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When Accusations Abound Who Will Protect the Falsely Maligned?

Here’s a snapshot of my life, taken when my stroke-afflicted mother lived with me. I’d returned from errands and was just shutting the front door when I saw her in her wheelchair. The back of it was pitched forward at a steep angle and when she shifted slightly, I knew what was coming. I ran toward her, fell to my knees, and caught her just as she started sliding down.

Because of her almost total paralysis, her fall would have gone unbroken. Her head would have hit the seat of the chair first, then the metal foot brace, then the floor. Either she would have suffered a head injury or broken bones, likely in one of her hips. When I shouted for the personal support worker, I was panicked. Paralysed bodies are like dead weight — they are heavy and I wasn’t sure how long I could hold my mother up.

The worker, a visible minority and recent immigrant, was sitting on the couch behind my mother and couldn’t see what was happening. She slowly and deliberately put aside her homework — an open binder and some textbooks — and came to help me. Her annoyance at being interrupted was obvious. The emergency was taking her away from her real goal in life, becoming someone in her adopted country of Canada.

As academics will tell you, relying on one anecdote to prove a theory is unwise, but I’m going to do it anyway because this experience, which was only one of many, is emblematic of a deeper problem. There’s a disconnect between what many social justice warriors are doing — whipping up racial, gender and class tensions — and the real-life consequences they’re creating for those living off campus. In my panic, I’d spoken sharply to the young woman. I’d told her the angle at which she’d poised my mother was dangerous.

Her attitude became insouciant and knowing, and I realised that if I pursued the matter with the government agency that employed her, her race and immigrant status would likely become factors in my complaint, factors that would obscure the real problems, which were her lack of competency and interest in the job. In the Canadian version of the Biggest Victim Stakes, my mother, even with her age, disability and long-ago immigrant status, would lose.

***

Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor, has been making waves in the academic world over the issue of free speech. Among other things, he’s unhappy with the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s sloppy wording on issues involving the rights of those who wish to be addressed by gendered pronouns of their choice. Although Peterson is sympathetic to minorities (contrary to many incorrect reports circulating in the media), he says that making “unintentional” word choices deemed offensive equal to “intentional” word choices designed to offend, means that even innocent uses of these words can be treated as legal transgressions. It’s this distinction, and the potential it has to silence individuals, like professors, that concerns him.

Peterson and I are close in age, which means our experience of academic life exceeds 60 years. Both of us have seen two waves of political correctness create campuses where only two modes of discourse, if they can even be called that, come to dominate: paralysis and protest, with not much in between. Vigorous debates, where delicate matters can be decided democratically, have been replaced by hysterics, hashtag slacktivism, and fearsome, menacing mobs.

How did this start? Peterson’s belief that much of the trouble started in various Women’s Studies departments resonates. The shift from second to third wave feminism started on university campuses and was particularly fraught with ideological extremes, the confusions of which are still with us. Canadian writer and Nobel prize-winner, Alice Munro, sums up that shift in one of her stories. Her academic hero suffers an unsubstantiated accusation of sexual harassment and is forced into early retirement:

The shame he felt then was the shame of being duped, of not having noticed the change that was going on. And not one woman had made him aware of it. There had been the change in the past when so many women so suddenly became available — or it seemed that way to him — and now this new change, when they were saying that what happened was not what they had had in mind at all. They had collaborated because they were helpless and bewildered, and they had been injured by the whole thing, rather than delighted. Even when they had taken the initiative they had done so only because the cards were stacked against them.

I love this passage because it captures that window in the late 1980s when sexual politics on campus were especially turbulent. However, I quoted Munro for another reason: a second axis cuts through this ideological jungle, but is rarely acknowledged. That’s the ideological distance between those of us raised in rural areas, where the division of labour is relatively equal, and those raised in urban centres. (Munro, Peterson and I were all raised in less populated areas.)

If the vigour with which feminism was espoused by my urban peers was any indication, how they perceived the division of labour and other gender issues seemed to differ profoundly and cause significantly more bitterness among them. To this day I wonder if their bitterness wouldn’t have been eased if they’d taken even a minimal interest in rural life and the built-in equality that comes with it. Of course, neuroticism happens in the hinterlands too, and Munro frequently writes about it, but I’ve yet to hear a farmer’s wife complain about the gendered unfairness of her work.

So when it came to 80s feminism, the shift in focus from sexual freedom to sexual victimhood didn’t suit all of us and, for me, that was down to the narcissistic direction it was taking. My memory of my undergraduate years starts one way and ends in another accordingly. When I was a child, my father took our family to the building site of a new, local university. As we peered into the deep holes and concrete foundations that would become its library tower, my father’s sense of awe told me that attending university was hard work. The idea stuck and when I started my first degree, at 25, I worked slavishly because of it. My first year went by in a blur, as did my second. But by the third, in 1988, I had gained enough confidence to look up from my books once in a while, enough to realise that something seismic was going on.

It started with exhortations to explore my own history when I took a Women’s Studies course. The personal is political became the mantra of the time and, given my surname, I was encouraged, in a parallel fashion, to study Slavic writers instead of the ones I did want to study. That’s when the outward-facing perspective I had taken to my education — I wanted to absorb as much as I could from other people — started to feel like dissent.

That’s because my choice not to put myself at the centre of my own studies set me apart and not always in a good way. I was miffed at many aspects of the Zeitgeist, at what I divined was a hive mind bent on self-absorption. Worse, it made me look aloof; when I turned away from the kind of touchy-feely revelations my more tuned-in friends favoured, I was called arrogant. But for me, education was meant to feel like hard work with occasional bursts of fun; it was not supposed to feel like a long groping session with my own psyche. I didn’t come here to study myself, I remember thinking, confounded by yet another exhortation to do just that.

So I survived that complex shift in the ground, the one that had my hackles rising with skepticism. I resisted the temptation to make my life the focus of my degree, and that’s because I suspected a subtle form of recruitment was afoot, the draw being that personal and experiential university classes would be less challenging. That suspicion has receded and advanced over the years, but lately, it’s advanced and morphed into a string of memes I like to think of as Ph.D.s say the Darndest Things.

To wit: a law student wrote to a professor, politely arguing that the professor’s choice to wear a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt was inappropriate for a law class. That private message was made public — not a choice I would have made — and some academic friends of mine joined in with lambasting the student online. I know a potential flame-war when I see one, so I stayed out of it, but did wonder if any of them had thought about Themis, Goddess of Justice, that Titan who wears a blindfold and holds scales to indicate absolute impartiality.

Another wrote an open letter, widely disseminated, about how a certain music festival in Canada didn’t have enough female acts. The letter was addressed to the organisers, arguing that more were needed. That the music festival is for hardcore rock bands— which explains the dearth of female musicians— escaped her, as did the idea that splitting the world down the middle, by gender, would mean an awful lot of nurses and grade school teachers would have to be fired, and a multitude of four-year-olds, of both genders, disinvited from a lot of birthday parties. Why this obsession with a 50-50 world, I wondered? When did gross over-simplification take the place of actual thinking?

***

I started with an anecdote about my mother’s care because the practical (and troubling) effects of social justice warfare aren’t discussed often enough. That young woman who was careless with my mother knew she could use an accusation of racism to complicate any complaint I made. Home care — and I hope you’ll bear with me as I use another example — is a sphere where ethical hostage-taking is common. When I hired a live-in caregiver, through Canada’s live-in caregiver program, I was warned I could be hit with a nuisance suit worth several thousand dollars when his employment ended. Apparently, instructions for initiating nuisance suits is often promulgated at ethnic community centres and carried out by affiliated social justice lawyers, the kind of lawyers who specialise in narratives where families who can afford caregivers are naturally abusive.

Because they are often first generation Canadians or immigrants themselves, these lawyers get their zeal from a variation of that rags-to-riches narrative, that of the downtrodden immigrant done good. My caregiver did attempt to wrest several thousand dollars from my disabled mother (through me) by claiming he’d been underpaid, but because I’d taken precautions, his attempt at extortion failed. What struck me then were two things: one, that the narrative of an abused immigrant is powerful enough to eclipse even the clearest and simplest of truths; and two, that despite their self-styled halos, lawyers who fight for minority rights are, at times, the most dishonest lawyers out there.

If Canadians who believe that gender exists on a spectrum are free to choose their words and reality, Jordan Peterson, as someone who interacts with them, has a right to choose his words and reality too, however objectionable that concept of equality might seem. For my part, if I want to call a certain caregiver incompetent or dishonest, then I should be free to do so without having to hire a lawyer to protect me from zealously conceived and poorly articulated human rights laws. After all, my mother and other disabled and elderly Canadians have a right to safety too.

The image of Themis should stay with us as we consider Peterson’s actions, remembering that the principle of equity is a template into which values are supplied; it should not be about content, per se. What he is doing is encouraging us to see things at a meta-level, to pull back the lens through which we view these conflicts to allow us to see the battlefield of ideas in its entirety. His argument is that changing the rules of the battlefield — by making even thoughts and unintentional slights illegal — has the potential to convict us all. I agree. It’s alarming that so many students and academics frame their worldview with poorly informed ideas about social justice and consistently fail to question their value and veracity. Being unaware of that frame, and of its distorting powers, is a form of ignorance, one that I would argue is inexcusable in those who consider themselves enlightened. Following that timeline back to the 1980s, however, shows us exactly how ignorance on this scale happened.

Allowing one group to use freighted words like homophobe or racist or rapist to tarnish an individual’s reputation without proof violates a principle of fairness that some of us hold dear. If hate-speech is to be expanded in our criminal codes, and in Canada that seems inevitable, I suggest we include the egregious misuse of these accusations too. If we are to take the idea of diversity seriously, we can do no less for those who are falsely maligned.

 

Irene Ogrizek is a writer, teacher, and editor based in Montreal, Québec, Canada. Follow her on Twitter @ireneogrizek.

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37 Comments

  1. “f Canadians who believe that gender exists on a spectrum are free to choose their words and reality, Jordan Peterson, as someone who interacts with them, has a right to choose his words and reality too, however objectionable that concept of equality might seem.”

    Negative liberty. The problem is, freedom of (from) association is not allowed. Some are allowed to compel association*. Some are allowed to define, to authoritatively set truth (correct opinion). These are the “historically disadvantaged”. Currently, “social justice” – a form of distributive justice – doesn’t just distribute the right to compel association (be it in bathrooms, class rooms, board rooms, companies, or homes) but also redistributes the right to define truth — and creates a monopoly. (An interesting appeal to authority, to the authority of being (micro-)”oppressed”.) By virtue of their “lived experience”, “protected groups” have the privilege to cast aside your lived experience, your thoughts, and views, and to compel you to live in a way that serves their experience. Fun.

    *The roots become apparent in Brown v. Board of Education, a creature that has grown. (Cf. Wechsler, Neutral Principles.)

  2. David Creighton says

    The commenter before me was very eloquent. I will not be. If you take away my freedom of speech, I will take away your life.

  3. Young says

    To Irene Orizek,

    You are overgeneralizing from your difficult personal experience in hiring competent PSWs. How much did you pay anyways? Minimum wage? Was the service provided by OHIP? The quality of service tends to increase with the amount of salary you are willing to pay.

    I have a disabled family member but we will never consider outsourcing her care. I will never outsource my parents’ care. My parents said they would like to have a euthanasia than letting strangers to help them bathing, changing clothes and feeding.

    At higher salary you can even hire a Canadian born nurse.

    Not all visible minorities are out to get successful white professionals.

    So you were not hit with a legal bill because the judicial system is functioning properly in Canada. I understand people have a lot of anxiety about upcoming onslaught of sea-change in demographics and tandem shift in value system. Very often I go to a grocery store and everyone is speaking in foreign tongues. I feel so scared because what if I get assaulted and everybody provides a false eyewitness account protecting their own kind.

    I think you need to examine your bias.

    • Maureen says

      Young’s comment beautifully demonstrates what SJWs frequently do, and what the article itself laments. It’s all there: the snark, the virtue signaling, the sarcasm, the “not all” fluff (I have never, in my entire life, heard someone claim “all”), the oversimplification (as though what chiefly worries people about mass immigration is having to hear different languages spoken at the grocery store), all sprinkled with the obligatory accusations of racism throughout. The only thing missing here that is present in the typical SJW tirade is the profanity. Tired, pointless, and nonsensical, but a perfect illustration.

      • lloydphillips22 says

        I “noticed” it by the feeling i got while reading it. That feeling alone is not a basis for me to act (to comment), and is only a clue that something MIGHT be wrong. You articulated some of the valid reasons for those “feelings”. My unwillingness to reply based only on a feeling is another thing SJWs often lack. They FEEL and assume they have valid reasons, or maybe don’t even consider the reasons important and give precedence to the feeling. How arrogant.

    • @Young, you just simply proved her completely valid argument. Irene even professed to using the anecdote for this purpose, it was in fact an anecdote. To comment while demonstrating your lack of understanding her thesis and your primitive grasp of the greater argument, makes you look like a complete imbecile.

  4. top cap says

    It all began with gay marriage. Anyone opposing it was branded a heretic IE a bigot and a homophobe, an inbred backwater hick and everyone was so conditioned by the media TV and Hollywood to think of them not as sexual deviants but as funny, cute, colorful guys who just liked decorating and disco. The media also conditioned us that to disagree with their lifestyle, even in the mildest manner deserved the harshest smack down as if it was like supporting enslaving all the black folks all over again. They turned everything upside down. Evil is good and good is evil. Now the trans people , the pedophiles the perverts who want sex with animals or next of kin or what ever, have seen the lies and the bully tactics work and will use them too. They have the gall to shout “shame” at Dr Peterson when they dont even have the sense to be ashamed of their sin.

    • juniper says

      Your post is a shining example of the exact opposite of modern SJWs. Radical ideologies on opposite ends of the spectrum, boogiemen to each other and dragging everyone in the middle into a stupid war with impossible conversations. The SJWs make huge illogical leaps to everything being racism and discrimination, and your other side inevitably pulls out the “homosexuality is a gateway to raping children and animals” card. They say ‘white privilege’ and you say ‘sin’.

      You are quite free to say what you want, but I say you’re both bloody nuts. I suspect the majority of people are in this camp, but the screams of the fringe cover up the murmurs of the apathetic middle.

    • Thomas says

      Yeah, that’s terrible – people being “conditioned” to think of gays as human beings rather than just “sinful” “sexual deviants.”

      “Don’t even have the sense to be ashamed of their sin.”

      Almost all gays have felt shame for their “sin.” It doesn’t help. I’ve personally witnessed the happiness and peace that comes into the lives of young people when they learn to accept themselves and stop feeling like they’re wounded or damaged for being attracted to the “wrong people.” Yes, there are some very clear and obvious moral boundaries between two adult men consenting to be in a relationship and pedophilia or bestiality – that you need to hone your moral reasoning skills.

      I’ve met some gay people who were pretty crappy human beings, and others who were among the finest people I’ve ever ever. Anyone who tries to write them all off as mere “sexual deviants” is not someone whose opinions I can value or respect. (You’re still perfectly entitled to those opinions, of course – I’m just also very confident about saying that you’re completely, 100% wrong.)

      I share the irritation with the over-zealousness of social justice warriors, but your rhetoric is worse than anything I’ve heard from a SJW.

  5. Pingback: Healthcare, Halos, and Jordan Peterson | Irene Ogrizek

  6. yo yo ma says

    Props to Irene Ogrizek, for this wonderful piece. Fully support Jordan Peterson, I hope Canada can return to a state of sensible discourse, not this SJW crap that seems to permeate public life today.

  7. This is a great piece. Very refreshing to see someone take this approach, and to be so measured and careful in doing it. I can’s speak for Canada, but I’ve also thought that the rural/urban divide better tracks political divisions in the U.S. than a lot of other distinctions.

    Having been in academia for a decade, I’m continually struck by the contrast between the sensibilities characteristic of people with rural backgrounds and the concerns animating people in elite academic settings. The victimized posturing that passes muster for concern with ‘social justice’ in some quarters would be dealt with swiftly and decisively in most environments that are not circumscribed by the narratives promulgated among the elite-educated urban intelligentsia. We need more well-spoken and good-natured individuals able to bring that contrast into view today, it seems to me.

    • E . Clifford Ryden says

      Having grown up rural before attending higher education, most of us just say that we’ve found out that common sense isn’t.

  8. Irene Macintosh says

    Very good article. Since being a young woman ( I am age 66) I, like the author, have made much the same observations. The liberal left has lost its way and has become intolerant of differing views and opinions to the extent that they make me think of the political commissars in Stalin’s Russia, who enforced correct groupthink, stifled free thought and expression and cowed all but the bravest. What I find the most distressing is that so much of this goes on in Universities. More than 40 years ago when some students wanted to ban a speaker whose views they did not like even if invited by another student group, I was appalled. Silly me, I thought we went to university to be exposed to all manner of thought and opinion, especially that with which we might greatly disagree. I wonder what George Orwell would think of it all.

    • Rob Jesionowski says

      It is worse than Stalin’s Russia in this sense. The groupthink in the Soviet Union was the construct of a politicized minority imposed upon the remainder and maintained through violence and murder. In the 21st west, the left has magnificently achieved what the Bolsheviks could only dream of. A press and academia that is the vanguard of the brain washing, and a willing protector of the state and its puril SJW orthodoxy. In Pravda, the writers did their best to both not get shot and still somehow slip the truth past the editors. Now … oversight is not required. The 4th estate is the bastion of true belief in the need to obey. “Academics” are now high priest of the party line. Brave new world describes this predicament better than 1984.

  9. sarina singh says

    Dr. Peterson is a brave person to tackle such as important issue that affects each one of us who are concerned about liberty and freedom of speech. I think we are living in Orwellian times , and the language police is patrolling the streets, schools, boardrooms and media. I am deeply concerned about bill C-16 and its vague wording that leaves a majority us vulnerable to charges of bigotry. I admire Dr. Peterson immensely, it is a travesty that more academics are not joining him in denouncing the pronoun agenda. The banning of free speech, coersion of speech by the police state has no place in a free and democratic society. I worry for the future, if people are so upset and up in arms about the fact that nobody will adhere to the nonsense of using 56 pronouns – how can society as a collective move forward to tackle important issues of our time such as global warming. I’m afraid this legislation will breed hatred and anger in normal/sane people who will consider electing extremely radical political groups into government in the future.

  10. Lynette says

    Wow. Identifying a probably slack and disinterested (minimum wage?) employee and then making a generalised inference about this somehow relating to her immigrant/minority status. Utter garbage (even for this blog).

    • Maureen says

      Nope. You completely missed the point. The immigrant/minority status was a chief factor in weighing whether or not to fire the slack and disinterested employee, who could then cry racism and sue, even though the firing would have been completely about performance and not at all about race or ethnicity. A white, Canadian-born underperformer could be fired without having to do that kind of calculation, because such a person could not play the discrimintation card. Perhaps you would benefit from reading the article a second (or possibly first) time.

      • Lynette says

        Read it again… ‘she slowly and deliberately…came to help me’. What is the sackable offence here? Slow reaction times? Lack of training?

