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  #6281  
Old Posted Yesterday, 11:02 AM
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I'd also add that France, for all its contemporary diversity-related woes and stirrings, is ironically perhaps the country in Europe which is the furthest along when it comes to a non-ethnic identity. If you look at French history both political and cultural there is a plethora of non-French sounding surnames that shows up far earlier than pretty much anywhere else in Europe. I suppose a case could be made that the UK and England are roughly equivalent to France in this respect at this specific moment, but I still think that deep diversity and the de-ethnicization of the national identity goes back quite a bit further in France.

I'd agree. The 4th Republic incorporating Algeria directly into France precluded an ethnic-identity France long ago. The diversity there today feels matured and natural. I've really enjoyed taking in the multiculturalism in both France and the UK. It adds to the uncanny experience of meeting the estranged parents who brought our mixed family of a country together.

It's crazy that white supremacists like the Christchurch shooter can go to Europe and be shocked that it's not 100% white. For all that they think white people are the best, they sure don't know much about what white people have done. Doubly crazy because they come from countries colonized by white people.
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  #6282  
Old Posted Yesterday, 1:43 PM
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I like the Nice Canadian template so much. It dovetails nicely with the points you two are making about accent, when I think about Nice Canadians talking themselves into knots trying to ask immigrants where they're from, without looking like a yokel who thinks everyone non-white is from somewhere else. "I don't want to presume but, I think, maybe, I - not to say that you don't speak perfect English; you do. But do I mayyyybe detect just a hint of an accent?"



The image is satisfying enough, in its own way.

Funnily enough, it actually has helped me understand your perspective. I'm going to do another "nice Canadian" thing and tell you that your experience is valid (empiricism is very English; this is where it leads). But I think there's a better analogue than race to fit your observations: sexuality.

Race is too inflexible to be a serious analogue for religion. It clearly can't change or be suppressed; it's solidly on the 'being' side of a behavior-being description of what a person is. It's also clearly visible in a way that religion isn't, which fouls up my intuitions about how comparable they could be, if not yours.

Sexuality satisfies all of your conditions, while being flexible and invisible. Most of us accept that sexuality, in its broadest strokes is innate and immutable--only the willfully ignorant and cruel still believe in conversion therapy--but we admit flexibility in how people explore, define, and practise their sexuality.

"Nice Canadians" may not go for those practices themselves. They may not accept many of those practices in cis-hets. But they tolerate or embrace them in the name of openness.

Now think of the homophobe's favourite line: "I respect their right to be gay, but do they have to act so gay?"

The correct response is that they can act however they damn well want. It's no skin off anyone's back (unless they're a consenting adult who's into that kind of thing).

Replace gay with Muslim or Jew and you get a picture of the inverse to the Anglo Canadian cultural consensus. One might ask why someone has to wear a hijab to work at the DMV. Strictly speaking, they don't have to. Not in the way they have to wear their skin colour. But they can wear whatever they damn well want. It's no skin off anyone's back (unless they're practising self-flagellation).

In this light, laws designed to protect a supposedly vulnerable secular state don't look so different from Poland's recent anti-"LGBT ideology" (whatever that's supposed to be) laws, designed to protect their supposedly vulnerable Roman Catholic state.

So, if someone wants to mince around the office in a tutu and a turban... I wouldn't do it myself--I'd probably even pillory a cis-het white person for punching down--but I will sit atop my rattan chair, twirl my moustache, and approve. In the name of openness.
My initial reaction to this was that the trans rights debate has been and is playing out in Quebec (pretty much the case in France as well AFAIK) largely the same as it has in anglosphere countries.

So there is not much of a discernible francophonie différence when it comes to this one.

I'd also add that the gay rights debate played out very slightly differently in Quebec than it did in Anglo-Canada and the USA, in the sense that public opinion was even more strongly in favour of extending full rights to gays.

But I'd still say there are often cultural differences at play, especially when you refer to stuff as being "no big deal". (Apologies for paraphrasing.)

One thing I've found is that anglophone culture is very laissez-faire when it comes to societal evolution. Society will go where it will go. "Social engineering" is often seen as a negative term by most people.

In France and in Quebec, there is more of a feeling that society is something to be (at least) guided.

In my youth, in an Ontario university, I remember debates over Quebec Bill 101 which was in the news at the time. This was not 1977 when it was enacted, but the early 90s when some court challenges came to a head.

Anyway, there weren't many people in my classes who were supportive of the law (myself included, I was against it at the time), and one of the main arguments against it was that it was social engineering (add sneers for full effect).

Some years later when I moved to Quebec and started engaging with Québécois more, I thought back upon those Ontario university days, and that if Québécois were accused of social engineering, their reaction would probably have been "So????" or maybe "well yeah, that's exactly the point!"

