The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
Get our free newsletter
Sign Up
Tyee News
  |  
Rights + Justice
  |  
Media

Presenting ‘Under the White Gaze’: A Tyee Newsletter

Tired of ‘model minorities,’ ‘immigrant invasions’ and other tropes? Follow reporter Chris Cheung’s journey into making the news better.

Christopher Cheung 13 Oct 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Christopher Cheung reports on urban issues for The Tyee. Follow him on Twitter at @bychrischeung.

I have a confession to make…

My name might be Christopher, but I worry about being a Columbus!

I report on multicultural Vancouver, which is by no means a “dark continent” or “no man’s land.” But we journalists, in service to the “average Canadians” who read us, too often introduce people, places and cultures through the lens of a colonizer.

It’s something I’ve noticed again and again in my career. Recently, I authored an award-winning essay on the topic, but I have more to say.

Why does journalism in Canada tend to either exclude diversity or present it in stereotypical ways?

Open the local paper or tune into a local broadcaster and you’ll often find variations of these tropes: An exotic celebration with dancing and costumes! An immigrant who refuses to respect our most holy official languages! A model minority who achieved the Canadian dream because of how hard they toiled!

The white gaze is at work.

We live in a country with Anglo colonial roots, and our most spoken official language is English. Is it really a surprise that our news media takes a white perspective when reporting on “ethnic communities”?

Even the term “ethnic” is a product of the white gaze, assuming that being white is the baseline by which all other people and cultures are measured.

So I’ve put together this new pop-up newsletter to investigate the white gaze at work in our media, and its power to shape our perceptions. I’m not white, but I also often internalize the white gaze.

This is our first Tyee newsletter authored exclusively by an in-house writer — me! It’ll offer a peek at the agonies and decision-making that go into my work reporting stories that accurately introduce readers to their neighbours of different backgrounds.

The newsletter is free and will be sent out weekly starting Oct. 20 until the end of the year. You can sign up to receive it right here.

Tired of immigrant neighbourhoods being neglected until a craft brewery moves in? Tired of ethnocultural groups being ignored outside of obligatory heritage months? Tired of diasporas treated as one-note, as if they’re elves and dwarves?

I hope you’ll join this journey as I uncover how the white gaze distorts journalism.

What to expect in the weeks ahead?

How “minorities” always make the news for the same reasons. How “foreign” cultures are introduced as if they’re novel discoveries. How journalists can check their biases and use them as strengths.

Vancouver will be our classroom, so we’ll even take a field trip to Burnaby’s Metrotown mall! (Dairy Queen not included.) And of course we’ll dive into what the “white gaze” even means.

To be clear: This newsletter is not a mere rallying cry for English Canadian publications to throw an “ethnic” person up on their front page and call it a day.

We’ll be going deeper, examining how our media advances a Canadian brand of sugary multiculturalism that can be as exclusive as it is inclusive. It’s heavy stuff, and we’re all part of it in one way or another.

At the end of it, I hope you’ll be able to spot how the white gaze shapes how we all view our communities, and how journalists can strive for more representative reporting that encourages equality.

Want to know more? I’ll be joining The Tyee’s social media manager Sarah Krichel on Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. PDT for a chat on Instagram Live about this newsletter and the white gaze.

Got questions? You can reach me during the newsletter’s run at underthewhitegaze@thetyee.ca.

I hope you’ll tag along as I try to break the curse of Columbus.  [Tyee]

Read more: Rights + Justice, Media

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.

Do:

  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll