‘Gone, leave, go, move, vanish’: race, public space and (in)visibilities

‘Gone, leave, go, move, vanish’: race, public space and (in)visibilities

This chapter is a discussion of the various ways Canadian-born young men of colour (aged 17–26) experience (in)visibilities in the public spaces of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). I begin this chapter by analyzing the different ways ‘visibility’ and ‘invisibility’ have been conceptualized in the scholarly literature, including literatures on homelessness, public space, and race. Invisibilities include ‘invisible homelessness’ as well as material invisibilities in which young men of colour both purposefully and accidentally navigate public spaces in ways that affect whether they are seen or unseen and by whom. This research emphasizes the contingency and indeterminacy of varying (in)visibilities. Despite the various ways they move between visibility and invisibility in public spaces, young men of colour experiencing homelessness maintain an explicit presence in urban street spaces. Understanding their experiences of (in)visibility in urban space helps us understand the geographies of race and racism in the GTA and in North American cities more broadly.

JOURNAL: Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture
VOLUME: In Press
PUBLICATION DATE: 2015
LOCATION: GTA, Ontario, Canada