Jonathan Woodward, CTV News, June 9, 2014
A New Brunswick university professor is facing complaints after calling Vancouver’s plan to root out racist policies from its past an exercise in manipulating “white guilt.”
In a series of blog posts, Ricardo Duchesne of the University of New Brunswick also accused Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang of scheming to fleece white Vancouverites on behalf of ethnic Chinese.
“Clearly he is exploiting White ideas to advance the ethnic interests of the Chinese, utilizing the same white guilt our educational institutions inflict on White children,” Duchesne wrote.
“What he calls ‘pride’ is nothing but the relentless demands by Asians to extract ever more resources from Whites. It is time Whites show respect for themselves and stop kowtowing to the Chinese.”
Vancouver council voted unanimously last month to study its records to determine if there were any racist laws or regulations that would have hurt ethnic groups.
The move was approved weeks after the province of British Columbia apologized for its role in creating discriminatory policies, and several years after the 2006 apology by the federal government for the $500 Chinese Head Tax, which was Canadian law until 1923.
Jang, who has complained to Duchesne’s university, said he is third-generation Canadian and shocked city council’s move would be taken this way.
“When the professor starts talking about how I should be worrying about what they’re doing in China, I think: I’m Canadian. I’m expected to be treated like anyone else,” Jang said.
Vancouver has already found some racist property covenants that deny ownership to “Asiatic, negro or Indian” people, according to historian Jean Barman.
“There were covenants on houses. They couldn’t be sold to ‘Asiatics’ as it was termed at the time,” she said.
There’s no talk of compensation from the city at this point, but any compensation would likely come from city tax funds, which are taken from a diverse city population–about 50 per cent white, 30 per cent Asian, and 10 per cent South Asian, according to the 2006 census.
In his blogs, Duchesne also claims that ethnic Chinese “altered a formerly elegant, serene, community-oriented British city of Vancouver, turning it into a loud, congested Asian city (still attractive only because of the architectural and institutional legacy of past White generations.)”
He claimed that in Richmond, “mainland Chinese migration has already helped create the first majority-Chinese city outside Asia, with White citizens cornered into small enclaves and many being forced to sell their homes and move out as ‘millionaire migrants’ take over.”
Barman said she’s unaware of anyone, white or otherwise, being forced to sell their homes. She said ethnic Chinese have been a big part of Vancouver since its inception, and that Chinese labour was instrumental in building the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Jang said the University of New Brunswick should reconsider whether it wants to have Duchesne on campus. “I would not feel safe [attending there] knowing that someone like that was on faculty,” he said.
Reached by Skype at his home, Duchesne said he was born in Puerto Rico and arrived in Montreal when he was 15. Other comments he has made have also been controversial, but he denied that he is racist.
“The whites who created this country are supposed to be bending over backwards in a state of shame for having built the best country in the world,” he told CTV News.