Self flagellation in Canada

This link, from Canada’s National Post via the news agency The Canadian Press, was sent to me by reader Rich Harkness, who noted, “As they say about the influx of critical race theory/intersectionality:   We are all on campus now!”

Well, we’re both on campus and also in a procession of penitentes from the Church of Wokeness, in which people who have said perfectly respectable things get demonized by the Offense Brigade. Rather than be smeared as a racist, the offenders then repeatedly lash their backs in contrition. Or, acknowledging their “privilege”, they beat their backs from the outset. It’s an embarrassing sight, amply on display in a recent debate in British Columbia.

First, John Horgan, premier of British Columbia and leader of the B.C. New Democratic Party, made a big-time slipup during an election debate. His opponent, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, avoided demonization by groveling from the outset. This article (click on screenshot) shows the self lashing proceeding fast and furious (click on screenshot):

Horgan’s slip, in quotes from the article:

Horgan shared his experience playing lacrosse as a youth, telling the debate moderator he doesn’t see colour.

Oops! BAD mistake! And now comes his fulsome apology:

On Wednesday, Horgan said he needs to be reminded daily that he does not face the challenges of systemic racism that many others do.

“As a personification of white privilege, I misspoke, words matter,” he said at a campaign stop at Richmond. “I deeply regret it, but I’m also committed to making sure that every day I’m reminded of the discomfort that I cause to people and I will work to correct that.”

Horgan said he did not intend to hurt people with his debate comments.

“I was jolted out of my comfort last night and I’m going to reflect on that,” he said. “I profoundly regret that I alienated and hurt people last night.”

In an earlier statement on Twitter, Horgan said he wished he had given a different answer during the debate when the three party leaders were asked how they have reckoned with white privilege.

“Saying ‘I don’t see colour’ causes pain and makes people feel unseen,” he wrote. “I’m sorry. I’ll never fully understand, as a white person, the lived reality of systemic racism. I’m listening, learning, and I’ll keep working every day to do better.”

Clearly people told him that “not seeing colour” was hurtful. But what an embarrassing display of craven pandering! “I don’t see color” doesn’t mean that black people get ignored; it means that people are treated the same regardless of race.

Wilkinson wasn’t quite as bad, but, as the article notes, he acknowledged several times his white male privilege. You have to do that these days, you know:

At the debate, Wilkinson discussed his time working in rural B.C. as a doctor in Indigenous communities, saying all people must be treated equally.

He expanded on his comments Wednesday at a campaign stop in Kitimat.

“In medical practice, I became very much aware of the particular struggles of Indigenous people in dealing with the health-care system and in dealing with society’s other structures,” Wilkinson said. “The idea that people in our society are somehow treated differently because of the colour of their skin or where they grew up or who their parents are is not acceptable.”

He said he grew up fortunate as a white male and it wasn’t until his teenage years that he realized he received different treatment than others.

“It’s wrong. It’s not fair,” said Wilkinson. “I’ve suggested in the (Liberal) platform there should be anti-racism training for everybody in the provincial government.”

Okay, there’s the obligatory anti-racism training, most likely along the lines of critical race theory. Wilkinson said that elected officials should also receive such training.

But wait! There’s more! The article goes on, and gets more and more cringe-worthy as others weigh in with their ideological bona fides:

The Green party’s Sonia Furstenau said at the debate she cannot comprehend that some mothers tell their children to be wary of the police. She pledged to work to end systemic racism, but admitted neither she nor the other two party leaders could ever grasp its nuances.

Prof. Annette Henry of the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice said she believes Furstenau gave the strongest answer in the debate, but Wilkinson and Horgan didn’t seem to understand what systemic racism is.

“I don’t really think they understand how they are implicated in everyday systemic racism and how the structures that we live in prevent people from access, prevent people from opportunities, prevent people from being educated, from getting adequate health care from getting adequate housing,” she said.

Lama Mugabo, a community engagement co-ordinator for the Hogan’s Alley Society, which advocates for Black people in Vancouver, said he wants a premier who sees colour.