        The writer clearly has pre-existing biases and your arguments around preferential treatment are entirely inconsistent with what research tells us. I.e. that new immigrants and ethnic minorities are much more likely to experience mistreatment in employment matters (i.e. pay below minimum wage, zero hours contracts, no contracts, unfair dismissals etc.)

        • Maureen says

          Oh. Well, then. If “research” tells us this, then I am intellectually outgunned. Far be it for me to argue with Research, especially when it is based on probability. If the Research you invoke claims that immigrants and minorities are more likely to experience mistreatment, then I guess the issue of possible false discrimination claim doesn’t exist, and the author is simply a raving bigot for even considering the idea.

          And to answer your question, the sackable offense would be placing the author’s mother at an unsafe angle, putting her in a place where she couldn’t been seen by the worker, doing homework and ignoring the lady while she fell, and slowly reacting to the dangerous situation that the worker had created. Ostensibly, if the author is paying this person to care for her mother, she would be less than thrilled with this level of performance of duties. And she doesn’t have to be a KKK member to feel that way.

        • E . Clifford Ryden says

          You are kidding right? An employee actually engaged in this kind of job should have practically flown out from under her books to respond. Remember your words when you’re at a hospital and a busy RN can’t deliver your medication fast enough.

    • Actually, it was my mother’s safety that was the issue.

      None of these workers–the government home-care worker and my live-in–were earning minimum wage. They were earning well above it. (Gov’t home-care workers earn well–it’s considered something of a plum job.)

      I paid well because I wanted a contented person working for us. He also had a self-contained apartment–a granny flat–where he lived with his girlfriend and it came with paid utilities and wifi and cable television. I also paid for a gym membership for him.

      We reached a deal that on Friday afternoons he would be free as of 1 PM (he usually worked until 4) in return for 90 minutes of help on Saturday morning. So three hours off on Friday for half that time on Saturday morning. When he was leaving, he claimed we had no deal and that I owed him for 20 months worth of Saturday mornings at double time.

      The neurologist we had suggested that given my mother’s level of disability, I hire two live-ins, which we could not afford. My parents had owned a farm and the proceeds from it were what I used to pay for her care. So I became the night nurse and kept that up even after I went back to working full time.

      My mother is in a nursing home now–her health deteriorated to a point where I had no choice–and I pay a companion to help her during the day. I pay that companion $6 above the going rate because, again, I want a contented person helping my mother. That is coming out of her pension.

  11. Jaclyn says

    “If Canadians who believe that gender exists on a spectrum are free to choose their words and reality, Jordan Peterson, as someone who interacts with them, has a right to choose his words and reality too, however objectionable that concept of equality might seem.”

    Okay, but according this logic, people could construct a reality in which they see people of color as inferior, and so should this reality be protected and seen as equally valid? You seem to believe that gender identity is an “invented reality” but consider that race itself is biologically non-existent, and yet racism has a huge material impact on people in our society. The same goes for gender identity: trans people exist, non-binary people exist, and refusing to call them by their pronouns is discrimination which also has a material effect on these groups.

    Also, as far as I can tell, the legislation discussed simply expands the definition of groups protected from hate crimes. There is nothing written about use of language. However, the U of T can establish its own code of conduct requiring that all identities be respected (basic principles of most places of employment, folks). If I decided to refer to Professor Peterson solely as “Professor Dickhead,” in all of our personal correspondences, I could expect to face consequences whether social reprobation or disciplinary action. The same goes for disrespecting someone’s gender identity by refusing to use their preferred pronouns (which, when you think about it, is akin to refusing to call someone by their name since a pronoun essentially stands in place for a name or an identity).

    “Allowing one group to use freighted words like homophobe or racist or rapist to tarnish an individual’s reputation without proof violates a principle of fairness that some of us hold dear”

    If you say something bigoted, other people have the right to call you a bigot. In your case, no one accused you of racism for firing your employee. You said yourself that your employee accused you of underpayment. You gave no concrete evidence of immigrants “playing the race card” to win lawsuits against their employers, you just imply that they are getting “uppity” because they have more recourse to justice these days.

