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The Race Essentialism of Ultra Woke Ontario Schools
The Toronto District School Board Talks About Diversity But Their Actions Tell A Different Story
The TDSB, like most public institutions in Canada, is operating within a framework of postmodern identity politics. Without going down a rabbit hole - where I risk losing the reader by seeking to define this undefinable identity-obsessed phenomenon - I will instead list a collection of terms that you most likely have come across. My aim, once you see them in paratactic juxtaposition, is to imbue a sense of the TDSB’s operational framework. Consider the following:
Social Justice; Wokeism; Critical Race Theory; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Antiracism & Anti-Oppression; Systemic or structural inequity; White Supremacy or Whiteness; White privilege, complicity, or fragility; Decolonise; Dismantle and Disrupt (especially systems of oppression); Gender Ideology (including assertions of there being dozens of genders); Trans-activism.
Each of the terms listed above would require its own essay to give a proper overview, and I have covered many of these ideas here, here, here and here. However, most people have a general sense of what these terms, and the relationships between them, imply. Those that study a little deeper often come out with an impression similar to the one I’ve formed. In a nutshell, because of postmodern identity politics, and extending broadly to many areas of modern society, it is no longer possible for us to do things that make sense.
The postmodern turn into identity politics represents a departure from reason. It is the dominance of the subjective over the objective. It favors storytelling over material evidence. “Truths” are always in the relativist plural, since a universal or objective truth is deemed racist. The terms I listed above, at least some of them, have recently appeared in much of the communications and literature from Ontario school boards.
Anti-Asian Racism and the TDSB
In looking comparatively at the numbers representative of the diversity/non-diversity among TDSB superintendents, I noticed some big disparities. There is an under-representation of Asian superintendents and an over-representation of Black superintendents. The information below is publicly available and can be easily harvested from the TDSB website. This discovery can be found in their 2020-2021 Senior Leadership Directory.
42% of TDSB Superintendents are Black yet 11% of TDSB Students are Black.
14% of TDSB Superintendents are Asian yet 40% of TDSB Students are Asian
We know different cultures have different values - who sits around the table matters. Many critics of the TDSB, and other Ontario school boards, have pointed to what appears to be a movement toward race essentialism, and a corresponding de-emphasis on academics. This is a big problem potentially resulting not only in kids feeling more divided from their classmates, but also because they are receiving a less rigorous academic education in the process (on a related note, I recently watched a talk from a “woke” professor who argued passionately that the term “rigor” is misogynistic).
If diversity is what the TDSB remains committed to, how do they explain the superintendent disparity? And more importantly, is the prioritization of the lofty goal of diversity sacrificing quality of academic education?
Meanwhile, on Feb.9, 2021 the TDSB published an article to their website - ETFO, TDSB take action to address spike in anti-Asian racism during COVID-19 pandemic by creating resource for educators - in which they announced they “have partnered to develop Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators, a resource to empower educators to take action against anti-Asian racism,” and discuss the “rise in anti-Asian racism.”
Even though the EFTO president is quoted as saying “This timely and important resource aims to offer an urgent response to racism that has been accentuated during the global pandemic,” the only “evidence” provided of a rise in racism is the statement - “Anti-Asian violence has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Since then, both ETFO and TDSB have heard from educators, students and the community about their experiences confronting anti-Asian racism and its impact on the mental health, well-being and safety of educators, students, families and communities.”
It should go without saying that I stand firmly against racism and do not deny its existence (a common woke accusation directed at anyone who calls b/s on woke race hustlers). Casting doubt on claims of systemic racism is not the same as denying the existence of racism, but those who think it is are welcome to clutch at pearls until their knuckles bleed.
Before we pop the hood and have a look inside the engine of the TDSB anti-Asian racism report, I have to point out that time and time again Ontario school boards are relying on flimsy survey style data to support broad claims of systemic racism. It's more than a little fishy when you consider how many equity officers are working hard to find/invent the racism that justifies their employment. I digress.
Inside the Addressing Anti-Asian Racism report a statCan study is revealed to be the source of the “rise in anti-racism.” The study is the typical survey style perception data mentioned - the worst kind because of the focus on what people believe or feel to be true, which is not necessarily what IS true.
From the StatCan study:
“Overall, 21 per cent of respondents from visible minority groups reported that they believe discriminatory attacks or harassment occur sometimes or often in their neighbourhood – double the rate of those not considered visible minorities.”