“When you say you don’t see colour, what does that really mean?” he said. “I don’t want people not to see that I’m Black. I want them to appreciate that I’m Black and recognize my Blackness. I don’t want any special treatment, but I want to be acknowledged as such.”

Now of course Canadians are liable to be woker than Americans, if only because they are famously polite and don’t want to give offense to anyone. But even polite Canadians should refuse to put up with this brand of nonsense. And now, besides Land Acknowledgments, for which Canadians are also famous, we have Race Acknowledgments. “I’d like to begin by acknowledging that Ms. Mugabo is Black, and I deeply acknowledge her Blackness.”

This all demonstrates exactly what Bari Weiss said in her article in Tablet:

Racism is the gravest sin in American life. Who would ever want to be anything other than an anti-racist? And so under the guise of a righteous effort to achieve overdue justice and equality of opportunity for Black Americans, Kendi and his ideological allies are presenting Americans with a zero-sum choice: conform to their worldview or be indistinguishable from the likes of Richard Spencer.

68 Comments

  1. Armando
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I was born in Portugal, lived in the US (Tucson, AZ) for six years and have now been living in Vancouver, BC, for 11 years. I am now a Canadian Citizen and am proud of my double Portuguese Canadian identity. Not sure this background is all that important but there it is.
    I respectfully disagree with the take on your post. I do not think it is OK to “not see colour”. Honestly, not only because it is hurtful to others (I agree everything these days seem to be), but mostly because colour is there, people’s trajectories in life and society are very strongly influenced by their colour and not “seeing colour” is just oblivious to that reality. In my opinion, not “seeing colour” is just turning a blind eye to reality and being complicit with it. Again, I respect your position, but it seems to me that positions like the one expressed in your post are a part of the problem and thus will need to change if we are to live in a more just society.
    Love reading the blog, especially when it is evolution related!

    • Posted October 16, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Presumably you disagree with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s position as well.

      • Kenneth Webb
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        “I do not see color” is a succinct way of saying, “I do not judge, stereotype, or privilege anyone on the basis of race. I treat all people only on the basis of what they actually say and do.”

        The critical race theorists deny that this is possible, but I don’t understand why having it as an aspiration is considered morally culpable – so much so that it warrants these vituperative attacks and consequent groveling apologies.

        • eric
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          IMO the problem is that the phrase “I don’t see color” now connotes (IMO) something more like “I don’t see color…so what’s the big deal?” Using it in the first sense is a bit naive, sort of like using ‘all lives matter’ to express your feeling that all human lives matter. Why yes they do, but that particular phrase doesn’t mean just that any more, does it?

          I do agree that it’s a pretty small gaffe all things considered, and not the sort of mistake that anyone should abase themselves for. An almost 70-year-old used a phrase that connoted positive liberalism in the ’90s, but doesn’t really any more, in a somewhat inept attempt to say he tries to be fair to everyone. No biggie, get over it, move on.

          • Kenneth Webb
            Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            Don’t agree that “so what’s the big deal” or even “so nothing more needs to be done” are implicit in the remark but do agree that it puts too much emphasis on the moral exemplariness of the speaker and therefore indicates a tin ear in our present circumstances. However, I see nothing wrong at all in the aspiration itself. Perhaps, like many fundamental moral principles, it is best demonstrated rather than spoken. But if words are to be spoken, what are the right ones? – “I have different expectations, make different judgments, and treat people of colour differently than white people.”

            • eric
              Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

              if words are to be spoken, what are the right ones?

              Well I’m not a political speechwriter lol but I probably would’ve gone light on any “I… my experience…” type of statement and heavier on the “we have a problem, here’s how we can try and fix it” sort of statements.

              Yeah, I know the question was sort of rigged to get them to talk about their own past experiences with white privilege, but get out of that morass of talking about yourself with as few words as possible and tell people how you have their backs today.

      • savage
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Not with the actual MLK, I believe. But with the family-friendly version created a few decades after his death, without which he would probably be a lot more controversial as a figure.

