Mayor Miller and his barking seals
Alienation in an alien nation
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The fragmentation of our society is nearing exquisite proportions as more and more identity groups discover victimhood. Not a day goes by when some individual doesn’t claim to be offended on behalf of some identifiable affinity group. It’s gotten so our lexicon is rapidly being purged of words that identify members of any cohort, lest there be offense.
This tendency to take offense on behalf of certain groups has reached the grass-roots level as now members of groups take offense by what local politicians say. Recently Toronto councilor Rob Ford got himself a lambasting for daring to identify Orientals by the name “Orientals” and he did so in the most positive way, praising people of Asian descent as being well-known for their work ethic.
First Mayor Miller and his barking seals jumped all over Ford claiming the remark was racist and demanding an apology. Then the Toronto chapter of the Chinese Canadian National Council got into the act by protesting in a letter to the editor of the National Post that what Ford said was, you guessed it, “racist”.
“Racism is a belief or ideology that members of a race possess characteristics that make them superior or inferior to other races,” protested Victoria Shen, co-president of the group. “The issue for us is not that Mr. Ford has made inappropriate comments, but that a councilor can hold beliefs that we consider to be racist, yet still be elected into office by his constituency and remain in a position of power to formulate public policy”
What would Ms Shen have us do? Publicly pillory Mr. Ford? Perhaps have him flogged on the steps of City Hall? Draw and quarter him?
A similar incident recently happened in Peterborough with a member of the Pine Ridge Kawartha School Board. Gordon Gilchrist, a school trustee, wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper wherein he urged people to call their MPs to get the federal government to “turn off the immigration tap”. The response from the professional victims was swift and merciless. Gilchrist was censured by the school board and kicked off all its committees. Still that wasn’t enough for those whose life mission is to find racists under every rock. Some called for Mr. Gilchrist to be fired from his job as trustee (hard to do to an elected official) and one woman went so far as to claim she cried when she read what Gilchrist had written. Gosh lady, if your skin is so thin that the mere suggestion immigration be curtailed makes you cry; maybe it’s time for therapy.
The climate in the True North Strong and Free has gotten pretty repressive, as each time someone makes a comment someone else doesn’t like, accusations of racism are bandied about. Let’s face it, people will believe whatever it is they believe and some people have beliefs that are, well, racist.
In my life I have encountered racists of every stripe, including black people who hate whites because they are white, Asian people who hate blacks, Pakistanis who hate Europeans and Dominicans who hate Haitians. I’ve even encountered people of color who claimed that it was impossible for them to be racist because racism was a trait that only white people were capable of. Under Ms Shen’s definition of racism, wouldn’t this person qualify?
An interesting and totally ironic corollary to all this offense-taking is the appropriation of offensive epithets for self identity. It began with certain black people’s use of the N-word to describe themselves to themselves and is now a staple of rap music. Similarly, gay people appropriated the pejorative “queer” as an identity term and proudly proclaim themselves to be queer. Most recently radical feminist women have begun using the C-word (which to me is probably one of the most offensive words in the English language) as an identity tag. I recall an article by the columnist Barbara Kay wherein she quoted a woman who had emailed her a proud proclamation that “women are c—-s”. Kay was appalled at the idea that women would be using that term as a self-descriptive term.
Interestingly, should a non-black, non-gay or male dare use these terms their crucifixion would be swift and painful.
This preoccupation with what people say and how they say it and finding offense in everything said is happening, I suspect, for the same reason that dogs lick their genitals. It’s because they can. We have fostered the cult of victimhood to the point where no one can say anything about anyone without causing offense. Being offended by what are perceived as racist remarks has assumed a kind of “victim chic” status that tends to fill some individuals’ otherwise mundane and boring lives. Whatever happened to “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?