white flight in St. Louis in many other Northern cities in the United States. As Frey (1977) argues “racially motivated movement patterns and discriminatory housing practices, when superimposed upon market forces of the period, served to exacerbate the selective mobility of whites to the suburbs (p. 426).” With the whites and industries leaving the city center heading towards the suburbs there was a dramatic drop in the city’s population and tax based. They could no longer afford to maintain these units. The film succinctly demonstrated how both institutionalized racism and white flight impacted urban planning in St. Louis, Missouri. In particular, it highlights how racist policies related to housing led to Pruitt-Igoe to become derelict over time.

It is critical that we acknowledge the creation and failure of Pruitt-Igoe is centered around anti-black racism. During this time in the United States the Civil Rights movement was still occurring and the pivotal case of Brown v Board was decided, where schools could no longer be segregated by race. A lot of the policies created during this time were de facto segregation, this was segregation not by law, but by fact (Hall, 2005, p. 1251). Slum clearance and public housing where tools used to redistribute land to suit those in power (Friedrich, 2011). As the film highlights, urban renewal was use as a form of displacement to remove African-Americans from the downtown core. At that time, African-Americans did not have the same privileges as white-Americans. As Hall (2005) outlines zoning boards made these communities undesirable, real estate agents controlled who was allowed to buy property and at what prices, banks denied mortgages to African-Americans, and the Federal Housing Administration had lending policies that favoured segregation (p. 1241).

As mentioned earlier, population change greatly impacted the community, through data the city believed that the population would grow, so the development taking place in St. Louis was appropriate. Growth defined the war years and was expected to continue on. However, this was not the case. Although migrants from the South were coming into the city, and should have added to the growth. As we know this was not the case, the city population decreased due to residents moving out towards the suburbs.

The federal government had subsidies to make the suburbs affordable to the white middle class. So, whereas we saw funds from the government for slum removal, there was also funds for creation of an urban utopia for the middle class. These subsidies by the federal government eroded the tax base that St. Louis had which led to demise of Pruitt-Igoe. Without that large tax base in the city, the municipal government could no longer afford to provide services to all of its communities, this included the maintenance of Pruitt-Igoe. The same unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions the city was working to eliminate through slum clearance and public housing returned due to affordable suburbs. They city and city officials were working against themselves.

As noted in the film, the creation of Pruitt-Igoe and dealing with the influx of migrants in St. Louis were all top-down decisions. This is what city officials, planners, architects, and elites thought would be best for the city. Developers and investors enjoy the idea of slum clearance since it allowed for profitable re-development, they became the decision makers not those in need of affordable housing. Fordism often looked at solving issues at the macro scale, through large developments. But often not taking consideration of items at the micro scale, such as upward mobility, discrimination, and taxes. It is impossible to plan accordingly for community without engaging with community members, with top-down decision making the interests are created by the elites. In Bristol (1991), The Pruitt- Igoe Myth, George Kassabaum, a project architect for the building points out “you had middle class whites like myself designing for an entirely different group (p. 167).” Bristol goes on to argue “the implication was that low-income urban blacks constituted a tenant group with special needs: They were not instill with the middle-class value of taking pride in the upkeep of their environment, and they also brought with them certain destructive behaviours (p. 167).” Bristol argues that design and lack of consultation with the community was a factor that led to buildings to become derelict over time. Although, in the film the former residents discuss that they enjoyed the property and for some this was the first time of homeownership. Bristol highlights that many did not feel a sense of belonging, we saw this in the film with the widespread vandalism that took place.

Sandercock (2003) argues that diversity is part of the goal when planning in urban contexts and that we should plan for just cities, where everyone is treated with respect no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference (Sandercock, 2003). This is accurate, cities should be planned and designed that they are just for everyone. June-Manning Thomas (2008) argues for the need of the minority planner to create just cities, this is because minority race planners are perceived to be part of the community they are serving and are able to engage with the community differently (p. 239). Minority-race planners reflect the community they are serving and are able to sympathize with some of issues the community are going through. These are both planning practices that work today, but it would be difficult to use these practices in a segregated America of the past.

