Freedom of speech and the right to genuine academic inquiry are essential to what I hold important in our culture. These values are often under attack by people who are driven by ideology. This ideology can be religious, political or ethnic. These ideologues want to stifle the freedom to think. They want ideology to trump freedom.Recently, in Canada, the leading national news magazine, MacLean’s, published an article that discussed attitudes towards the high numbers of people of Asian origin at our universities. The article seems to be to be a balanced and neutral description of widely held attitudes. Now a variety of Chinese-Canadians and other “progressives” are mounting a political campaign to force MacLean’s to apologize. Loudest amongst these voices are Vivienne Poy, a wealthy Senator, and Henry Yu, a professor at the University of British Columbia. Read the article and then read their comments. The problem is not so much that they are offended by the article. They are entitled to be offended whenever they want. The problem is that they want to use political muscle to muzzle the magazine. Scary stuff. But in our PC world, these things work. Henry Yu, who publicly laments that parts of Vancouver still don’t get it and are too white, recently received $900,000 from the Canadian Immigration department to develop a Chinese Canadian web portal. I commented in a letter to the paper here on this government largesse. The Federal Government funds ethnic revision of Canadian history.
UBC recently received $900,000 of tax-payer money to fund a Chinese-Canadian history web portal.
“Chinese migrants came to what is now British Columbia over two centuries ago, engaging with First Nations peoples at the same moment that the first
migrants from Europe arrived,” said Henry Yu, head of the portal project at UBC. “In other words, long before Confederation, the Chinese were part of the founding peoples of what would become Canada. “
Two Chinese crew members of a British ship visited the BC coast in 1788 and left. But many other visitors to Canada preceded them, Vikings, Basques, Italians including John Cabot, German and Dutch Loyalists, not to mention the Spanish and Russians who visited our Pacific shores in the 18th century, and many more.
What constitutes a founding people? Surely it has to do with the language, institutions, symbols and lasting traditions of the country, not who visited when.
Will this public money be spent on real scholarship here or merely on ethnic chest thumping? As to Poy, to appreciate her mindset, it is worthwhile to read her speech to the Progressive Muslim Society of December 2005. She is a Senator of Canada, and someone who has lived most of her life in Canada.
Here are some excerpts from the speech.
“( In Hong Kong) We had a manager who avoided pork. He was as Chinese as the rest of us…I called him uncle to show respect ..as little Chinese children do. …..From my knowledge the Muslims are the Hui minority ..they don’t look any different from other Chinese.” (To Poy, the Turkic Uighurs don’t exist, only the ethnic Chinese Muslims.)
“It surprises me when the tragic events or Sept. 11 are referred to as an “attack on civilization”..the assumption is that civilization is best represented by American culture.” (whose assumption?)
“Realizing the might of the Ming navy would da Gama have dared cross the Indian Ocean? Would the Chinese navy have been tempted to crush those little Portuguese boats? The question remains, which civilization is the greater civilization? ” (The true Chinese supremacist.)
“the Western world thinks that anything non-western is uncivilized” ( Is she not a part of the Western world, having lived and prospered here?)
“In France, despite French citizenship, it is immediately evident to all newcomers and their descendants that they are second class citizens and are expected to stay in their isolated areas” ( just plain ignorance) People can say what they want, in my view. But when they wanted to stifle others who do not fit into their agenda, it is time to fight back.