Sunday, January 29, 2023

"I am Canadian", and I engage in "Nice Racism"

I've been reading "NICE RACISM: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm" by Robin DiAngelo.


As I read, I can't help but have that "I Am Canadian" Molson slogan and commercial from a few decades ago in my mind.

 

  • I'm not a lumberjack, or a fur trader, but I support unrestricted resource extraction no matter what the harm
  • I don't live in an igloo, or eat blubber, or own a dogsled, and I have no concerns about the genocidal policies by Canadian Governments against the people who do. (This ramped up in the 1950's, even after Europe started to grapple with the concept of genocide in the late 1940's)
  • I live under a Constitutional Monarchy, not a self-determined responsible democracy
  • I believe it is perfectly reasonable to require someone to "swear (or affirm), That I will be faithful, And bear true allegiance" to a White Supremacist institution as a condition of becoming a Canadian Citizen, or to hold a wide variety of positions of authority (member of parliament, senator, etc).
  • I partly define my identity by thinking I, as a Canadian, am better than a citizen of the United States -- That Canada is better than the United States
  • I believe Canadians are polite people
  • I believe Racism is a US and not Canadian problem
  • I believe Canada is a "just society" and respects human rights domestically and internationally, even thought I have never read the Canadian Constitution, Canadian Charter, or the reports of any Human Rights body discussing Canada
  • I believe all Indigenous Nations on the northern part of this continent lost a war and ceded all their land to Britain and/or Canada in some distant past (that has nothing to do with today), even though nobody can name the wars, offer dates, or provide any documentation for these alleged events
  • I believe "We are a multicultural society"
  • I believe "We pay respect to Indigenous people"
  • I believe "Canada never had slavery"
  • My name is Russell, and I am Canadian!!!


The last three (before my name as the expected finale) were taken from page 98 of "Nice Racism", in a chapter discussing the moves to innocence of White progressives.

As a generalization, Canadians think of themselves as more "progressive" than citizens of the USA. Rather than this being a reason for Canadians to believe this book by a US author has nothing to do with them, it is actually part of what makes this book (as a percentage of the population) more about Canadians than US citizens.

US citizens tend to be more loud and proud patriotic people : Canadian identity includes the belief we are more "nice" and "polite".

I could go through each of the bullets I threw in above, but the ones from the book are a good start.

We are a multicultural society?

The Dominion of Canada is a bi-colonial (Britain, France) series of institutions.

During the P.E. Trudeau era, bi-colonialism was rebranded biculturalism (meaning English and French), and then dishonestly marketed as multiculturalism.

Even the notion that Canada is a "just society" was used as a rhetorical device by the Trudeau government as part of the marketing of what was essentially racist bi-colonial policies.

Culture is narrowly defined as food, clothing/fashion, and other more superficial things which people are allowed to maintain. When it comes to less superficial things it is made clear in the new so-called "Charter of Rights and Freedoms" passed as part of Canada Act 1982 that the official languages, worldviews and laws of Canada remain British and French.

Even though this continent has been a polyglot for tens of thousands of years, with many nations and worldviews, two foreign European worldviews are aggressively imposed by the Dominion of Canada governments.

While Canadian loyalists are quick to call Quebec's Bill 96 racist, they are generally unwilling to recognize that Canada's Charter and most of the core policies of the Trudeau government are far more racist. The Charter isn't a temporary provincial bill that can easily be changed, but part of the racist Canadian legal framework that other bills (including Bill 96) are judged by.


If you have done some of the work to learn about Racism and White Supremacy (systems, not about individuals), you will notice what qualifies as "Rights and Freedoms" has a clear White racial frame that is narrowly focused on the concerns of peoples that emerged from the unique history of Western Europe (a focus on Britain and France).

We pay respect to Indigenous people?

Also during the P.E. Trudeau Era, Trudeau's Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chr├ętien, tabled what ended up being called the "1969 White Paper". This was the then Liberal government's "final solution" to the so-called "Indian Problem". It would be a final "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" policy that wiped out any respect or recognition of Indigenous peoples.

The Trudeau Government tried this again in the 1980's during the so-called "patriation" of the Constitution, and required the Constitutional Express to ensure that the Trudeau's governments Racist/Genocidal ideology wasn't fully encoded in Canada Act 1982.

I mention P.E. Trudeau as many Canadians believe he was a "progressive" Prime Minister. His attitude towards Indigenous Peoples, who he regularly claimed were a conquered people and his support of many genocidal policies, is actually quite informative for understanding what qualifies as "progressive" by Canadians. The younger Trudeau uses more careful and "politically correct" language, but upholds the same general policy goals of his father's government.