Was it possible to create urban policy to preserve social housings developments in the 1950’s? The short answer is no. We have to remember a majority of the policies that were in place were de facto segregation. Segregation was promoted through these urban policies at all levels of government and finance. To actually have policies to preserve social housing developments, we would have to have policies that were not discriminatory and racist. At that time most cities in the United States were not progressive, so Pruitt-Igoe and other social housing developments were bound to fail. In the film, they discuss the community of Blackjack and one of the first by-laws they created after they incorporated was to prohibit the construction of apartment buildings. As one resident states, they wanted to keep “trash people” out. Another resident states “if the colored move in and run real estate values down it is bound to create tension and you will have mixed-marriages and they becoming equal with whites.” From these sentiments alone, it is clear how people viewed African-Americans at that time. The entire system was against them.

Ideally, you would create policy that allowed everyone fair and equal access to social housing and ensure that all units are rent-geared-to-income. However, the Fair Housing Act was not enacted in the United States until 1968, just a few years before the destruction of Pruitt-Igoe (Yinger, 1986, p. 881). The act allowed that you could not refuse to sell or rent housing to anyone due to race, religion, sex, and colour. Meaning, a number of changes that could have possibility reduce white flight and allow for the equal home ownership for everybody did not take place until the project was already failing. If these laws were created earlier, it is possible that Pruitt-Igoe would not have failed as badly as it did.

I found it interesting in the way in which the state policed families living in Pruitt-Igoe, it was stipulated in the agreement that black fathers could be housed with their families. Meaning Pruitt-Igoe was home for mothers and their children. This stipulation of removing black fathers from the household added to the myth that there was a large percent of absentee fathers in the black community.

Pruitt-Igoe was a failed social housing project in St. Louis, Missouri that failed for a number of socio-economic reasons. We can highlight the hollowing out of the city’s population, eroding tax base, industries moving out, social housing as the end all solution for poverty, and incorrect growth calculations. The social housing project was a large scale project to allow for slum clearance and urban renewal, yet those in power never consulted the community what they actually needed. They created a solution that they thought would benefit the community. However, the main factor that led to the demise of the social housing project was institutional racism. If we examine the policies at the time, they were manufactured for segregation and only exacerbated inequality in the city.


Bristol, K. G. (1991). The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. Journal of Architectural Education, 44(3), 162-171.          doi: 10.1080/10464883.1991.11102687

Freidrichs, C. (Director). (2011). The Pruitt-Igoe Myth [Documentary]. United States: Unicorn           Stencil.

Frey, W. (1979). Central City White Flight: Racial and Nonracial Causes. American Sociological    Review, 44(3), 425-448. Retrieved from

Hall, J. D. (2005). The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past. The Journal        of American History, 91(4), 1233-1263.

Sandercock, L. (2003). Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities. London, UK: Continuum.

Thomas, J. M. (2008). The Minority-Race Planner in the Quest for a Just City. Planning Theory, 7(3), 227–247. doi: 10.1177/1473095208094822

Yinger, J. (1986). Measuring Racial Discrimination with Fair Housing Audits: Caught in the Act. The American Economic Review, 76(5),881-893.

Public Health Urban

Lack of Black Educators on University Campuses

A conversation taking place across many campuses throughout Canada and the United States is where are the black professors? Clearly, there are educated scholars and academics of colour, but why are they not getting hired and tenured by universities?

Reading over some comments by university presidents, deans and provost  they all argue the importance of having an inclusive faculty and what it brings to the university and student engagement, both academically and financially. Arguing that it is an economic necessity and can be used as a special feature for recruitment, funding, and ranking (James, 2009, p. 129). I always feel uncomfortable when the argument for diversity and inclusiveness on campuses is used for economic benefit they bring instead of bringing positive change to the learning environment. However, even with this argument, there is very little action being done to make faculties more diverse.

Carl E. James (2009) stresses that there is affirmative action or employment equity programs in place across most Canadian universities, yet there continue to be a low number of racial minority faculty members at universities (p. 132). There is no shortage of academics who are racial minorities or visible minorities, the main issue that is holding back the appointment of racial minorities in academia is institutionalized racism. James explains that critical race theory “names and discusses ‘the pervasive, daily reality of racism in society which serves to disadvantage people of colour (p.134).”  As it stands, some people have difficulty viewing racism as a systemic structure, most view racism as these one-off individual comments. As Stovall (2006) explains:

Racism, like capitalism, is an accepted structural phenomenon centered in maintaining the status quo. It is not, and never has been, the result of individual bigotry it is often reduced to. Instead of race as a category, racism (i.e., White supremacy) should be understood as a set of systemic structures that maintain a racial ruling elites as demonstrated through enforcement of policies and laws that govern the land (Stovall, 2006, p. 250).

