This article explores multicultural politics of ‘anti-racism’ through a detailed and contextualized study of the 1993 March 21 campaign in Canada’s largest federal administrative tribunal, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). I argue that multicultural state politics thwart serious engagement with anti-racist critique, and drastically reconfigure the meanings and consequences of anti-racism. Within multicultural state politics, anti-racism quickly devolves to apolitical recycling of diversity discourses, and benign celebrations of cultural festivities. As I will show, state multiculturalism is a cheap institutional production that heavily relies on the unpaid labour of racialized civil servants, and leaves the status quo largely intact. Ironically, multicultural celebrations of diversity produce novel opportunities for racialization and racial exploitation. While the celebrations go on, relations of racial dominance are reproduced and protected from critique.

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Keywords Canada, institutional racism, IRB, multicultural policy, post-racialism, State multiculturalism
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Journal Social Identities
Masoumi, A. (2020). ‘Some nice Latin American music will be played by a tape player’: anti-racist critique and the multicultural state. Social Identities, 1–14. doi:10.1080/13504630.2020.1787823