    • Type Logician
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      When people say they don’t see color, what they almost invariably mean that they aren’t dealing with you in any other way than they would with any other human being. What counts, as Martin Luther King said–in hope–is the *content of their character*. You really think King would have agreed that the first thing a White person needs to do in dealing with a Black person is register their Blackness?? King’s vision was
      of a world in which our acknowledgement of our *common humanity* was the driver of how we interact with each other–our fellow-feelings for others as human beings, not immediately identifying them as Other via a racial, class, national or gender label.

      So let’s get specific. What exactly do you think ‘acknowledging their Blackness’ amounts to? Do you really think that, lacking that ‘acknowledgement’, it would be fair to infer that someone interacting with a Black person doesn’t actually recognize that that person is in fact Black? And how does that knee-jerk ‘acknowledgement’ improve morally on Martin Luther King’s ideal? Just what words would you use in trying to persuade the Reverend Dr. King that his vision was morally deficient to the one you’re espousing?

      • phoffman56
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Can anyone here give me even one specific incident where they have good reason to be certain that a person said “I don’t see colour”, or very close to that, and that the person saying it meant basically ‘I ignore people of colour and ignore their problems’ or worse ‘… do not believe there is any such problem, any such (so-called) systemic racism’?

        Maybe I’m living in a technicolor dreamworld, but it simply seems that this meaning has been foisted on us by the Woke. I had till very recently been sure the meaning was really the opposite almost, really the one that several people have mentioned, that it’s saying, and hopefully it’s true, that you treat everyone the same with respect to so-called ‘race’, or at least that one superficial indicator of that very weak and virtually unscientific word ‘race’.

        I suppose the solution is to simply stop using cute little indirect phrases like that. You’ll end up going on and on, like I’m afraid I do too much, trying to make your meaning completely clear to just about anyone, however stupid.

        My question above, asking for a clear example, is most specifically directed to Armando at the top, who seems to think the meaning is what the Woke are trying to foist on us.

        • Type Logician
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          Exactly.

        • Armando
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          I guess my message was a knee-jerk reaction to: ““I don’t see color” doesn’t mean that black people get ignored; it means that people are treated the same regardless of race.”
          I do think that if we want to live in a fair world that is equitable and provides everyone with a fair chance to succeed we do need to acknowledge race. Treating everyone the same after centuries of oppression, slavery and abuse, seems to me poised to ensure that we don’t reach that ideal (to me) society where your chance of making it in life, only depends on your inner qualities and your hard work and not on the color of your skin or the neighbourhood where you were born.
          So, no, I don’t have a specific example for you. I was not, and am not, trying to win points in a debate. Again, it was just a knee-jerk reaction to that ideal (misguided in my opinion) that if we all treat everyone the same everything will be fine. I fear it won’t.

          • GBJames
            Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            “we do need to acknowledge race”

            What exactly does this mean? It seems to be something more than saying “racism and the effects of racism still exist”. I have trouble imagining any but the most extreme right wing nuts disputing it.

          • Posted October 17, 2020 at 4:27 am | Permalink

            I do think that if we want to live in a fair world that is equitable and provides everyone with a fair chance to succeed we do need to acknowledge race. Treating everyone the same after centuries of oppression, slavery and abuse, seems to me poised to ensure that we don’t reach that ideal (to me) society where your chance of making it in life, only depends on your inner qualities and your hard work and not on the color of your skin or the neighbourhood where you were born.

            If it’s your thesis that some people come from disadvantaged backgrounds and therefore deserve some extra help in life e.g. maybe being cut some slack getting into college because their home circumstances impacted their grades, I agree with you but I would take each case on its individual merits.

            Where I disagree is in the idea that a whole class of people deserves positive discrimination based on some stereotypical group experience. No black person living in America today is disadvantaged because their ancestors in the 19th century were kept in chains. Their experiences of oppression are based in things that happen today and even these are varied. Compare a black gang member with Barack Obama.

            I am not guilty of slavery just because some slaveowners who lived two hundred years ago share the same skin colour as me. I am not guilty of oppressing blacks just because I share the same skin colour as Donald Trump (his natural one, of course).

            I will judge you by the content of your character, not the colour of your skin. Grant me the courtesy of doing the same.