Meaning there are structures in place to normalize racism in academia and in other fields. For real change, universities need to have improved policies that look at recruiting and hiring racial minority faculty members, at the moment most Canadian universities are lacking in this area. Even with diversity hiring officers and equity programs in place, they are just not enough. Les Back (2004) discusses the culture of universities and racism, they discuss that universities have always been a white hegemony from their inception. They argue:

The discourse is evident in the claims by institutions that the predominance of White faculty in unintentional – it is just that universities as the rationalization goes, are not able to recruit qualified minority members, for it goes without say that all ‘qualified’ individuals can apply and will be appointed. It is farcical that this constructed notion of ‘racial unintentionality’ remains and will persist as long as individuals continue to believe that minority members are ‘always welcome even though they are not there’ (Back, 2004, p. 252).”

It really makes you think, when you view universities campuses today in Canada, the student body is very diverse yet there is no to little change in the faculty members that are teaching these students. As mentioned earlier, a lot of it has to do with institutionalized racism and that some universities don’t want to have that conversation or believe that the equity policy they have in place will work and hire racial minority faculty members. James suggests that not only do universities need to have equity and diversity policies that ensure the recruitment of racial minority faculty members. But faculties and universities need to acknowledge “and [talk] about the identities of faculty members, noting who should be recruited in order to have a diverse faculty – one that not merely reflect the student population but also, and importantly, represents different perspectives (James, 2009, p. 141).”

Evidence shows that faculty members of colour bring much more to the university than their white counterparts. It is not just their scholarship and ability attract different funders and make the campus ‘unique’. Stanley (2006) reveals that they play a much more crucial role, they mentor students of colour, serve on the university equity and diversity committees, provide support to local communities, provide support to other faculty members of colour, and educate administrators, staff and students about diversity (Stanley, 2006, p. 719). Faculty members of colour bring a whole different experience to university campuses when they are hired, this aspect alone is a benefit to recruit racial minority faculty because there ‘reach’ is beyond the university campuses. However, the ‘reach’ that they have makes it more demanding to be a faculty of colour. Henry and Tator (2007) reveal that faculty of colour have more pressure on them than their white counterparts. They demonstrate that “there are inordinate demands placed on faculty of colour, for instance, minority students wishing to have them as mentors and role models, the broader students wishing to have them as mentors and role models, the broader student population seeking their expertise, their colleagues asking them to speak on issues of diversity and racism, and administrators needing their ‘physical presence on committees to prove that the committee is representative’ (Henry & Tator, 2007, p. 25).” This means that faculty of colour have an increasingly large role to play on campuses, which can also be a burden and result in them burning out. These faculty members have a dual role to play, not only do they have to meet their commitments related to their scholarship and contractual obligations, they have a series of other commitments mentoring students and educating others on racism and discrimination.

I was recently at a panel discussion in the Faculty of Environmental Studies on “Where are all the black professors?”, on the panel, there was a black professor from the Departments of Languages and Linguistics. He shared that it is difficult being a faculty member of colour because he has a lot of students that come to him for mentorship or discuss issues facing the Afro-Caribbean and Black community. This exemplifies the need for faculty of colour since students are coming up to this professor and seeking advice, mentorship, and someone they can talk to. However, he shared that he feels overwhelmed by this because he is one just out of few black professors on the campus.

So where are the black faculty members? They are not being recruited and hired, these academics do exist, but there is a structure of racism and discrimination that are holding them back. If universities really want to hire racial and visible minority faculty they can. What is next? How do we change universities to be more diverse and inclusive? There needs to be a change in equity policies that are in place at most Canadian universities to actively search for academics and researcher who are racial minorities. Universities need to have an honest conversation about racism in university and how they can address it. They also need to note that many faculty members of colour are playing two roles on campus, one of scholarship and contractual obligations and then one of a mentorship and support to students and staff. This can negatively impact hiring and tenure when these faculty members have these commitments. It is intriguing to know that provosts and deans can view the economic benefit and the benefit it has on student engagement of having faculty of colour, yet nothing is actively being done to make this happen.