I was born in 1968, the same year P.E. Trudeau first became Prime Minister. I believe that P.E. Trudeau was the most visibly racist Prime Minister during my lifetime, as the marketing of racist policies has radically changed over my lifetime even if the overall policy goals have not.


Some individuals may have stopped openly calling for "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" genocidal policies, and some believe in "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion" of Indigenous peoples into Canadian society.  They may not recognize that advocating for inclusion into colonial "Canadian" law/society is itself disrespectful, and is in fact the goal of most of Canada's "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" genocidal policies.


There are some individual Canadians who are advocating the recognition of the Right of Self-Determination of Indigenous peoples. This is a right recognized in the UN Charter that Canada has aggressively opposed starting before the (Eurocentric) League of Nations became the United Nations. Canada was one of the 4 offensive nations that voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which also recognizes the Right of Self-Determination.

As punishment for sending a representative to the League of Nations in 1923 to have their Right of Self-Determination recognized, Canada sent in the RCMP in 1924 to forcibly depose the Haudenosaunee Confederacy -- the oldest Participatory Democracy on the Planet. Canada still refuses to recognize the right of self-determination, or allow any responsible government to be seen to represent Indigenous nations to the Canadian government under Section 35 of Canada's own constitution. Opposing democracy and responsible governments, Canada still relies on the fundamentally racist section 91(24) of Canada's Constitution to determine who to limit "consultation" of Indigenous individuals to.

Imagine for a second if Germany had a section of their constitution that granted Power to a specific level of government for "Jews, and Lands reserved for the Jews". Once you do, you can begin to understand how Racist Canada's Constitution and laws derived from it are.


Note the "s" in peoples: This isn't related to individuals or Canada's alleged multiculturalism. This involves many different nations/peoples and not some pan-Indigenous concept. Canada was one of the Eurocentric "nations" that opposed the rights of "peoples" being protected in the so-called "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", which itself constituted a rejection of the notion that UN UDHR is universal. Rights recognized in that declaration are focused on individuals.

These are basic Human Right of peoples that Canada actively denies: Canada is not respectful of Indigenous peoples or their rights, and many genocidal policies are ongoing.

Some individual Canadian genocidal policies like Residential Schools have recently (within my lifetime) ended, but the overall genocidal policy goals simply moved to the child welfare and other systems.

Most Canadians, however, believe the myth that Canada (the system, the governments, etc) are a force for good and justice in the world, and do not feel any personal responsibility for ongoing genocidal policies that these governments do in their name (and thus they DO have responsibilities, even if they are unaware of the harm from their individual action or inaction).


Canada never had slavery?


I have heard this my entire life, and even when growing up the dates never matched up in my head. I assumed, because of what I now recognize as mild autism on my part, that I was wrong and didn't understand.

In 1833 Britain started on a gradual project to abolish slavery. It was not made immediately illegal in the entire of the British Empire, and Britain even compensated so-called "owners" for this gradual policy change.

The USA claims they abolished slavery in 1865, at the end of what they called the "American Civil War", the second of such civil wars where British colonies on this continent fought each other to separate from each other.

Britain unilaterally created the Dominion of Canada in 1867: without the permission or even awareness of the vast majority of inhabitants of the lands that were alleged to be governed by "Canada" at the time. There was then the massive violent colonial expansion of Canada on this continent that happened after that date. (The gc.ca map shows the dates, but the explanations are pretty much propaganda.  Canada never legally acquired "Rupert's Land and the North Western Territory", etc).


A component of the belief Canada never had slavery is that anything that these individuals or their colonial governments did prior to the passage of the first of 11 BNA Acts doesn't count. Somehow what people in these colonies thought and did magically changed between that bill receiving Royal Assent on 29th March 1867 and going into effect 1st July 1867.


The Underground Railroad went both ways across the imaginary line drawn between colonies who remained loyal to Britain and the 13 British colonies that launched the first civil war between British colonies on this continent to separate (what the USA labels a War of Independence 1775-1783).

The primary differences between the United States, Canada, and the Confederate States was not morality, but economic: The economies of the most southern British colonies on this continent were more dependent on cheap labor (slavery is primarily an economic policy), while the more northern regions were moving into other industries.  Where the south relied on cheap labor, the north relied on cheap resources (and thus more aggressive dispossession of Indigenous jurisdiction over land from which these resources would be extracted without concern for any future consequences).