          • sugould
            Posted October 17, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

            “…that if we all treat everyone the same everything will be fine. I fear it won’t.”

            Maybe if we actually tried it, instead of just paying lip-service to the concept, it just might.

            The lead-poisoned residents of Flint, Michigan, still without redress, might be happier to have real solutions to their problem, rather than woke officials with apologies. (I don’t think they have either, at this point.)

            • sugould
              Posted October 17, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

              “Maybe if we actually tried it,” was the only part that was supposed to be BF! Sorry!

        • eric
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          I’m not woke, and I’d say I’ve interpreted it to mean “I don’t see color…soooo, not my problem” for at least a couple of years now.

          Let me turn your question around: if you used the phrase publicly in a racially mixed group of non-woke people, let’s say all over 40, do you really think it would come off as positive? Not as a negative ‘not my problem’ sort of comment? I can’t really imagine many situations or audiences where that would come off as positive any more. Maybe on Fox & Friends.

          This is not IMO about wokes foisting some new meaning on us; I think the general interpretation shifted from positive to negative before they got their hooks in it.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          I personally know someone who claims to be color-blind but makes a point of knowing anything derogatory about Dr. King & other black activists. Just a coincidence, I suppose.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Yeah that “I don’t see colour” thing is out of context to what MLK said. He followed up with his remarks about content of your character vs the colour of your skin. Saying “I don’t see colour” is in a way denying that some of us don’t have the advantages of others and I think if you hear the rest of that politician’s answer it really is cringeworthy because he’s not talking about the content of character but people he’s met that weren’t white. How odd.

      And I have to say it’s just downright a lie. If you can’t see colour maybe you need your eyes checked. A friend and I used to play off this in our descriptions of ourselves as a “brown woman” and a “white woman”. It made white people uncomfortable. Russell Peters, the Canadian-Indian comedian does a whole riff on white people being uncomfortable describing someone by their race. I once met my Indian friend in a restaurant and told the person “I’m meeting my friend. She’s Indian.” I knew this made the person uncomfortable but jeez this is what my friend is and it makes it much easier to describe her accurately.

      • ruth
        Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        “on white people being uncomfortable describing someone by their race. ”

        Growing up as a German kid, I was socialized with the idea one absolutely shouldn’t describe someone by their race. That was antiracism and upper middle class wokeness/political correctness then. You were taught it did not matter and you shouldn’t notice it and it was Nazi racialism to notice or mention it. In describing a German with mixed African looks, you would avoid descriptions that alluded to race or skin colour (using clothing instead) and I find I still do and I find words like white/black offensive as well as tacky and very American. The word “race” was totally taboo in Germany, too, because Nazi associated, and it was quite a culture shock to me as a student to see American book covers with “Race” promiently in the title. It was also taboo in Germany to notice that Jewish people often have ethnotypical looks different from typical non-Jewish Germans. To ignore the taboo was like condoning Stürmer caricatures. Nazi racialist antisemitism was the main reason for the inculcation of blindness to physical ethnic characteristics in Germany. I remember reporting a teacher who had (innocently) mentioned someone’s Jewish look.
        A friend of mine was positively indignant when an American army person she knew mentioned to her that the friends they were spending the evening with were black. (But it doesn’t matter!, she protested.) It turned out that it did matter after all, because “black” in the US may also connote a specific culture and way of presenting oneself. In Germany, for a long time after the war, most people with African ancestry were average Germans culturally.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          This is it exactly — black culture is derived from centuries of slavery and segregation, so being appreciated for being black is more than just admiring skin color.

          And it works on both sides — white culture in the U.S. derived from privilege for that same period of time, with stereotypes reinforced over & over through the media and elsewhere.

          So even when someone is an immigrant and not a descendent of a slave, whatever implicit or explicit racism still exists in white culture will be directed toward that person.

          Consider the racism directed toward Barack Obama, who was half white, lived almost his whole life with just his white parent & her parents, and never lived within black culture while growing up. He absorbed that culture later in life — as a defense mechanism? or because it was a more welcoming culture for him? I’d love to know more about his psychological development there.