Back, L. (2004). ‘Ivory Towers? The Academy of Racism.’ In I. Law, D. Phillips, and L. Turney (Eds.), Institutional Racism in Higher Education, (pp 1-6). Trent, UK: Trentham Books.

Henry, F. & Tator, C. (2007). Through a Looking Glass: Enduring Racism on the University Campus. Journal of Higher Education: Academic Matters, Feb, 24-25.

James, C. E., (2009). ‘It Will Happen without Putting in Place Special Measures’: Racially Diversifying Universities. In F. Henry & C. Tator (Eds.), Racism in the Canadian University: Demanding Social Justice, Inclusion, and Equity 137-159. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Stanley, C. A. (2006). Coloring the Academic Landscape: Faculty of Color Breaking the Silence in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities. American Education Research Journal, 43(4), 701-736.

Stovall, D. (2006). Forging Community in Race and Class: Critical Race Theory and the Quest for Social Justice in Education. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 43(4), 7-29.

Recommended Reading:

Racism in the Canadian University: Demanding Social Justice, Inclusion, and Equity

E(RACE)r Summit on Race and Racism on Canadian University Campuses

Lack of  diversity leads to burden on professors of color

Absent from the Academy: The lack of black academics in the UK limits the wider impact of universities 

Canadian campuses suffer from lack of racial inclusion 


Exploring Anti-Blackness in Canada

I believe Canadians have a hard time conceptualizing that racism and discrimination exist in Canada and is part of the culture. A lot of people have this utopian view about Canada, that Canadians are not racist and are open to other cultures. This is simply not true. The colonial history of Canada is filled with racism and discrimination, from way in which First Nation people are treated and the Chinese head tax. These are just two of many examples of racism in Canada.

Dr. Carrie Best was a Black Canadian activist and journalist, in 1968 she described racism in Canada

Canadian society is a white society. Its legislators are white. Its judges are white, its teachers are universally white; its police are white; its executives are white; its newsmen are white; its real estate agents are white; its landlords are white; its school board administrators, its mayors and alderman, its bankers, its armed forces, and its Prime Minister are white. They support and perpetuate the institutions and customs that make Canada what it is. Thus they are racist. If you are a liberal, middle-class, the word ‘racist’ has a very concrete and narrow definition. Apartheid is racist. Segregation is racist. The political, social, and economic systems which enslave human beings, which deny them their identities, their freedom, their dignity and their future are all racist systems. This definition is good as far as it goes but it only begins to scratch the surface of racism (Dua and Robertson,1999,p. 8)

Backhouse (1999) explores the legal history of racism in Canada in their book, Colour-Coded. Similar to the belief that some Americans have of being ‘colour-blind’ or viewing everyone as a human than a race, in Canada there is this notion of racelessness. Backhouse describes racelessness as:

The ideology of racelessness, a hallmark of Canadian historical tradition, is very much in keeping with our national mythology that Canada is not a racist country, or at least is much less so than our southern neighbour, the United State. Dionne Brand, an African-Canadian historian, poet, and writer, recounts that she still gets asked in interviews: ‘Is there racism in this country?’ Her response: ‘Unlike the United States, where there is at least an admission of the fact that racism exists and has a history, in this country one is faced with a stupefying innocence.’ A ‘mythology of racelessness’ and ‘stupefying innocence’ – these would appear to be twin pillars of the Canadian history of race (Blackhouse, 2010, p.14).

Backhouse mentions that the discussion around race and racism is different in Canada than in other countries like the United States or Great Britain. Where the Unites States has a long history of racial injustices and continue to practices these injustices through its legal system, urban planning, banking and police departments. In Great Britain their colonial history comes to mind. Due to these actions and divisions it is more accessible to discuss race and racism. However, in Canada it is more complex since racial injustices in this country is often overlooked.

Canada also has a history of anti-black racism, slaves were used in country from 1689 until 1833. During this time blacks in Canada faced a series of discrimination both prior and after the abolishment of slavery by the British Parliament in 1833 (African Canadian Legal Clinic, 2012, p. 4) . Once again, this history often gets brushed under the rug for whatever reason is may be, whether it is ignorance or trying to conform to the idea that Canada is not racist.