I think that the difference of opinion between Anglo-Canada and Quebec when it comes to stuff like Bill 21 might be rooted in alternative perceptions of how much society can and should be "shaped".

And if I can go back to the trans and gay rights debates, which aren't any more controversial in Quebec or even less, I suppose that most people feel that they're largely inconsequential when it comes to the future shape of society, based on a kind of Cartesian(?) logic that most people aren't going to "decide" (sic) or "convert" to being gay or trans simply because equal rights are being extended to them.

Whereas given the Québécois experience with religion, and the evolution of religion in the world, there is much more evidence that societal outcomes can have a lot of variability.
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  #6283  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:04 PM
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On the n-word controversy... but from the U.S.

I know I argue about slippery slopes sometimes, even if I don't often use that specific term.

But even I must admit I am surprised by this.

Law professor, had his classes cancelled, is barred from campus and is on admin leave - for using the N and B words in EXPURGATED (ie - not written out in full form) on an exam. One student who complained says that seeing N_____ written exactly like that on the exam gave them heart palpitations.

https://twitter.com/JohnHMcWhorter/s...67426205995008

In the ensuing debate on this matter it has emerged that some universities have also been exempting law students from discussions about rape cases, because they find hearing about these topics too troubling.

Someone retorted that that's like exempting students studying to be surgeons from any class where they'd see blood.
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  #6284  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:28 PM
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It's crazy that white supremacists like the Christchurch shooter can go to Europe and be shocked that it's not 100% white. For all that they think white people are the best, they sure don't know much about what white people have done.

Also, the idea of "the white race" in Europe is more than a little ahistorical. It was not so long ago that you could write something like "the Magyar race is alien to the Southern Slav in the following ways" and be greeted by sage nodding. Which is no endorsement, given the way this continent has fought... local lore holds that Sweden and Denmark have gone to war more often than any other two nations! But clearly "white people" is a non-starter outside of colonialism and its New World slave states.

It is best to speak of peoples as they speak of themselves.
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  #6285  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:41 PM
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Also, the idea of "the white race" in Europe is more than a little ahistorical. It was not so long ago that you could write something like "the Magyar race is alien to the Southern Slav in the following ways" and be greeted by sage nodding. Which is no endorsement, given the way this continent has fought... local lore holds that Sweden and Denmark have gone to war more often than any other two nations! But clearly "white people" is a non-starter outside of colonialism and its New World slave states.

It is best to speak of peoples as they speak of themselves.
Aside from listening to Beethoven's Ode to Joy as people like Merkel and Macron stand on a podium, I don't see much evidence that Europeans see themselves as one people or as "white people" with a lot of commonality. I suppose the trans-European identity might have some traction among the EU's administrative élites and kids of families that are transnational, but these are very much exceptions.

I probably wasn't the only new worlder that was shocked to learn that the one of the main Brexiteers' gripes about foreigners invading England actually targeted people from... Poland.

One does sometimes take on group identities that are generally absent in everyday life, when faced with a common adversary (ie Québécois never seem or feel more Canadian than when Team Canada is playing for hockey gold at the Olympics) but such instances of trans-national bonding would be even rarer for what we would call ''Europeans".
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  #6286  
Old Posted Yesterday, 3:20 PM
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The fact that Italian-Americans weren't considered white until the last 50 years tells you all you need to know about the idea that there's any pan-European racial identity outside of more recent extremists who've united in equally idiotic opposition to what they perceive as a Muslim horde or "Oriental" influence.

Are Russians white? Slavs? Jews? Greeks? Their answers to these examples can be very different to what the Nazis thought. It is absolutely insane that are Neo-Nazi groups in those places, and that Canadians/Americans of those origins sometimes partake in that activity. Slavs were likely next in the gas chamber if Germany got a hold on that territory, as soon as they were done with the Jews.



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  #6287  
Old Posted Today, 12:13 PM
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Great juxtaposition. It's like glancing at a broken clock and finding it's right, but only because it's reflected in a mirror.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
Also, the idea of "the white race" in Europe is more than a little ahistorical. It was not so long ago that you could write something like "the Magyar race is alien to the Southern Slav in the following ways" and be greeted by sage nodding. Which is no endorsement, given the way this continent has fought... local lore holds that Sweden and Denmark have gone to war more often than any other two nations! But clearly "white people" is a non-starter outside of colonialism and its New World slave states.

