This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Calling Out Racism -- Or A New Inquisition?

"[Dr. Henry Parada, director of Ryerson University's School of Social Work committed a cardinal sin] at a time when Black folks were giving praise to a young Black woman professor at a critical and vulnerable time ..."
"[His actions] perpetrate anti-Black racism ... indicated ... you [Dr. Parada] do not value anti-Black women, Black educators or education, Black experience, Black life and ultimately Black students ..."
"You chose to violently disrupt the speaker and the space."
Black Liberation Collective Ryerson branch
Ryerson University
Ryerson University   Henry Parada
Dr. Parada may have recalled some urgent task he had forgotten to look after at that juncture in the meeting on October 27, as he quietly left the gathering. But his departure was noted as was his absence at this event which was Black-oriented, requiring the utmost, rapt attention from all in attendance. Dr. Parada may have been less than rapt, turning his attention away from the awarding of praise to a black colleague, and he was accused of having committed "a violent act of anti-Blackness, misogyny and misogynoir" which translated means misogyny related to a black female.

Campuses across North America have been gorging themselves on a feast of raucous, outraged organized protests against anything that occurs at colleges and universities that is taken as a symptom of 'micro-aggression'. Included in that catch-phrase is anything that appears to belittle a 'special' unprivileged minority, as interpreted by that minority, including cultural appropriation, where at special events someone might be misguided enough to dress in a manner reflecting a culture other than their own. White people are of course particularly skilled at insulting minority groups and most of the ire is directed toward them.

The Black Liberation Collective that appears to have Ryerson University quaking in its scholarly boots sent an open letter to senior university and social work administrators, dated October 31; the letter was posted to Facebook the following day. Accusing Dr. Parada of failing "to contain your anti-Black rage", being responsible for "a public display of toxic masculinity", demanding imperiously that he "immediately step down" as director of the school of social work. He must also apologize in a very public arena "and publicly release how you will genuinely address anti--Black racism".

The professor, recognizing just how powerfully privileged was the rage against him, did step down as director of the university's School of Social Work. Who can blame him? The intention being that he would resume teaching in the guise of just another academic without pretensions to leadership in the field that he had so abysmally failed in. Undoubtedly, although this must be a great relief to him, it appears only to have further infuriated the collective black-feminist rage against the man; his swift accommodation of the initial demand meant he wasn't bleeding sufficiently to satisfy their bloodlust.

The tenor of this almost-inchoate venomous rage might seem to some onlookers like a demonstration of black anti-white racism, but of course that could not possibly be the case, could it? The letter was signed "In rage, solidarity and kindness" by "concerned students" whose names were not included on the letter, as well being signed by the social work student union, the Ryerson Feminist Collective and United Black Students at Ryerson. The kind rage expressed by all concerned certainly released a flood of vitriol and race-consciousness.

Students at a Black Liberation Collective Ryerson protest during a School of Social Work meeting this week.
Facebook    Students at a Black Liberation Collective Ryerson protest during a School of Social Work meeting this week.

Then on November 7 another kind missive was posted on Facebook in response to a response to the first one by the university: "We hear your concerns about Anti-Black Racism in the school and want to assure you we take them seriously. We ask for your patience as we continue to work to respond to the people, communities and constituencies involved", read the first letter from the social work school. Cravenly mollifying, hoping against hope that the surrender to black racism disguised in an impenetrable cloak of justness would calm the situation and restore order and 'mutual respect', but it did nothing of the kind.

What it did was elicit yet another tirade on Facebook: "This disingenuous response to our open letter is just another display of the anti-Black racism perpetrated by the School of Social work and particular individuals who benefit from maintaining this system of Whiteness." Quite the zinger that, but it hasn't finished the matter by any means. Those curious about what led to this furious distance between black students and the university have been informed by the BLC: "We can appreciate wanting to know the specifics of this event", under questioning of the purpose and reason for the Facebook postings.

Earning, however, the logic-free elucidation that anyone curious about what had occurred to engender the verbal fusillades by the BLC against Algonquin were posing "problematic questioning" and as such were themselves aiding, abetting and adding "to the anti-Black racism we are confronting". Ask not what your black brothers and sisters do on your behalf oh ye underprivileged. So there, ask not what drastic malfeasance against the black community at the university so well earned its collective rage, for by so doing, it becomes evident that you are part of the white conspiracy against blacks.

"We indict the School of Social Work of perpetrating anti-Black racism through placing our Black educators in the most precarious forms of employment, through particular educators allowing Black students to experience anti-Black racism in the classroom." Cower and wilt thou guilty! Demanding to meet with a variety of deans as well as "other higher administration" prepared to make a commitment to "challenging anti-Black racism and anti-Native racism" in a way that the BLC could guide, approve and graciously deign to accept.

And not to be forgotten was the requirement that "an official apology from Henry Parada that names what he did and why he stepped down" be humbly rendered for their relishment.

Torquemada would beam with pride, extending sincere congratulations. But of course in doing so he might also be opening himself to charges of cultural exploitation and expropriation. Only his heart was black, not his skin colour.

The unaffected and bemused onlooker might surmise in his/her ignorance that Ryerson University welcomed this situation. A banner appears across its website that reads: "Anti-oppression/social transformation/social justice". And if that isn't enough, here is their values statement: "School of Social Work is a leader in critical education, research and practice with culturally and socially diverse students and communities in the advancement of anti-oppression/anti-racism, anti-Black racism, anti-colonialism/decolonization, Aboriginal reconciliation, feminism, anti-capitalism, queer and trans-liberation struggles, issues in disability and Madness, among other social justice struggles."

Gag? Some might consider this unreconstructed drivel, giving ammunition to the disaffected in society, simmering with resentment and hatred at the very reality that in the past, before civil society developed a deep conscience of regret and dismay at its former unfortunate attitudes of discrimination against minorities. Yes, people of colour among others were disgracefully felt to be inferior and treated to an inferior status within society. 

Ameliorating that situation by completely reversing the social contract to replace it with one of guaranteed equality and respect appears to have done little to appease these 'progressive', 'activist' groups. In which instance, one can be forgiven for regretting the current state of affairs, while deploring the rancid stupidity of those feeling entitled to their episodic raging accusations while they themselves practise the delights of racism-in-reverse, black-on-white.

As for Ryerson, once again, they appear to have invited and welcomed the situation that has resulted in the utter abnegation of their "core values" statement: "We acknowledge that our School is on the land of the Mississaugas of New Credit. We support the struggles of Indigenous populations, nationally and globally, for Indigenous sovereignty and their collective rights. We educate about the intersectionality and interlocking of oppressions and seek to address their causes."

"As a community of people connected to the School of Social Work we agree that we will address micro-aggression as it occurs and discuss how we might be implicated in acts of micro-aggression." Which leads naturally enough to the empowered communities thus named reacting in acts of macro- aggression.

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