Backhouse (1999) stresses that racism is not an individual and one-off events, as she states:

“It is essential to recognize that racism is located in the systems and structures that girded the legal system of Canada’s past. Racism is not primarily manifest in isolated, idiosyncratic, and haphazard acts by individual actors who, from time to time, consciously intended to assert racial hierarchy over others. The roots of racialization run far deeper than individualized, intentional activities. Racism resonated through institutions, intellectual theory, popular culture, and law. Immigration laws shaped the very contours of Canadian society in wats that aggrandized the centrality of white power. Racialized communities were denied the right to maintain their own identities, cultures, and spiritual beliefs. Education, employment, residence, and the freedom of social interaction were sharply curtailed for all but those who claimed and were accorded the racial designation ‘white.’ 15

This statement exemplifies that racism is more than ‘that guy’ and the racist remarks they make on Facebook or the women who shouts racist comments and slurs to someone on the bus. Racism is systemic and is found in institutions, popular culture, and our legal system.

Examining the Canadian justice system, it is clear that discrimination plays an active role on laws that are created and enforced. Owusu-Bempah and Wortley (2011) maintains that “a closer examination of the historical record reveals that racial discrimination has long been an issue within Canadian society – particularly with respect to the operation of criminal justice system (p. 395).” Through their research they conclude that “black respondents are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white or Chinese respondents (p. 398).” They also observe that racialization exist in Canadian police departments, where “black racial backgrounds appear to be a master status that attract police attention and significantly contributes to police decisions to conduct street interrogations. To the police, young black males represent the usual suspects (p. 402).” Just that alone, that there is a criminality associated with being black is very disturbing.  They conclude that the Canadian government practices ‘democratic racism’. They define ‘democratic racism’ as “an ideology that permits the emergence of two seemingly conflicting sets of values: a public commitment to racial justice and equality on one hand, but a refusal to seriously investigate and address racial inequalities and potential racial bias when these issues emerge (p. 404).”

Just looking at newspapers or reading government documents, or comments from political leaders, this is what they practice. Examining the case of missing and murdered aboriginal women the conservative government under the leadership of Stephen Harper refused to launch an inquiry into it (Jackson, 2015). In Ontario, the outrage over carding and street check went almost unheard of. Politicians and police officials were dragging their feet to even discuss it, let alone call the practice racist. After weeks of protest from Black Lives Matter Toronto in front of Toronto police headquarters they met with Kathleen Wynne, where she told the group that “we still have systemic racism in our society (Jones, 2016).”  However, she quickly changed her comments when the Toronto Police Union said that her comments were out of line, and that there is no racism in the police force. She updated her comment stating “ I wasn’t talking about the police service, I was talking about societal reality that we all have to grapple with (Ostroff, 2016).” This was a truly cringe worthy moment, having the Premier of Ontario acknowledge systemic racism, but in the same breath say “no, no, no, not in police services, but in the criminal justice system and children’s aid.” This was just another prime example of democratic racism, informing the public that the government has a commitment to racial justice, but completely ignoring the issue at hand.

How do we confront racism and anti-black racism in Canada and how do we solve the many laws and policies that are created from it? First, we need to have an honest conversation about racism and anti-black racism in Canada. By having this dialogue and acknowledging the full impact racism and anti-blackness has on Canada and policies created is the first step. Secondly, we need to critically examine policies, laws, and by-laws created in this country and either amend or strike down laws and policies that are unjust are specifically target racialized groups.


Backhouse, C., Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History., & Gibson Library Connections. (2010). Colour-coded : a legal history of racism in Canada, 1900-1950. Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press.

Dua, E., & Robertson, A. (1999). Scratching the Surface: Canadian, Anti-racist, Feminist Thought. Toronto : Women’s Press.

Ostroff, J. (2016, April 7). Police Deny Racism and Demand Data (That They Won’t Collect). The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Jackson, K. (2015, September 9). Stephen Harper’s longest war: missing and murdered Indeginous women. APTN. Retrived from

Jones, A. (2016, April 4). Wynne meets with Black Lives Matter protestors at Queen’s Park. iPolitics. Retrieved from

Wortley, S., & Owusu-Bempah, A. (2011). The usual suspects: police stop and search practices in Canada. Policing and Society, 21(4), 395–407.