It is best to speak of peoples as they speak of themselves.
Sure, and Vik Orban still talks almost exactly that way. "We Magyar are more Asian than European" and so on, always as a preface to whining about how hard done by he is, that the EU and the international Jewry won't let him be the kind of tinpot dictator that lead Hungary down the wrong side of history all the livelong 20th century. As if they'd be better off as Kazakhstan.
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  #6288  
Old Posted Today, 1:52 PM
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My initial reaction to this was that the trans rights debate has been and is playing out in Quebec (pretty much the case in France as well AFAIK) largely the same as it has in anglosphere countries.

So there is not much of a discernible francophonie différence when it comes to this one.

I'd also add that the gay rights debate played out very slightly differently in Quebec than it did in Anglo-Canada and the USA, in the sense that public opinion was even more strongly in favour of extending full rights to gays.

But I'd still say there are often cultural differences at play, especially when you refer to stuff as being "no big deal". (Apologies for paraphrasing.)

One thing I've found is that anglophone culture is very laissez-faire when it comes to societal evolution. Society will go where it will go. "Social engineering" is often seen as a negative term by most people.

In France and in Quebec, there is more of a feeling that society is something to be (at least) guided.

In my youth, in an Ontario university, I remember debates over Quebec Bill 101 which was in the news at the time. This was not 1977 when it was enacted, but the early 90s when some court challenges came to a head.

Anyway, there weren't many people in my classes who were supportive of the law (myself included, I was against it at the time), and one of the main arguments against it was that it was social engineering (add sneers for full effect).

Some years later when I moved to Quebec and started engaging with Québécois more, I thought back upon those Ontario university days, and that if Québécois were accused of social engineering, their reaction would probably have been "So????" or maybe "well yeah, that's exactly the point!"

I think that the difference of opinion between Anglo-Canada and Quebec when it comes to stuff like Bill 21 might be rooted in alternative perceptions of how much society can and should be "shaped".

And if I can go back to the trans and gay rights debates, which aren't any more controversial in Quebec or even less, I suppose that most people feel that they're largely inconsequential when it comes to the future shape of society, based on a kind of Cartesian(?) logic that most people aren't going to "decide" (sic) or "convert" to being gay or trans simply because equal rights are being extended to them.

Whereas given the Québécois experience with religion, and the evolution of religion in the world, there is much more evidence that societal outcomes can have a lot of variability.
I was in highschool when provinces started legalizing gay marriage and the country started taking it seriously. I remember well that Quebec was a leader. It was a formative moment, personally, when the centre of mass around which my politics would swing crystallised. I was by no means an ally--teenage boys twenty years ago weren't--but when I saw conservative Canadians spastic rejection of gay rights, all I could think was, why do you care?

It's interesting that this kind of laissez-faire, "no big deal" consensus ultimately developed among all Canadians, French and English, on the matter, but doesn't in other cases. And you're right: it comes down to the history of religion in each culture. People may not think or talk about it as much as the Holocaust in Germany, but things like France's pogroms against the Huguenots could occupy a similarly reflexive place in cultural memory. Maybe my own instincts, as part of an English consensus, are a gag reflex at the excesses of the English Reformation.

If any of that is true, I still don't know that it makes for good policy for the future. Time will tell. My feeling is that in another hundred years religion will be next to irrelevant, with or without states keeping it out of their business.

That connects to the attitudes about social engineering that you've identified. Your story is familiar to me--I used to think social engineering was a bad idea; now, living outside the Anglosphere, I wish we'd try a bit harder. Social engineering happens whether we want it to or not. We'd be better off if we got on top of it, or at least paid honest attention to it, instead of dismissing the idea and pretending it's something we don't do.

The American Interstate Highway system is a great example. It was indisputably a case of social engineering that achieved exactly what it wanted and then some--with considerable downside. Now, attempts to reverse or rectify the downsides are sneered away as socialism, picking winners, or generally the kind of thing we don't do.

Meanwhile, the Anglosphere has blundered into a crisis of communication by letting social media disrupt journalism. All the polarization, vulnerability to foreign influence in democracy, and conspiracy theories we're dealing with are a result of it. We look at this as a sad inevitability we couldn't have helped. But how is it Germans still tuck into broadsheets (and rent DVDs!) like it's still 2002? Because they engineered their society to be invulnerable to that kind of disruption.
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  #6289  
Old Posted Today, 2:12 PM
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If any of that is true, I still don't know that it makes for good policy for the future. Time will tell. My feeling is that in another hundred years religion will be next to irrelevant, with or without states keeping it out of their business.
.
My view is more that belief systems saddled with dogmas and such are probably with us for good. They'll just have different names or morphologies.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi!
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  #6290  
Old Posted Today, 2:16 PM
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That connects to the attitudes about social engineering that you've identified. Your story is familiar to me--I used to think social engineering was a bad idea; now, living outside the Anglosphere, I wish we'd try a bit harder. Social engineering happens whether we want it to or not. We'd be better off if we got on top of it, or at least paid honest attention to it, instead of dismissing the idea and pretending it's something we don't do.
It's also arguably dangerous and makes one highly vulnerable when others around you are doing it (even if subtly or secretly) and you're adamant about not doing it at all.

