Brian Bowman, the current mayor of the city in which I reside, Winnipeg, the capital city of the Province of Manitoba in the Dominion of Canada, is not a man noted for his intelligence. Indeed, as far as I can tell, he is noted for only two things. The first is his close resemblance in physical appearance to Jon Cryer, the actor who before he took on the role of Alan, the anal-retentive loser brother of Charlie, the drunken letch portrayed by Charlie Sheen on Three and a Half Men was best known for playing “Duckie” in the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink. I have long suspected that this is the real reason he was elected. If only a Charlie Sheen look-a-like- had run against him. Or, better yet, Charlie Sheen himself. Yes, Sheen has been struggling with a lot of personal demons in recent years, but the late Rob Ford struggled with many of those same demons in the city formerly known as York and he was the best mayor in the whole Dominion at the time. His brother Doug rose to the premiership of Upper Canada on his posthumous coattails although Doug has subsequently proven himself unworthy of the Rob Ford mantle. The second thing for which Bowman is noted is his act of hysterical wailing and hand-wringing over the evils of racism. Unlike the problems that Rob Ford and Charlie Sheen struggled with, this precludes one from being an excellent, or even a good mayor. Bowman’s example of the performance art of racially “woke” virtue-signaling is second to none in Canada, not even that of Captain Airhead himself, although Captain Airhead, who is also the country’s foremost blackface artist, retains the championship title for hypocrisy.
Bowman has declared this week to be Winnipeg’s first “Anti-Racism Week”. The official theme of the week’s events is “What would Winnipeg look like without racism?” If the organizers of this pompous display of left-wing pseudo-piety, including our feckless, inept and dimwitted mayor, were ever to learn the answer to this question, they would be horrified.
A Winnipeg without racism would be a Winnipeg in which people were no longer treated differently from others because of their skin colour or the place of origin of their ancestors. This means, among other things, that in a Winnipeg without racism, people with white skin colour, whose ancestors came from Europe and the British Isles, would no longer be treated as if they all shared a collective guilt for racism while people of all other skin colours and ancestry are treated as if they shared a collective innocent victimhood of racism. This is pretty much the opposite of what Bowman et al. envision a “Winnipeg without racism” as looking like.
While all these people who wear their “Anti-Racism” in prominent display on their sleeves like to adopt the stance of Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru towards racism that is directed against white people, such racism is not difficult to find. Earlier this week, all sorts of left-wing personalities found themselves with egg on their faces as they rushed to delete all the tweets and other social media posts in which they had spouted off about the evil, racist, white man who had shot up a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing ten people, before it was revealed that the shooter was a Syrian refugee who liked to rant on the internet about the evils of racism, Islamophobia, and Donald Trump. They had, of course, assumed the shooter was a white man in the vernacular sense of the term rather than the technical sense in which physical anthropology classifies East Indians and Arabs as part of the Caucasian race. This assumption was based upon a stereotype, the type of assumption they would have been the first to condemn had somebody mistakenly assumed the perpetrator of an inner-city mugging to be black or mistakenly assumed the culprit in some major financial swindle to be Jewish.
If you think the above example to be of a relatively minor form of racism consider this next example from last week. This too pertained to comments made about a mass murder, in this case the shooting spree that a sex addict had gone on in the massage parlours of Atlanta, Georgia on the sixteenth of this month. Since most of the people killed in this earlier massacre had been prostitutes of various East Asian ethnicities many had speculated that the crime had a racial motivation although the evidence seems to be against this interpretation of the event. One person who ran with this interpretation was Damon Young, co-founder of the blog Very Smart Brothas which operates under the umbrella of the older black e-zine The Root, and author of the 2019 book What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker. In a post on the seventeenth entitled “Whiteness is a Pandemic”, Young declared “whiteness” to be a “public health crisis” and “white supremacy” to be a virus which “will not die until there are no bodies left for it to infect. Which means the only way to stop it is to locate it, isolate it, extract it and kill it.” This is eliminationist language, the language of genocide, and the argument that seeks to explain this away as talking about “white supremacy”, a system, idea, or ideology rather than people is completely invalidated by the fact that Young uses “whiteness” and “white supremacy” interchangeably throughout his rant. Would-be defenders of Young might attempt to point to this usage as indicating that by “whiteness” Young means the system or ideology of white supremacy rather than “the condition of being white” as the term would be more naturally understood. Nobody, however, would accept that kind of reasoning as being valid in excusing the use of this sort of language in connection with “blackness” or any other “ness” other than whiteness.
This use of “whiteness”, a term that naturally suggests the condition of being fair skinned and of British or European descent, as if it was the designation of a system set up to limit power to white people and oppress all others, is not original with Young. This has been standard usage on the campuses of academe for decades now where it has always been accompanied by either calls for genocide that are cleverly excused as demands for the abolition of an unjust system or demands for the redress of racial grievances, real and otherwise, that are irresponsibly worded in eliminationist rhetoric, depending upon how much grace one wishes to extend to those, such as the late Noel Ignatiev, who use this kind of language in one’s interpretation of their motives. The University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg, both located in this city, are no exceptions to this, and, indeed, some might argue that they are among the worst universities in Canada for this sort of thing. That they are not among the first campuses that come to mind when this subject comes up is due to a dearth of high-profile incidents connected with these schools, which itself can be attributed to the national media not particularly caring about anything that goes on in Winnipeg.