Recommend Reading

The Suffocating Expereince of Being Black in Canada

Canadian Judge Acknowledge Anti-Black Racism in Court

Public Health Urban

On the Carding Controversy


I have been closely watching the exchange between Mike McCormick, the head of the Toronto Police Association and Desmond Cole, activist and writer. Since the discussion they are having around crime and carding is related to my major research paper for my master’s degree.

The comments coming from McCormick are erroneous and absurd, there is absolutely no data linking carding or street checks to the reduction of crime. It was cringe worthy to see him debate with Cole on CityNews and just repeat false information. During a previous interview, McCormick made an outlandish statement on the provincial ban on carding and how to due to the ban this is the reason for the current spike in gun violence in the city.

Here is what we know, “racial discrimination has long been an issue within Canadian society – particularly with respect to the operation of the criminal justice system” (as cited in Mosher, 1998, p. 305)

Carding and street checks are the manifestation of racial discrimination in the justice system due to that these processes are solely used on marginalized communities; those who are disabled and are visible minorities. So to say that the practice of carding does not discriminate is inaccurate. Skolnick (1966) discover that “police in the United States tend to perceive young, black males as ‘symbolic assailants’ and thus stop and question them on the street as a means of ‘crime prevention” (p. 402). From this observation, we can already see the criminalization of black and brown bodies. In a Canadian study about stop and search practices in Canada, Owusu-Benmpah & Wortley (2011) note that similar practices and racialization exist within the Canadian police environment. Through a survey, they discovered “blacks are over three times more likely to experience multiple police stops than whites or Asians and are three times more likely to report being searched during these police encounters” (402).

Simply, carding does not reduce or prevent crimes from taking place

What is more troubling is, the police forces and the government have not released data around carding and crime prevention. This creates a lot of question around the practice and what it being done if there is a lack of data. Are they simply practicing this due to the criminalization and black bodies or is there evidence supporting this? Henry and Tator (2005) refer to this as democratic racism:

An ideology that permits the emergence of two seemingly conflicting sets of values: a public commitment to racial justice and equality on one hand, but a refusal to seriously investigate and address racial inequalities and potential racial bias when these issues emerge (p. 349).

Owusu-Benmpah and Wortley (2011) state that the government and police forces withholding information on carding and street checks are a form of democratic racism. They go on to say that police forces, government, and the criminal justice system continue to ignore questions around carding because there is no empirical data. For all we know, the criminal justice system and carding are inherently racist.

Police forces and the criminal justice system needs to take a different approach when it comes to crime prevention and serving the community. Continuing these practices will create communities that fear the police and the authority due to these practices.


You can watch the debate between McCormick and Cole here.

Politics Public Health Uncategorized Urban

Coded Language and the Conservative Party

old stock

I think it’s all coming together now. The Harper campaign recently hired Australian political strategist, Lynton Crosby. Crosby is well known for using coded words to send a message to potential voters, these messages are usually racist in nature. With Crosby hired to help the campaign, I’m not surprised with some of the comments Harper made in tonight’s debate and over the past week. We’ve seen these coded words used when discussing the Syrian refugee crisis and how they have been used to villainized them. We also saw Harper using coded language tonight when discussing refugees and ‘old-stock Canadians’. I think it’s pretty obvious what both Harper and Crosby meant when they used this term tonight. The term ‘old stock’ was used by the Klu Klux Klan to describe the “original’ white settlers of America. In David Welky’s America Between the Wars 1919-1941, he discuss the creation of the KKK and the meaning of ‘old-stock’:

…The Klan…has now come to speak for the great mass of Americans of the old pioneer stock…

These are, in the first place, a blend of various peoples of the so-called Nordic race, the race which, with all its faults has given the world almost the whole of modern civilization. The Klan does not try to represent any people but these.

Here’s twitter reaction to Harper’s comment:




olstock2tl;dr  Harper is racist.


Lynton Crosby hired by Harper Campaign

How the Harper government is manipulation the refugee crisis

‘Old-Stock Canadians’ References by Harper Amid Refugee Debate