Like playing a game of musical chairs where you can't be bothered to run for a spot, but everyone else does.

Very much enjoying this discussion BTW.
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  #6291  
Old Posted Today, 6:57 PM
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I was in highschool when provinces started legalizing gay marriage and the country started taking it seriously. I remember well that Quebec was a leader. It was a formative moment, personally, when the centre of mass around which my politics would swing crystallised. I was by no means an ally--teenage boys twenty years ago weren't--but when I saw conservative Canadians spastic rejection of gay rights, all I could think was, why do you care?

It's interesting that this kind of laissez-faire, "no big deal" consensus ultimately developed among all Canadians, French and English, on the matter, but doesn't in other cases. And you're right: it comes down to the history of religion in each culture. People may not think or talk about it as much as the Holocaust in Germany, but things like France's pogroms against the Huguenots could occupy a similarly reflexive place in cultural memory. Maybe my own instincts, as part of an English consensus, are a gag reflex at the excesses of the English Reformation.

If any of that is true, I still don't know that it makes for good policy for the future. Time will tell. My feeling is that in another hundred years religion will be next to irrelevant, with or without states keeping it out of their business.

That connects to the attitudes about social engineering that you've identified. Your story is familiar to me--I used to think social engineering was a bad idea; now, living outside the Anglosphere, I wish we'd try a bit harder. Social engineering happens whether we want it to or not. We'd be better off if we got on top of it, or at least paid honest attention to it, instead of dismissing the idea and pretending it's something we don't do.

The American Interstate Highway system is a great example. It was indisputably a case of social engineering that achieved exactly what it wanted and then some--with considerable downside. Now, attempts to reverse or rectify the downsides are sneered away as socialism, picking winners, or generally the kind of thing we don't do.

Meanwhile, the Anglosphere has blundered into a crisis of communication by letting social media disrupt journalism. All the polarization, vulnerability to foreign influence in democracy, and conspiracy theories we're dealing with are a result of it. We look at this as a sad inevitability we couldn't have helped. But how is it Germans still tuck into broadsheets (and rent DVDs!) like it's still 2002? Because they engineered their society to be invulnerable to that kind of disruption.
breaking my self-imposed exile from this thread only to say that this is a great post. well said.
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  #6292  
Old Posted Today, 7:22 PM
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Dispute over renaming a Vaughan school after Somali woman leads to charges of anti-Black racism, concerns of anti-Semitism

By Olivia Bowden
Staff Reporter
Fri., Jan. 22, 2021

"After a months-long consultation process with York Region community members to rename a Vaughan high school, a bitter dispute has led to accusations of anti-Semitism and resulting allegations of racism.

This week, the results of a community survey found a plurality of residents want the school to be named after a Somali-Canadian woman, the late journalist Hodan Nalayeh.

Now, David Sherman, a Board of Trustees member within the York Region District School Board, is alleging “certain groups” in the community have collected name submissions from outside the country to improperly bolster support for naming the school after Nalayeh.

Sherman claims that has led submissions to be overwhelmingly in favour of Nalayeh, contrary to what the “local community” wants.

Black community advocacy groups say Sherman’s comments are racist, and say Nalayeh’s name was legitimately the first choice of the highest number of those surveyed by the school board, in a fair process.

As well, two other trustees, including the board chair, said Sherman’s views do not reflect their views or those of the board and they see no issues with the survey.

Vaughan Secondary School is being renamed after groups including Parents of Black Children and the Vaughan African Canadian Association campaigned for months last year. Benjamin Vaughan was an 18th-century British slave owner.

Trustees unanimously agreed in mid-September to remove Vaughan’s name. A consultation process would seek a name more representative of the local community."

...


While Sherman told the Star he supports “the advocacy of grassroots groups to combat anti-Black racism,” he said the board needs to listen to “parents and current students” about name preferences. Further, he alleges the Vaughan African Canadian Association “objected to the inclusion of Holocaust survivors for mere consideration.”

Several members of community advocacy groups in York Region who are Black and picked Nalayeh’s name for the school said they never objected to Holocaust survivors being on the shortlist.

“I feel like he’s disenfranchising the Black community and Muslim community,” said Shernett Martin, the executive director of the Vaughan African Canadian Association, who led the campaign to change the school’s name. “It’s divisive, and it’s hurtful, that he’s trying to pit the Black community against perhaps another community.”


https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/202...vaughan-school
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