          Anywho, yes, racism still exists, and being “colorblind” is not an option.

    • Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      ” … people’s trajectories in life and society are very strongly influenced by their colour …”

      That’s a rather contentious claim.

      There are *correlations* with colour, yes (but that does not imply causation). The claim that the colour strongly “influences” outcomes needs to be established by strong evidence.

      • davelenny
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        And even if colour strongly influencing people’s trajectories is partly true, the insistence on ‘seeing colour’ has become a demand that we presumptively stereotype the experiences, responses, values etcetera of the individual in front of us on the basis of generalisations about that person’s group.

  2. Posted October 16, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    So many kerfuffle em
    We may say people of all colors are equal, but I pay attention to those whose skin coloris used by others as a reason to subjugate them

  3. eric
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    First off, fully agree that the prostration is over the top. There’s simply no need to demand such an apology for a pretty simple gaffe.

    However, I also agree with Armando and disagree with this:

    “I don’t see color” doesn’t mean that black people get ignored; it means that people are treated the same regardless of race.

    Maybe that limited interpretation was the original intent, but IMO that phrase now conveys the notion that one is oblivious to race-based social problems – i.e. that they don’t see any problem they need to participate in fixing.

    To be blunt and somewhat non-PC, I think for a private citizen it’s often okay to say that. I don’t have the time, expertise, or motivation to fix every social problem, to be an activist about every good social cause. Nobody does. Out of pragmatic necessity, we have to pick our battles. But if you’re running for a high office, it’s different – yes, this IS your problem to help fix. If you’re going around asking to be elected a leader of society, you’d better say you see society’s problems, and you’d better have something cogent to say about how you want to address them.

    • Mike
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes exactly: private citizens aspiring to colour-blind interactions with other citizens +1; political leaders ignoring ongoing racism -1.

  4. GBJames
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    sub

  5. Mike
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    For context, the BC Liberal Party is our right-of-centre provincial party. So for their leader and candidate-to-be-premier (Wilkinson) to make the “I have Indigenous patients in my medical practice so I can’t be racist” argument shows how far progressive politics has advanced here. There are not enough conservatives in BC for him to win without appealing to progressive ideals. So that’s sort of good news. I don’t think BC is more woke than other parts of Canada (IDK about comparison to the US), but its politics are more progressive for sure.

    But it’s a mixed bag.

    There is systemic racism here. Life for most Indigenous people in Canada is full of hardship. A large proportion of them have ended up with mental illness and addictions, and many of those are incarcerated, directly as a result of the residential school disaster that was still ongoing in the 1980s. That effort to break up Indigenous families and communities, and absorb them into the majority culture, was truly racist and it was systemic. Plus there is still a lot of straight-up individual racism of the “yur a stupid drunk Indian” kind.

    On the other hand, BC is a very diverse place wrt ethnicity and culture. White Europeans are not even close to a majority, and there are lots of different people of colour in all walks of life. Not everyone gets along in all ways but it really is objectively pretty good and getting better in a Pinker sort of way.

    So when guys like Horgan say they don’t see colour, I do actually want him to say that he’s going to watch out for Indigenous people in particular because BC (and Canada in general) has a problem there that needs to be fixed.

    But when the CBC (which really is woke) or the Canadian Press trots out some random middle-class Black person to talk about wanting us to see his Blackness (the OP says “Ms. Mugabo” but Lama Mugabo is a Black man) I don’t take it too seriously and I don’t think anybody else should either. That’s just Canadian journalists piggybacking our anti-Indigenous racism problem on the visibility of the overall anti-black racism in the US that fills up Canadian news.

    I was going to call this my $0.02 but it’s too long so more like $0.05. Sorry for length.

    • Mike
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Here’s how bad it is by comparison to the US (per Wikipedia):

      In Canada, 5% of the population is Indigenous but 30% of incarcerated individuals are Indigenous (relative risk of incarceration is 6x).

      In the US, 12% of the population is Black and 42% of incarcerated individuals are Black (relative risk of incarceration 3.5x).