    • young says

      What I find disgusting about this Irene Oziek is that she is quite good at inserting innuendoes, suggesting stuffs without straightforwardly naming it. Her piece begins with one of the most personally painfully episodes in everyone’s life – the time when your aging parents need assistance for their basic functioning when you yourself is an aging senior. This is what precisely she is aiming at. A literary device, an emotional trap to lure in the readers and fix their gaze securely to her point of view. Very instinctively feminine writing. Strikingly manipulative. Dishonest in the way she raises accusations to that immigrant woman.Your employee’s immigrant status was not an issue but her incompetence at the job was.

      Another emotional trap was when she was mention her Daddy when she was little girl. How sweet.

      • You’re coming off very poorly young. Try not to impute so much of your emotional response to the piece into your verbal assessment of it. Oziek’s essay was calm and measured, addressing a number of contentious issues with a careful treatment of them. It would be better if you could do the same. For starters, you might try avoiding terms like the following:

        disgusting
        emotional trap
        instinctively feminine
        strikingly manipulate
        dishonest

        And you might also avoid trying to divine the mental states and hidden intentions of your interlocutor. Focus on what they say, not on how you respond to it.

    • Woman says

      You’re not making sensible points. If Irene’s story is somehow irrelevant to her feelings then every Trans persons experience is also irrelevant, and we should not take it seriously.

      You wouldn’t like that very much.

      Everyone on Earth is bias, and judgemental that’s how we move through our existence. Pretending otherwise is repressive nonsense so just stop.

  12. Great piece. Ironically, Themis on this picture doesn’t wear a blindfold that indicates absolute impartiality. Coincidence? Or does it represent the modern day state of justice?

  13. Scott says

    I had no idea Canadians, who typically have a reputation for being pleasant egalitarians, could be so blatantly classist and racist. Anything else you want to blame SJWs for? Maybe not every bad thing that happens to you is because you’re being subjugated by the race of the immigrants around you? You poor, poor, privileged white person, you.

    • Rob Jesionowski says

      You are a wonderful example of what Irene was writing about. You are almost a cartoon of it. Are you trolling?

  14. Since this keeps coming up: my father was a post-WW2 refugee and my mother a post-WW2 immigrant. Both experienced years of deprivation during that war. I did mention my mother’s status in the article.

  15. lutesuite says

    I remain puzzled by the anecdote that opens this article. For the sake of argument, let’s take it as a given that personal support worker was negligent in how she set up the wheelchair. Of what conceivable relevance to this is the fact the the worker is “a visible minority and recent immigrant”? And how did the writer know that any efforts to bring the worker’s negligence to her supervisors’ would result in the writer being accused of racism? She was able to divine all that from the worker’s “attitude”, which the writer interpreted as “insouciant and knowing”? Really?

    • Anonymous says

      “Of what conceivable relevance to this is the fact the the worker is “a visible minority and recent immigrant”?”

      Did you read the rest of the article? I will quote some of the relevant bits. If you want to disagree, fine. But please try to exercise charity.

      “There’s a disconnect between what many social justice warriors are doing — whipping up racial, gender and class tensions — and the real-life consequences they’re creating for those living off campus. In my panic, I’d spoken sharply to the young woman…and I realised that if I pursued the matter with the government agency that employed her, her race and immigrant status would likely become factors in my complaint, factors that would obscure the real problems, which were her lack of competency and interest in the job. In the Canadian version of the Biggest Victim Stakes, my mother, even with her age, disability and long-ago immigrant status, would lose.”

  16. Clayton says

    A necessary and timely article. Also, quite ironic that the detractors have nothing but the most vile accusations to spew forth. The cult of inclusiveness is clearly not going anywhere without a fight.

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