Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Toronto's Identity Politics


I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  Martin Luther King Jr.

A positive culture must have a positive set of values, and the dissentients must remain marginal, tending to make only marginal contributions. T.S. Eliot

Before Toronto expanded to its present boundaries, the city's motto extolled the virtues of Industry, Integrity, Intelligence. These civic ideals stood us in good stead since our founding in 1834.

To appease every enclave of the enlarged city, every activist and political-correctness enforcer, our motto was changed in 1998 to Diversity Our Strength.

Rather than celebrate mutually shared aspirations, such as the common good, our new motto invites us to observe what separates us racially, ethnically, sexually, politically, and financially. The city fell into the trap of identity politics with its hint of victimhood. Diversity is a condition, ideals are things to strive for.

The old motto encouraged a citizen to say, "Here I am. How can I help?" The new motto, "Here, Toronto, are my rights and my demands. What can you for for me and  my particular cause?" Each minority group clamours for its own representation, its own agenda, leading to fragmentation of civic purpose, quotas and overall negativity. This affirmative action guarantees we will not have the best qualified in positions of influence and authority, just an average of mediocrity.

An example of this will soon play out when the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal finds the Peel District School Board guilty of "systemic racism" -- a new addition to the ever-expanding Utopian lexicon.

The Tribunal will base its foregone decision on the fact that, while close to thirty per cent of Peel Region residents are South Asian, only two per cent of region school principals are from that part of the world. This feel-good presumption of racism is based on the attitude that lack of evidence constitutes proof.

The Tribunal's finding of "systemic racism" will be based on the feeling that public services must be delivered by people who reflect the colour, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference and residency of the citizens served.

Is it "systemic racism" that white people are not proportionally represented on the Raptors basketball team?

Inherent in this Utopian bias is the error that all are qualified to serve, to teach and to deliver government services. If the social and political views of my elected or appointed officials are more or less similar to mine, I do not care if he/she is a polka-dotted Brobdingnagian or a striped Luggnaggian.

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