Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Chinese-Canadian Activism versus Academic Freedom

Chinese-Canadian Activism versus Academic Freedom

by Ricardo Duchesne
Albert Einstein on academic freedom
Einstein on March 13, 1954


Since January 8 through January 22, the main media outlets in Canada have paid considerable attention to my claim that mass immigration threatens Canada's European character. It all started back in early June when Vancouver city councillor, Kerry Jang, wrote a formal letter to the administration at The University of New Brunswick complaining about my allegedly "racist" views about Chinese Canadians simply on the grounds that I had published a number of articles in this blogCouncil of European Canadians, criticizing a motion passed by Raymond Louie, a Canadian with ancestry from China, urging council to direct staff to investigate discriminatory laws and policies imposed by the government on Chinese immigrants in the city between 1886 and 1947, in order to come up with recommendations for "reconciliation efforts." 

In this article, and a number of subsequent articles, including a formal "reply" to Jang and Louie, I objected to the endless demands for apologies and redresses by Chinese leaders in Vancouver, noting that many apologies and compensation packages had already been offered by various levels of government in Canada starting with Prime Minister Harper's 2006 apology and $34 million financial compensation. 

In the Council of European Canadians I have written many articles consistent with the promotion and defense of the ethnic interests of European Canadians within the framework of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988, which guarantees the rights of Canadians of any racial origin to protect and enhance their cultural and ethnic interests in a way that is consistent with the principles of our liberal democratic institutions. A high number of my articles have been on the philosophical and historical aspects of the ideology of immigrant multiculturalism and on the uniqueness of Western Civilization. Readers will notice that these articles have been carefully researched, backed by many sources, involving carefully constructed arguments with some of the foremost scholars favoring Canadian multiculturalism and addressing the dynamics of Western civilization. 

Since this controversy erupted again in early January, I have been tempted to write a reply to the main articles which have appeared in The Globe and Mail,The National PostCBCGlobal NewsThe Tyee, four university student papers, and other venues. But the fact that the overwhelming majority of the commentsin response to these articles have strongly supported my views and academic freedom to dissent, persuaded me not to offer a reply. I was satisfied too with the endorsement of academic freedom by the journalists at the Globe and MailthePost, and the Vancouver Sun. 

January 22 article in The Globe and Mail


But yesterday January 22, in what is now the third article in The Globe and Mailabout this controversy, three Chinese-Canadians not only disagreed but called upon The University of New Brunswick to censor me on the grounds that my views do not deserve to be expressed by any academic in Canada! Under the title,What this UNB professor practices is intolerance, not sociology, authors Avvy Go, Dora Nipp, and Winnie Ng, conclude: 

The purpose of academic freedom is to prevent a chill on the pursuit of knowledge and to safeguard diverse viewpoints. However, in Canada no right is absolute; in the case of academic freedom, this right starts to unravel when academics hide behind academic freedom to espouse untruths that actually inflict harm. If the staff and faculty of UNB are truly committed to academic freedom and academic excellence, they should join the Asian Canadian community in condemning racism in any form in Canada.
This short but falsehood-filled article cannot go unchallenged. The authors are adamantly against my emphasis on the European character of Canada and how mass immigration threatens it. Yet, a quick examination of the careers of Go, Nipp, and Ng reveals three lives fully dedicated to the promotion of Chinese ethnic interests in Canada combined with the portrayal of European Canadians in a persistently negative way. They eulogize about the "the pursuit of knowledge," "academic standards," and the "academic profession" but only Ng has some sort of position at a university. 

Ng holds the "CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University," a position described as "the first union-endowed chair at a Canadian University." Her university profile describes her as an "activist" and states that the "mandate" of the chair is "to create a hub of interaction between social justice activists and academics at Ryerson University." Strictly speaking, then, Ng is not an academic hired as a professor, but holds a chair financed by an union, "selected not only for her extensive experience in the social justice field but for her research interests in anti-racism, equality, and coalition and capacity building." There are no indications of peer-reviewed articles by Ng in the internet except a report she co-authored with five other names with the title An Immigrant All Over Again? Recession, Plant Closures and [Older] Racialized Immigrant Workers. 

Avvy Go is also not an academic but "director of the Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic." This clinic is dedicated to "advocacy activities" for selected ethnic groups in Canada, namely, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Laotian communities in Greater Toronto. 

Dora Nipp is CEO of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario; her career in Canada has revolved around the promotion and struggles of Chinese Canadians in the face of racist Europeans

These three activists for Chinese/Asian interests show no hesitation declaring that 

Mr. Duchesne spreads falsehoods about an entire community and in doing so betrays the standards of academia by engaging in racial caricature and perpetuating intolerance.
It is the other way around; in this article, these three Chinese/Asian ethnonationalists spread many falsehoods about what I have said and caricature the entire community of European Canadians by concentrating solely on their "racist" and "colonial" activities. 
Efforts by Asian and African Canadians to claim their rightful place in Canadian history are framed by Mr. Duchesne as "assaulting European civilization".
This is untrue. I have never written about "African Canadians," for starters, and have never framed Asian arguments about their role in Canada as "assaulting European civilization." They offer no evidence for these cited words because I have not written anything close to this claim. I have simply criticized some current Chinese leaders in Canada for their continual demands for apologies and financial compensation from current Canadians (who had nothing to do with the head tax), and have also written historically based articles challenging their interpretation of the origins and context of the head tax


Canada was founded by European Canadians


They continue: 