      IDK if the causes of those high incarceration rates are similar in the two countries. Many Indigenous Canadians in prison are there for crimes directly related to drug use (not drug dealing), alcoholism, mental illness, and homelessness arising directly from the disruption of their communities.

      • savage
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Interestingly, the relative risk of incarceration is higher for blacks in the UK. Is it due to the very lenient British justice system that only cares about the most heinous crimes? Or fewer other ethnic minorities?

        Australian Aborigines have an even higher incarceration risk: About 9 times! But they are not so plentiful, and a lot live in isolated communities.

        That being said, I won’t dare to cast judgment if even Canada has not found a way to solve this problem. I’d wager about any approach has been tried so far.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          Reconciliation is a big deal in Canada and something the federal government recognizes. Such things are so messy and difficult to correct but there are efforts being made even if they are small ones.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I agree with Indigenous people. Those awful residential schools were in effect up to 1996 and I had no idea this was going on. 1996! Let me say that again, 1996! It’s in the memory of people who are middle aged now. Generations affected by this abuse. Awful.

      • Mike
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Whoops yes sorry typo: “1990s” not “1980s”

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          Oh my emphasis wasn’t to point out a mistake (it’s correct that it was happening in the 80s) but to emphasize just how this was going on in very recent times.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the explanation. I appreciate this post.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I listened to the full response about playing lacrosse and such and I have to say that it made me cringe as did “I was a doctor” answer. It just sounded very much like “white hope” and “I have indigenous friends”. I really think these guys don’t get it especially in the time of reconciliation in Canada (for non Canadians this has nothing to do with being woke and you’ll need to look up truth and reconciliation for more information).

    And no, Canada is nowhere near as woke as the US where all the wokeness started. Having a stereotype of being polite (usually by Americans) doesn’t make us wussy or woke no more than the loudmouth American stereotype makes Americans rude.

    • GBJames
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I think we imported the Wokeness, in it’s original Postmodern form, from France.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Oh no! Poor France blamed again.

        • GBJames
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          If you were more woke you would have said “credited”! 😉

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

            I guess I’m just woke enough then. 😀

    • eric
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      I thought Wilkinson’s “I was a doctor” paragraph was okay. Maybe in written form the cringiness doesn’t come through, but I thought that he probably could’ve addressed the “have you beaten your white privilege today?” question in an adult manner by saying his background meant he didn’t really deal come into contact with the issue until medical school and medical practice, but now he understands it better.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        I think what bothered me about the doctor comment was it was all about him and his achievements. It came across as, I the doctor came to this little town and did so much good. I even had a kid named after me. And in that sense, it sounded a bit like “hey, I the white man, am here to help you poor unfortunate non whites”. Yeah, he probably didn’t intend that but I think what he doesn’t understand is how answering this way comes across….lack of awareness of how others see him.

        • eric
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I can see that. I agree and said something similar to another poster just now, but admittedly I didn’t make the connection to Wilkinson’s comment. Yes, even though the question is parsed as a ‘tell us about your own experiences’ question, probably the best way to handle would’ve been to minimize talking about ones-self and talk instead about collectively moving the country forward.

  7. jezgrove
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, looks like they’ll have to cancel Stevie Wonder: “Do you know, it’s funny,” he starts, “but I never thought of being blind as a disadvantage, and I never thought of being black as a disadvantage. I am what I am. I love me! And I don’t mean that egotistically – I love that God has allowed me to take whatever it was that I had and to make something out of it”. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/aug/30/stevie-wonder-blind-black-disadvantage

  8. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Mugabo clamors “I want them to appreciate that I’m Black and recognize my Blackness”. Those who make such calls might want to think for a moment about what they wish for. Thomas Robb, national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, would unquestionably fill the bill of recognizing Mr. Mugao’s Blackness. Then, we have Ms. Furstenau, the Green Party genius, who “admitted neither she nor the other two party leaders could ever grasp” the nuances of the “systemic racism” that is so difficult to understand. It is unclear whether her confession of boundless ignorance means nobody can possibly do anything about the system, or that nobody can cross the street without guidance from professional Diversity hustlers. These are all vacuous clichés of a new newspeak on which George Orwell would have gone to town.

