A bold new way to slam Whitey
Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Jerry Seinfeld: Hello? Who is this? Donna Chang? Oh, I'm sorry, I must have dialed the wrong number.
Elaine Benes: Donna Chang?
Jerry: Should have talked to her. I love Chinese women.
Elaine: Isn't that a little racist?
Jerry: If I like their race, how can that be racist?
— Seinfeld Episode #90, The Chinese Woman, Oct. 13, 1994.
Great question, Jerry. And I know exactly the guy who can answer it: Pierre Deschamps. On Friday, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (HRT) adjudicator became the first jurist in recorded human history to convict someone of racial discrimination for praising visible minorities.
The “Deschamps Doctrine” was inspired by a certain Shiv Chopra, a disgruntled Health Canada microbiologist who spent the better part of his career haranguing colleagues with bitter accusations of ill-treatment. Friday's decision by Deschamps in the case of Chopra vs. Health Canada is only the latest in a mind-boggling stream of litigation that goes back almost two decades.
Like your typical white-collar human-rights complainant, Chopra was frustrated by a career stalled in middle management. He was particularly incensed when he was passed over for acting division chief — even though he went on to flunk a test that was a prerequisite for the post. From his early years as a drug evaluator at Health Canada, he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Colleagues complained he was authoritarian and confrontational — not the sort of scientist you wanted running a department.
A Punjabi Hindu who'd emigrated to Canada in the 1960s, Chopra decided there was a racist conspiracy against him. During 37 days of HRT hearings over the last two years, he let loose with a slew of theories about why he'd been denied the job– some so unhinged that even the otherwise sympathetic Deschamps chastised Chopra for undermining his own credibility.
But in the end, Deschamps still came down on Chopra's side — awarding him $4,000 in damages, plus a few thousand extra in interest and extra wages. The smoking gun: Ten years ago, on Feb. 9, 1998, Chopra was in the audience when his incoming boss, one Andre Lachance, introduced himself to colleagues with the declaration that — horror of horrors — “he liked visible minorities.”
Chopra declared this to be “a racist remark,” and used it as Exhibit A in his ongoing human rights nuisance suits. Deschamps bought the argument, concluding — without any sort of substantive explanation — that the 1998 comment was “discriminatory against Mr. Chopra as well as individuals who were non-white.”
It's not hard to divine the real reason for Lachance's Seinfeld- esque flourish: Race activists (including Chopra himself ) had made minority quotas a contentious issue at Health Canada in the 1990s. Lachance wanted to reassure his audience that — having come from another department with a diverse workforce — he had lots of positive experiences working with people from different backgrounds.
Chopra was the only audience member phobic enough to interpret the well-meaning comment as racist. (As Deschamps himself notes, several co-workers went on-record to disassociate themselves from his weird complaint.) But that didn't stop the Canadian Human Rights Commission from rolling forward — chewing up hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and untold man-hours investigating the ravings of a race-obsessed paranoiac.
Aside from being another advertisement for why we should be closing down Canada's human rights commissions, the episode nicely illustrates the absurd lengths to which our society's elites will now go to demonize Whitey. Used to be that us white males had to actually say or do something racist to get put on the human-rights dock. That criterion has now been downgraded to “preferred, but negotiable.”
It so happens that the very day the Deschamps Doctrine was announced on the HRT Web site, I received my review copy of A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada — in which left-wing Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul argues that Canada is “a Metis civilization” that owes all it has (except for the nasty racist bits, of course) to “Aboriginal inspiration.”
The question of how, exactly, a bunch of warring, pre-literate aboriginal hunter-gatherer societies could claim credit for the creation of a modern, democratic, capitalist, industrial powerhouse built entirely in a European image is one that, alas, I must leave for
others. That's because I could not get past Saul's ridiculous introduction, in which he claims, Deschamps-style, that white, liberal sympathy and guilt regarding the plight of Canada's natives are merely manifestations of– you guessed it — racism.
“We are careful not to ask ourselves whether those indigenous people over there want our sympathy or are interested in our guilt,” Saul writes. “Perhaps sympathy and guilt are inappropriate and paternalistic and insulting. Perhaps our sympathy is just a cleaned-up version of the old racist attitudes Perhaps the sympathy and guilt expressed toward Aboriginals are actually signs of non-Aboriginal self-denial ”
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Say, perhaps we should stop shipping off $8-billion a year to aboriginal chiefs — because all that guilt-motivated cash is just another expression of racism. With every dollar, a fresh slap in the face. Where do we get off?
Thus does the human-rights industry descend into self-parodic farce. Bereft of real cases to prosecute, the industry's mandarins instead bide their time prosecuting fake racism of the Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant variety. Or they surf the Web, trying desperately to entrap some confused headbanger into saying “Heil Hitler.” And when they can't accomplish even that, they cannibalize the very well-meaning sentiments — affection, guilt, sympathy, collegiality — once seen as the very hallmark of enlightened liberalism.
It would all be too hilarious for words — if it weren't for the fact that you and I are footing the bill. Whitey might not be good for much. But his cash is always welcome.