In claiming this, Mr. Duchesne ignores the historical fact that the "founding" of Canada took place on the land of indigenous peoples, and that in the name of "preserving European civilization" systemic exclusion and colonial domination has been inflicted on the First Peoples. It is hard to avoid reading Mr. Duchesne's notion of "European civilization" and "Britishness" as something resembling white supremacy.
How can the argument that Canada was founded by European Canadians be categorized as a form of "white supremacy" if Canada was in fact created by Europeans? Why don't they respond to my fact-filled article Canada Is a Nation Created by Diverse Immigrants' — A False Meme? As late as 1971, when multiculturalism was officially introduced, the ethnic composition of the nation was 96 percent European, at which point all the institutions, legal system, educational curriculum, transformation of wilderness into productive farms, all the cities, the parliamentary traditions, the churches, the entire infrastructure of railways, ports, shipping industries, and highways, had been created by hardworking Europeans. This is not to say that other minorities were not participants; it is to emphasize the salient reality of Canada's European culture. 

I have never endorsed any of the actions that were inflicted against indigenous peoples, or against any non-White immigrant but have simply tried to offer a view of Canada that does not stereo-typify Europeans as inherently racist and other minorities as inherently benevolent. Millions of current European Canadians are tired of having the history of their ancestors categorized solely by the words "systematic exclusion and colonial domination." This is clearly a form of "racial caricature." 

It matters not to individuals like Mr. Duchesne that Chinese people first landed on Canada's west coast in 1744, came to pan for gold in 1858, and in 1881 were brought to Canada to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. It appears immaterial to Mr. Duchesne that Chinese Canadians have a longstanding presence in Canada. Similarly, South Asians have made Canada their home since the turn of the last century.
Everyone knows this, what they don't know are facts such as the following: From 1608 to 1760, immigration to New France consisted of only 10,000 settlers, and thereafter it was "almost non-existent." The French-speaking population numbered about 70,000 in the 1760s, and thereafter, until the late 1800s, the population expanded rapidly through the high fertility rate of mothers, 5.6 surviving children on average, and not at all through immigration. By 1950, the Quebec population was almost 4 million. This increase was not a result of immigration but of continuing high fertility rates. It was only in the 1970s that Montreal saw an increasing inflow of non-European immigrants. 

But these three activists don't highlight the struggles of Quebec mothers, how hard it was for them to make a living in the harsh climate of Canada. Instead, they prefer to make a living by depicting Europeans in the worst possible light as supremacists, and then they have the nerve to complain about "racial caricatures". 

The next few sentences are just typical complaints about the "tremendous discrimination" Asians suffered and still suffer in Canada — if so, why do millions keep coming? How about the horrendous acts of human rights violations in China, rampant racism and destruction of the lifestyles of ethnic minorities, sickening treatment of animals, and commercial dealings in body organs? 

[I]t is 2015 and one expects a more enlightened populace today — one that includes all peoples and rejects the portrayal of Canada as one preserved for "Europeans" only.
My argument is not that Canada should be preserved for Europeans only; it is that the policy of multiculturalism encourages Canadians from all ethnic backgrounds to affirm their heritage and culture, and that if we are to be consistent and not follow a double standard we should stop prohibiting European Canadians from pursuing their own ethnic interests in the same way that these three activists have made entire careers pursuing the ethnic interests of Asians in Canada. 
Duchesne is a professor of history and sociology, but he has brought the academic profession into disrepute.
There are no indications that these three activists know much about the history and sociology profession; whereas I have an extensive list of publications in both fields. The three of them combined, as far as I can tell from a search of the internet, do not have a single refereed publication. 
Mr. Duchesne's intolerant statements will run the risk of inciting fear and resentment toward Canadians of Asian heritage by reinforcing stereotypes of the ethnic Chinese as perpetual foreigners. He glorifies scholarship and writing that fuels xenophobia and provides fodder for white supremacy. Mr. Duchesne is a unicultural ideologue.
They have no evidence that I have reinforced stereotypes about Chinese Canadians; what is the case is that I don't accept their demands for endless apologies and "inclusive redresses." Go, Nipp, and Ng are the ones who have fueled xenophobia through many years of activism against European Canadians, polarizing Canadians into the bad racist whites and the innocent minorities. 
The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada's Statement on Academic Freedom (2011)...sets out the responsibilities of academic freedom, which include: evidence and truth must be the guiding principles...committed to the highest ethical standards in their teaching and research; faculty should examine data, question assumptions and be guided by evidence; and faculty and university leadership are obligated to ensure that students' human rights are respected.
These three activists are welcome to take a look at my extensively reviewed book,The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, which cites over 800 different books and articles, and which even critics have praised for its very high academic standards. I am also a highly liked professor at my university, with high levels of student registration in my courses. What the students like most about my classes is that they don't get only the leftist view of things but three or four viewpoints. The textbook required for my Introduction to Sociology course, for example, is a typical radical leftist text, in addition to which I offer students alternative readings with libertarian, old conservative, and European nationalist perspectives. I often say to students that they can follow any viewpoint; all that I require of them is to show awareness of alternative views, take them into account in their writings. 

I don't object to the enthusiasm Go, Nipp, and Ng exhibit for Asian issues and historical contributions to Canada. It is natural that they care about their people. I object to the current double standard which says that only non-Europeans have a moral right to protect and enhance their ethnic interests. I am for a level playing field in the Canadian multicultural arena, with European Canadians enjoying the same rights as other ethnic groups in the defense of their heritage and cultural lineage. It is that simple.