  9. Timothy Reichert
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I live in BC and was watching this debate live. I knew immediately that Horgan was going to get roasted for his words and that a grovelling apology was immanent.

    Obviously I don’t think he deserves opprobrium but strategically he should have known better by now. It would be better said that “I don’t see race.” Obviously we all see colour differences. But those colour differences to the educated do not imply race difference. There is no “black race” or “white race.” We obviously see dark hair and light hair but we do not assign race to those differences in colour and neither should we with skin colour.

    Anyone who claims that they do see race is lying or just plain ignorant. You can only see with an electron microscope. And even then the category of race is still a controversial and dicey proposition in science.

    • Mike
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Well, ok, but as Robert@11 says down thread there is a well-understood meaning to the word race, and to the idea that Black or Indigenous people want their racial difference to be seen. When someone like Mugabo says that he wants people to “recognize my Blackness” it’s reasonable to suppose that he means something like “acknowledge the ways in which other people treat me badly because of my appearance.” But I share your opinion about Horgan and about the futility of specifying what biological races are.

      • Timothy Reichert
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        There’s no shortage of black people who agree with me an others that essentializing race is backwards thinking and counter productive to mitigating or eliminating racism.

        The black people who want us all to “see their blackness” are making an error if their goal is to end racism. Again, their position is not “the black position.” it is a position held by many black people and criticized by many other black people.

      • Mike
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Oh, yeah, I don’t disagree with you that essentializing race is a contentious and unproductive way to think and talk about these things. I guess I’m just articulating the view of those who don’t agree with you (or with me). I think people like Mugabo are getting in the way of progress on these problems.

  10. Timothy Reichert
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I just remembered that Horgan made another comment that I thought he was going to get roasted for. At one point he said something like “let’s not be wimps about this” and I thought the LGBTQ was going to roast him for that one. So far though I haven’t heard any hullabaloo about that one.

    • eric
      Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      ‘Wimp’ is an LGBTQ-related insult? When did that happen?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, that’s a new one to me too.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        All the dark matter suddenly is paying attention to the answer. 😀

      • Timothy Reichert
        Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        So I’ve been told. Somehow “all lives matter” became a racist term so there’s no rule in wokeness that it need to make sense.

        I also may be wrong about what word he used. it might have been “sissy.” Something that made me think he’s going to get roasted for it.

        • eric
          Posted October 16, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          I get all lives matter, that one’s easy. There’s plenty of analysis out there if you have a hard time with it.

          And yeah, I get the connection wimp -> sissy -> feminine man now that you mention it. It can certainly be used that way. I guess however I just wasn’t seeing that connotation in the Horgan comment you quote. His use is more related to ‘coward’ than ‘sissy’.

          • Timothy Reichert
            Posted October 16, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            “White lives matter” is clearly a racist statement.

            “Black lives matter” is clearly a racist statement.

            “All lives matter” is clearly an ant-racist statement.

            I don’t have a hard time with this. People arguing the other way around are clearly having a hard time with this.

            • eric
              Posted October 16, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

              “Black lives matter” is clearly a racist statement.

              No, it’s not, it’s recognizing that we have a social problem which isn’t everyone’s problem equally.

              Rosa Parks didn’t have an “all bus riders matter” problem, she had a black bus riders matter problem.

              Ezell Blair Jr. didn’t have an “all Woolworths lunch counter customers matter” problem, he had a black Woolworths lunch counter customers matter problem.

              The little rock nine didnt have an “all kids’ high school education matters” problem, they had a black kids’ high school education matters problem.

              When someone says “I work for a cure for cancer,” you don’t respond “well you should really work for a cure for ALL diseases – you’re just being bigoted otherwise.” That’s just stupid.

              We fix the problems we have, and sometimes that requires an inequal distribution of effort and resources because one part of society may have a more problems than another. Demanding an equal distribution of effort and resources in the face of such inequality is to remain intentionally or unintentionally blind to the reality of the situation.

