Is Multiculturalism a Disguise?

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies is supposed to internationally define Canada as a multicultural society, yet, it blankets the racial inequalities associated with multiculturalism. Nathan Kalman-Lamb addresses how multiculturalism benefits “authentic” white Canadians at the expense of minorities in his article, “A Portrait of This Country” (2012).

The article, published in the TOPIA journal, shows that Canada’s multiculturalism is a celebration of racial privilege rather than an attempt to celebrate the diversity of all cultures. The opening ceremonies did not portray Canada as a popular multiculturalist country. It did not even demonstrate how or if Canada breaks down “structural inequalities” (Kalman-Lamb 8). Kalman-Lamb claims that the opening ceremonies encompass official multiculturalism “in which whiteness performs its hegemony through complex and shifting representations of its Others” (8). These shifting representations shows the prominence of Indigeneity and how it progresses misrepresentations of Indigenous “culture, history and identity” (Kalman-Lamb 7).

The goal of this text is to show that even though the opening ceremonies had Indigenous performances, there were still “displays of whiteness” (Kalman-Lamb 23). The ceremonies celebrated “‘authentic’ (white) Canadian identity” instead of focusing on the celebration of Indigenous peoples (Kalman-Lamb 23). This idea is shown through the example of the four totem poles. After the poles had transformed into trees, a ballet troupe performs beneath them. Even though some of the dancers are non-white, the emphasis is placed on the symbolism of ballet since it represents “white European cultural heritage” (Kalman-Lamb 13). Kalman-Lamb provides evidence for the celebration of whiteness that is prominent throughout the ceremony.


Kalhman-Lambs analysis specifies that “whiteness [is] at the core of Canada’s multicultural identity (5). His article causes me to question of whether or not the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremonies used multiculturalism to “disguise the persistence of [Canada’s] structural inequalities” (Kahlman-Lamb 9).

Works Cited

Kalman-Lamb, Nathan. “‘A Portrait of This Country’: Whiteness, Indigeneity, Multiculturalism and the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies.” TOPIA, no. 27, 2012, pp. 5-27, Accessed 7 March 2018.

One thought on “Is Multiculturalism a Disguise?

  1. The hook you used in your blog post was very effective and really pulled me in as a reader. Utilizing the phrase “supposed to” is powerful as it made me think, “how did this event defy this expectation?” Your introduction was written well and your thesis statement is beneficial in that it really summarizes his article in an uncomplicated way, pulling in readers once more. I really liked the ideas you incorporated into your second paragraph summary of the article, but I think that some transitions would make your ideas flow more easily into one another. For instance, after reading the last sentence in this paragraph, “These shifting representations shows the prominence of Indigeneity and how it progresses misrepresentations of Indigenous “culture, history and identity”” (Nichols), I assumed that you would be giving examples of these misrepresentations, but the paragraph was ended there. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about the text’s goal as a display of whiteness in the opening ceremonies. I agree completely with this thought, and you selected really useful quotes from Kalman-Lamb’s article. I think your example of the totem poles, and the photos you included beneath it, really was useful in that you described a visual element, and supported it with one as well. This example was a great contrast between what could be deemed as “Indigenous” and “white” culture. One thing that may help extend your analysis is using one other example from the Olympic games. Perhaps using the idea of Indigenous culture only being displayed at the beginning of the ceremony, and then being forgotten about, would help extend your argument. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your post!

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