 

As I discuss each of these aspects of Canadian Culture, I am including myself. I have been part of and indoctrinated by Canadian Culture. It is only recently that I have become aware of and capable of questioning some of those myths.

One of the book chapters is titled "Let's talk about shame".

DiAngelo included a quote from an article by Joseph Burgo Ph.D..

Although many people use the two words "guilt" and "shame" interchangeably, from a psychological perspective, they actually refer to different experiences. Guilt and shame sometimes go hand in hand; the same action may give rise to feelings of both shame and guilt, where the former reflects how we feel about ourselves and the latter involves an awareness that our actions have injured someone else. In other words, shame relates to self; guilt to others.

DiAngelo discusses how White people are often more comfortable expressing shame than guilt as guilt suggests we are personally responsible and that they need to do something (do better, be better). Shame doesn't suggest there is anything to do -- you are what you are, and that's it.

I have realized that I don't feel shame or guilt when it comes to my Whiteness. It is possible that the way that I think might help fellow White people move away from trying to protect their personal comfort/feelings/reputation/etc and move on to helping fix structural problems.


I look at Racism and other systems/policies like I do technology.

What I am, my phenotype including my lack of melanin in my skin, is hardware. Biology is hardware.

Isms, like Capitalism, Socialism, Colonialism, Racism, Androcentrism, Anthropocentrism are software.



I personally categorize some of these systems as malware, and societies with these systems are in need of anti-virus and other anti-malware work.



I know for a FACT I'm deeply personally infected with Racism. This malware causes me to have harmed and continue to harm other people, and I have further infected other people because Racism is contagious.

I am publicly admitting I have engaged in Racist activities. For most of my life I have actively upheld Racist policies because I had not yet recognized this set of software/policies as malware.

It will take a long time, if it is even possible in my time remaining alive, to entirely rid myself of the impacts from the malware infection of Racism. That is not an excuse to do nothing, but a recognition that I must put considerable time into anti-malware work.



These systemic/software problems are not about biology/hardware, and they are not something that we are. This is all software which can (an in the case of malware, must) change.

We should not feel shame, and we should never feel like there is nothing we can do.

I am quite angry with "Canada" (A set of policies, not a place or a group of people) which not only actively spreads and enforces malware, but seeks to make it illegal to work on anti-malware strategies. There is so much funding to spread Canadian malware, including entire Canadian Federal government departments.





I Am Canadian, but not a loyal, patriotic or proud Canadian.


Friday, January 13, 2023

Reviewing "Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders", a book about colonialism.

I posted a review of the book Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders on GoodReads.



The book was informative, but not what I expected. It was frustrating to read, and I had to put it down and do something else regularly.

Imagine a book about Xinjiang (New Frontier) that spoke as if all human history on that area of land started in 1955 (When Xinjiang was made an autonomous region by PRC) and made absolutely no mention of the Uyghurs. The book would be entirely quotes and discussion of jurisdictional squabbles between individual groups of Han Chinese politicians/bureaucrats, other Chinese colonies/autonomous regions/provinces, and the central People's Republic of China (PRC) government.

This is essentially what this book about is about, but for the British imposed colony of Newfoundland. The narrative is that Newfoundland was a "responsible government" in 1832 (a British colonial occupation is somehow claimed to be an example of self-determination), this artificial British granted legal fiction designation was rescinded in 1933, and Newfoundland became a province of the (also not self-determining, also not an example of "responsible government") Dominion of Canada in 1949.


Unlike with the Uyghurs who are relatively recent peoples to that region claimed by China, the Inuit, the Innu, the Mi'kmaq, and other Indigenous peoples have stewarded various parts of the lands some wish to call "Newfoundland and Labrador" for millennia.

The underlying policy discussed in the book is merely the British Empire consolidating debt and setting up protection of its British North American interests after the WW2, and yet this book claims there is something relating to "democracy" and "responsible government" involved.

Page 62 provides a good summary in the form of a quote from Hume Wrong:

"considerable interest in the House of Commons in the status of Newfoundland, adding that there was a strong feeling that the present system of commission of government over a people of purely British stock was repugnant to a great many members."


This book helpful in understanding what White Supremacy is, and learning about individuals that remain loyal to those worldviews, policies, and institutions.

Newfoundland stands as a cautionary tale of why we should be concerned about what China is doing in what it calls Xinjiang, given how much more damage the British Empire (re-branded Commonwealth, FVEY, etc) is causing and has yet to be held to account in any way.