              • Timothy Reichert
                Posted October 17, 2020 at 12:55 am | Permalink

                “We fix the problems we have,”

                Not with that slogan you’re not. Trump was elected 3 years after it was coined. Hard to imagine anyone thinking it’s working or that it has a chance of working. It’s a terrible slogan. It’s making things worse.

                John McWhorter, Glenn Loury, Coleman Hughs, Morgan Freeman…. They are black. Their lives matter. And they agree with me that the slogan “black lives matter” is a racist slogan and it’s not working. It’s anti-working.

                It’s not bigoted to point out a flawed strategy that is harming, not helping, a worthy cause. We don’t disagree on the problem. Just on this one ill conceived and doomed strategy.

            • ladyatheist
              Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

              “Black lives matter” is *NOT* a racist statement!

              It’s an outcry from people who have felt that the legal system treats them as if their lives don’t have any value.

              “All lives matter” is a statement that shows willful ignorance of the feelings of people who have been disproportionately targeted by the legal system. So while not overtly racist in its literal wording, it’s a statement of complicity in racist policing by refusing to acknowledge unfairness in our society.

  11. Posted October 16, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Just because someone infers something doesn’t mean that it was implied. I wish more people would respond to the various accusations by saying, “Look, I think you know what I meant, and you’re just being a**holes about it. Look at my record, look at how I behave, look at my words in context, and judge me by those things, not by a brief statement that happens to sound like something some people use to mean something else. If you can’t do that, and only the ‘gaffe’ matters to you, then I don’t see why I or anyone else should pay attention to what you say or think.”

  12. Posted October 16, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Canadians do say “sorry” a lot, so this is perfectly in character.

  13. Roo
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Lol, I feel like if Wokeness peaks and then loses momentum, a part of it will have to be that people of color eventually start to feel that they are in a sewper weird relationship with neurotic white people who, quite frankly, get pretty creepy about the whole thing. It’s all fun and games until you find them staring in your window at 3 am wanting to confess their feelings of inadequacy in the relationship and give you a lock of their hair or possibly left ear.

  14. Vaal
    Posted October 16, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t want people not to see that I’m Black. I want them to appreciate that I’m Black and recognize my Blackness. “

    I’m left wondering: what does that even mean?

    Am I, as a white person, supposed to be specially alert to people’s skin pigmentation? Is that the “blackness” I’m supposed to recognize and “appreciate?”

    Why? What is it about anyone’s skin color that entails they must be “appreciated” based on skin color?

    Surely of course recognizing blackness isn’t supposed to be that facile. Then, presumably, I’m supposed to recognize her “blackness” in terms of Black Culture?

    But…what does this mean? Upon seeing a “black skinned person” am I to automatically map some stereotypical “Black Culture” upon him or her? “Ah yes, you are a black person, so I can make these assumptions about you…”

    How does that do any good? Black people are as diverse as any other people. Black intellectuals like Glenn Loury (IIRC) have bristled at being automatically assumed via his skin color that he is in lock step with some “black culture.”

    Or, upon seeing the author is black, am I supposed to automatically think “Oh, this poor oppressed person?” and feel pity whenever I meet someone with black skin? How is that uplifting or helpful?

    So I don’t get it. We are supposed to become hyper-aware of race now, guaranteed to create an awkward dynamic, and to what end? It’s all so vague.

    One of my best friends, a pilot who is Guyanese/mixed race, is so p*ssed off with this critical race/intersectionality stuff.
    He finds it belittling, insulting, racist, backwards-facing, and it makes otherwise normal relationships awkward and charged.

    • sugould
      Posted October 17, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      I think he means, I want you to appreciate me for not only who I am as a person but that there may have been more barriers to my success than perhaps others.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        +++

  15. Posted October 17, 2020 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Is there some sort of transformation going on here? Where the woke HIT someone and lo and behold, the ‘HIT’ becomes woke.
    Bloody effective hoodo is that woke-ism. 🖖

  16. ladyatheist
    Posted October 17, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it kind of impossible not to see color? Unless you are literally blind, it’s the first thing you would notice about a person.


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