Racialized Discourses: Writing Against an Essentialized Story About Racism


  • Harjeet Kaur Badwall York University


race, racism, discourse analysis, research



This paper is concerned with the ethics of knowledge production when conducting research on racial injustice. The discussion draws upon my doctoral research, in which I interviewed 23 racialized social workers in Toronto, Canada, about their encounters with racism in the workplace. The discussion centres on my role as a racialized researcher and the effects of any assumed “insider-ness” on how I heard and interpreted participant narratives. Although the workers and I shared experiences of racism, I could not assume “sameness,” nor could I adopt an authentic voice about how racism is experienced. This paper examines the significance of producing research about racial domination, but argues for an anti-essentialist stance. I explore the ethical dilemmas involved through examining the dominant assumptions underlying insider research.

Author Biography

Harjeet Kaur Badwall, York University

School of Social Work

Assistant Professor