Courting Racism

Stuart Trew, OttawaXPress, Mar. 3

I come from some of the most effectively racist stock on the planet. Which means I’m British in ancestry even though my parents moved my brother and I to Calgary when I was four. I use the word “effective” because although you can argue that racism and xenophobia are universal, no “people” since the Middle Ages have been able to incorporate it into foreign and economic policy as totally as the Anglo-Saxons. They created colonialism by mixing racism and power (or what amounts to the same thing as power: technology).

Swedish intellectual Sven Lindqvist takes the idea further down this depressing line of thought in his 2001 book, A History of Bombing: Racism plus the power of technology (machine guns, high explosives, aircraft) can also equal genocide. Saxons practised genocide in Germany to extinguish the Jews. The Anglos used it in Japan-only two Japanese villages were spared either total destruction by firebombing or total destruction by atomic weapons-to win the Second World War. And thanks to the genocide against aboriginal North Americans, Canada and the U.S.A. exist today as majority white, Anglo-Saxon states.

Lindqvist has devoted his life work to making accessible the ugly history of Western (read white) brutality against “savages”-the term used freely into the 20th century for Africans, Arabs, Asians, South Americans, or anyone else who had yet to embrace industrialism. (American Vice President Dick Cheney continues to refer to Iranians as “savages,” by implying Iran is not part of the civilized world, even as they seek ultra-”civilized” nuclear power.)

Pre-Second World War, the people dreaming of a white world through genocide if necessary were intellectuals, politicians, authors. Now we like to think the few racists left reside on the fringes of a Western society that has always respected cultural diversity. According to Canadian lore particularly, Lindqvist’s views are supposed to be the norm.

People like Jared Taylor, on the other hand, are supposed to be on the fringe. He thinks like America’s founding fathers did: that America was born a white nation, and that what came before Europe invaded its shores is irrelevant. As he told Donahue on television in January 2003, “We (white people) are now the native population.”

Taylor is the editor of American Renaissance, a magazine founded in 1990, according to an interview he gave to England’s Right Now! “to encourage whites to think of their interests in explicitly racial terms, to recognize that every other race in the United States does so instinctively, and to understand that if whites alone fail to act as a group, they jeopardize their long-term survival as a distinct people with a distinct culture and a way of life.”

Whites risk becoming a minority in their “own” country, says Taylor, and he’s scared shitless. He suggests there should be an end to immigration and an end to all employment equity programs. Ideally, non-whites would relocate to somewhere they felt more welcome.

Taylor explained in Vice magazine’s “Hate” issue last year that he sees all whites as a natural extension of his family. You wouldn’t love other people’s children, he argued, so why should you be expected to love other races? As Lindqvist so plainly explains, whites (including Spaniards, Italians and Russians) have barely been able to tolerate other races since their conquest of the globe commenced in the 15th century. The difference is that Lindqvist thinks the meagreness of this tolerance is a bad thing.

I’m comparing these two authors because recently, a new University of Ottawa Speakers Association tried to bring Taylor in to speak about multiculturalism. Kyle McInnis (brother of Vice founder Gavin McInnis) from the group contacted XPress last week, and he was upset the talk had been cancelled. Neither the university nor any of its student groups would pay for Taylor’s visit. “This is a perfectly rational way of . . . discussing the problems of diversity,” McInnis said. The university’s failure to go ahead is “degrading to the education system,” a sign that political correctness has “morphed the institution (of education) itself.”

Federico Carvajal, one of the leaders of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at the University of Ottawa, which denied McInnis funds, sees it a different way. Why bring someone to campus whose views go against what your own organization is trying to promote? “Having Jared Taylor speak definitely doesn’t fit in with our mandate. OPIRG is very keen on promoting equality and social justice and we’re also very keen on fighting racism and discrimination,” Carvajal said in a phone interview.

Taylor got back to me in an e-mail:

“The university of Ottawa’s decision gives the lie to its claim that it supports diversity and tolerance. On certain subjects it promotes uniformity rather than diversity of opinion, and certainly has shown no tolerance for mine. I am told that the reason for the cancellation is that people might be offended by my talk, but the university sponsors speakers that freely describe whites as “racists,” men as “chauvinists,” or heterosexuals as “homophobic.” Has the university no shame in so openly parading its hypocrisy?”

My own view is that if you’ve got limited funds, bring Lindqvist to town and take him out for a huge meal afterwards. It’s his views that are unfortunately still on the fringes of modern thought, and Taylor’s are still coursing through the foreign policy of the most powerful states. Britain’s Conservative party, mirroring similar moves in Holland, recently proposed restricting immigration entry to just the most useful non-whites. Britain’s Labour party agreed with the Conservatives. And according to Harper’s Index this month, 64 per cent of Britons say their neighbourhood would disapprove if more Iraqis moved in; 43 per cent said the same for black Africans.

So Taylor is mostly right about one thing: “Western” has always meant white. If we can tear past this veil, and come to terms with our own barbarism, then, like Lindqvist, maybe we can start building a truly inclusive West the world might actually envy.

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