These good intentioned social strategies may have been established to bring equality but in the end I suggest they are pitting us one against the other.

What is happening to Canada? We welcome people from all over the world with the idea that we become Canadians. And then we sub-divide.  In the call of our Prime Minister to be proud of our diversity, he is doing his best to divide us up into groups; each demanding special treatment.

Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, announced on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 a four-year, $47 million plan to support 10,800 Black children, youth and their families in schooling, postsecondary education and employment, as well as those in conflict with the law.

Black? What is black? Who defines who is black? By the colour of the skin? Of the parents? Or grandparents? How far back in genealogy will the government go?

This reminded me of the Nuremberg Laws regarding Jews. A Jew was anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents, whether they identified as a Jew or not.  Or our Native people. How far back to we go to decide if one is native?

Is black a catch-all word for anyone who does not look white? Of course that goes to my next question-what is white? Am I white? I don’t consider myself white. People may look at me and say I am white. Over the years many people asked if I were Spanish. Is Spanish white or non-white? A shade of black?  Mexicans are Spanish. Are they white or black?

And then we could go further. Today, who is female and who is male? It depends.  We are told that we are whomever we choose. So if I choose to say I am black-what is the right of the government to say no, you are not?

Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous. Because it is.

The Minister also said: “The plan is part of government’s commitment to fight systemic racism and create fair and equitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous and other racialized people. Ontario is combating systemic racism by releasing a new three year strategic plan in order to break down barriers for racialized people across the province, including Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities.”

I don’t know the meaning of racialized any more than I understand the meaning of Islamophobia. But I do know that both words are divisive. And the actions the government takes based on these words is dividing us into tribal groups, again, when we are supposed to be Canadians.

Michael Coteau pointed out:

Black youth make up 41 per cent of the youth in the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto – five times their representation in the overall population.

Black students become “early leavers” of high school at higher rates – in Toronto, 23 per cent, compared to 12 per cent of white students.

Black youth across the province are unemployed at nearly two times the provincial rate.

I get it. How about looking at the root causes of these results rather than colour, just as we investigate the root causes of terrorism? Is it not racialized to say that it the colour of the skin that leads to poor outcomes rather than, I don’t know: poverty, broken homes, single mothers, absent fathers?  Do you think if we worked on these problems the outcomes for these children, all children, would be better?

Is it not racializing to look specifically at black families as if these problems were systemic, endemic and innate? 

What about poor white children? Or homeless white people? Why is it that we do not blind ourselves to colour-as Justice herself is blind to wealth, power or other status? Is she not to be impartial and objective?

It was Immanuel Kant, a secular ethicist, who gave us the deontological ethical concept of the categorical imperative. More or less, it means if it is good for one it is good for all of society; if it is not good for one it is not good for all.

Poverty is good for no one. No matter race, colour, creed, religion or sexual orientation.

These good intentioned social strategies may have been established to bring equality but in the end I suggest they are pitting us one against the other.
Having said that, on a personal note, as a Jew, I am appalled by these “colour” charts.

How will the government decide who is black?