The closest to a high-profile incident took place two and a half years ago when somebody put up signs saying “It’s okay to be white” on walls around the University of Manitoba. The CBC reported on this under the headline “Hate messages show up on the University of Manitoba campus”. Immediately beneath the headline is the sentence “Many students say they feel unsafe due to threatening nature of messages, union says”. Both the headline and this sentence were plainly nonsensical. The words “It’s okay to be white” make a simple, positive, assertion about white people. They do not express hatred of people who are not white or threaten people who are not white. They don’t say anything about people who are not white at all. To reject the statement “it’s okay to be white” is to affirm its negative counterpart “it’s not okay to be white”, and to affirm the latter is itself a racist act, because to say that it is not okay to be white is just as racist as to say that it is not okay to be black or to be any other race. Indeed, it is not just racist but racist of the genocidal or eliminationist type. While the left has recently decided that sex is no longer an immutable aspect of human reality, that people must choose or discover for themselves whether they are male, female or some other option, and that it is a horrible offense to reject a person’s own gender self-identification and stick to the older reality of sex, they have not yet applied the same lack of reasoning to race and so being white or black or whatever is still, for them as much as for rational people, something one does not choose, is born with, and cannot change, unless, perhaps, one is Michael Jackson, and so, the statement that it is not okay to be white is followed logically by the statement that white people must be eliminated. All of this is very obvious and all of the people cited in the CBC article – a student, an associate professor in the department of Native Studies, the head of the same department, the Students’ Union president, and the university president avoid all discussion of the actual content of the text of the posters they were denouncing. Their arguments – if you can call them that – were basically of either the “these posters are bad because they made me feel bad” or the “these posters are bad because bad people put them up” varieties. The lengthy quotation from University of Manitoba president David Barnard’s diatribe denouncing the posters left a very poor impression of the man’s intelligence and integrity. In reporting this sort of drivel, the CBC actually managed to compromise what little had remained up to that point of its journalistic standards.
Neither the explicitly eliminationist anti-whiteness rhetoric on campus nor the equation of even the simplest positive assertion about white people with hatred and threats towards non-white people appears to be of much concern to Brian Bowman and it is unlikely that his vision of a Winnipeg without racism would exclude these forms of racism. The only racism that he seems to recognize is racism directed towards BIPOC groups and even then only if it is perpetrated by whites and not by other BIPOC groups. This makes his anti-racism into something of a farce.
In Winnipeg, the emphasis of anti-racists like Bowman is on racism directed towards Native Indians. Indeed, Bowman who is white as a lily, identifies as Métis, in much the same way that Elizabeth Warren identifies as an Indian (a distant ancestor on his mother’s side was Cree). When he gave an interview about this at the beginning of his mayoral career his remarks seemed oddly racially condescending. He mentioned his mother making bannock and his getting into a fight at school over it when he was a kid almost as if these were his credentials for his racial self-identification. Many would consider this to be akin to pointing to one’s love of fried chicken and watermelon as proof of one’s blackness. In January of this year, he jumped on board the bandwagon of the “Not My Siloam” movement that sought, ultimately successfully, to remove Jim Bell as CEO of Siloam Mission, on the grounds that under his leadership the Christian homeless shelter had not done enough to promote Native Spirituality, a new religion invented in the late twentieth century that bears approximately the same relationship to the religions of the pre-evangelized Native Indians as Wicca, the twentieth century religion founded by Gerald Gardner, bears to the pre-Christian paganism of Britain and Europe. It would be interesting to know just how deeply Bowman looked into the facts of this “scandal” before getting involved. Did he ever learn, for example, that the font of most of the accusations against Bell was a disgruntled, ex-employee of Siloam, who had earned for herself a reputation within not just Siloam but the broader community of outreach to the homeless and indigent of extreme bigotry towards those who were not Native Indians, especially fair-skinned Christians of European ancestry, people of whom she seemed unable to speak without the use of pejoratives? I suspect the answer is no. Bowman’s most publicized initiative with regards to Native Indians has been his Indigenous heritage initiative. It consists of little more than looking into changing certain place names and altering the wording on certain historical markers. David Chartrand, the leader of the Manitoba Métis Federation was quoted by the Winnipeg Sun last month as being totally unimpressed, both by Bowman’s initiative and by the Year Zero, Cultural Maoist, monument toppling that was the context in which it was announced.
In recent months the broader North American anti-racist movement has been emphasizing racism directed towards “Asians”, a designation that lumps together certain nationalities from Asia on purely racial grounds despite the fact that these nationalities have historically hated each other and would have found the thought of being to be lumped together in a common identity with the others as utterly repulsive.
Needless to say, racism against Native Indians and racism against Asians are the types of racism that have been talked about most this week. The most interesting detail about these types of racism, however, has been conspicuously absent from the discussion. That detail is that explicit and outspoken racial animosity towards those of the ethnicities designated as Asian is far easier to find among Native Indians than among whites, and explicit statements of contempt for Native Indians are far easier to find among people of Asian ancestry than among whites The reason for this omission is easy to see – it doesn’t fit well into the narrative of Anti-Racism Week about how whites and only whites are the bad guys who are guilty of racism and all others are victims who must unite in solidarity against their common oppressors.
That narrative is total bunk, and therefore so is Anti-Racism Week.
Is it too late to draft Charlie Sheen to replace Brian Bowman as mayor of Winnipeg?