Thursday, July 22, 2010

The White Folk are Alright

The Canadian Conservative government wants to do a review of hiring practices within the public service with a statement that hiring based on ethnicity is unfair and that this practice should be removed. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has made the argument that it's not fair to average white Canadians who pay taxes to tell them that they can't apply for certain jobs because they don't belong to a pre-determined ethnic group. What an argument.

Ignore the fact that affirmative action was put in place decades ago in order to ensure that women and minorities had a fair shake at jobs in the public service. Ignore also the fact that both women and minorities are far from taking over the top spots of government which are generally still reserved for white males (think of all those corner offices and six figure salaries and there's probably not a lot of people named Martha or Valkrim in those places). Even if you ignore all of that, this argument still doesn't hold.

Yeah, favouring ethnic groups for certain jobs in the government is unfair. You know what's also unfair? Favouring white people for those same jobs. You know what's also unfair? History, which dictates that for centuries, women and visible minorities have been the oppressed, the abused and the impoverished. You know what's also unfair? Life.

A quick look around the Cabinet will tell you that white people are doing ok. For all the talk about how affirmative action makes job competitions less about merit and more about race, it's hard to believe that the ethnic or the women will soon be taking over the seats of power. But I suppose it could happen, just one position at a time. It's true that once there were no women in offices. Now, there's lots of women in offices. People used to be afraid that pregnant women would cause trouble in offices and be a distraction. And now there are pregnant women in offices and accident rates have not soared through the roof.

It's funny that while women have done fairly well at balancing out the workforce, visible minorities in the public service have not fared as well. Visible minorities are still over-represented in other fields across the country and under-represented in comparison when it comes to the public service. I'll tell you one place where visible minorities appear to be taking over: Tim Horton's. They're all over those coffee shops. Hardly one white person over the age of 20 among them.

So the government is about to conduct a review to see if all the white people lining up at Tim Horton's in the morning while on their way to their public service jobs are about to be taken over by the visible minorities across the counter who are serving them their coffee?

Give me a break.

This is more over-reacting and pandering to the more conservative conservatives. This is another example of how this government looks to divide people on issues that were settled a long time ago: race, religion, rights.

This is also another example of plain meanness on behalf of the current regime, wanting to take away what grounds were gained by marginalized groups in the past and for which they fought a long hard battle and undo all the good in a day by calling them unnecessary and outdated.

It figures. Social justice is outdated and unneccessary, but meanness always thrives.

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