We are not talking about actual attacks or harassment, we are talking about the belief that they are occurring. What matters more, what people believe is happening, or what is happening? Don’t we have ways of getting to the truth? Of course we do, but we aren’t interested in the actual truth, only the subjective truths of people claiming to be victims.
Could it be that the environment of postmodern identity politics has everyone primed for racism? Have we become hyper vigilant and always on the lookout for the “white patriarchy’s” evil and very much non-existent microaggression? Woke “victims” conflate feelings and perceptions and make accusations of microaggressions - and you must believe them! The only reason ever given why you must believe them (without any other corroborating evidence) is simply that it is “their truth.” You also must believe that the invisible non-existent microaggression (that only they can perceive), is evidence of systemic racism.
All of this leads to a number of questions; Isn’t aggression kind of macro by nature? How much are you really hurt by a microaggression? And, perhaps most glaringly, what the hell is a microaggression? Because it sounds a lot like a thing you can just accuse anyone of at any time (especially the white Folks).
The “microaggression” has a magic power where you are not actually harmed by it (due to the micro level of the “assault”) but you still get to claim victim status and receive victim benefits. At this point, I would think that most race hustlers realize we are on to their scam. The microaggression is a weapon used by those who feel victimized in some way, to assert power over white people.
Let’s move on. Take a look at the following two paragraphs from the TDSB article:
“Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators provides a foundation for reflection, discussion and social justice action, and centres Indigeneity and Black lives within the document. It also solidifies the work of anti-racism as a practice and approach through understanding, interconnecting and allying multiple identities and issues.”
“The anti-Asian discrimination resurfacing today has deep historical, colonial roots in this country and this is an urgent time to ensure we end this troubled history of racism… At the same time, we must recognize that to enrich students’ knowledge and understanding of Canadian history, we must go beyond the curriculum to also affirm and value Black and Indigenous Peoples’ lives.”
I wonder if it was an Asian person who decided that in the anti-Asian racism literature used by the school board, Black and Indigenous people should be centered? What do you think? I emailed all the Asian Superintendents at the TDSB for comment on the TDSB’s racial disparity issues and gross failure to live up to equity claims - I would have asked them about the centering of Black and Indigenous lives in an anti-Asian racism context, and whether they felt it stole a bit of their anti-racism thunder - but I did not receive a response from any of the esteemed Asian TDSB superintendents. I guess they are cool with it.
But seriously, why are Black and Indigenous people being centered in a document about anti-Asian racism? Is it because no matter the time, place, situation, relevance, or historical context, the woke take every single opportunity virtually without exception to center Black and Indigenous people? And I know this sounds crazy but I feel I have no choice but to ask; why woke politics look so much like a covert Black power movement? Is that a coincidence?
And since we are going to gloss over Asian interests when it comes to anti-Asian racism, can I ask why there seems to be an overall lack of concern for, or interest in, centering Jewish people? Does the TDSB care about Jewish equity and representation? Even in the face of actual anti-semitism at the TDSB, the best Jews seem to get are hollow sounding half-hearted apologies. And of course, the thought of white people being centered for any reason whatsoever is laughable. The only thing white people get “centered” for is our awfulness.
In practice, and generally speaking, people are quite good at being reasonable. Sure we have our slip ups, it's not very common to see a human act unreasonable, but it does happen. Even still, we would never characterize our society as systemically unreasonable. Overt shows of racism are even less likely to be tolerated than unreasonable-ness, but yet we characterize the peaceful and harmonious societies of the west as systemically racist. Why do we do that?
Woke ideology, or postmodern identity politics, what James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose call “reified postmodernism,” is responsible for all this madness. Haven’t you wondered why identity is so important? And while no one would claim it is pointless or irrelevant; why the preoccupation with it? And why the obsession with diversity?
“Can you cite one speck of hard evidence of the benefits of "diversity" that we have heard gushed about for years? Evidence of its harm can be seen — written in blood — from Iraq to India, from Serbia to Sudan, from Fiji to the Philippines. It is scary how easily so many people can be brainwashed by sheer repetition of a word” - Thomas Sowell
The last thing I want to do is make wild accusations and get accused of being a tinfoil hat donning conspiratorialist, but don’t you think the TDSB ought to make their hiring practices and anti-racism initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion look a little less like a covert Black power takeover? Because the optics are a little suspect. My final question to Ontario minister of Education Stephen Leece is three letters; wtf?