Despite mandatory indigenous studies in high school curricula, the constant pandering on indigenous issues by politicians, and a perpetually supportive media narrative, the University of Winnipeg and Lakehead University have decided that Canadians haven't heard enough.
Next fall, students at these universities will be required to take mandatory Indigenous courses to qualify for graduation.
This came about because of a motion submitted last winter by the UWSA and the University of Winnipeg Aboriginal Students Council. The two groups requested that their university require students to take a 3-credit indigenous studies course before graduation.
The goal here is the same as most student groups today: “Ending bigotry” and “challenging racism.” Naturally, the definition of these words is constantly shifting as activists move the goalposts. One day "racism" means Native American Halloween costumes and the next it’s disagreeing with certain opinions.
According to an article in Maclean's, concerns have been raised by both engineering and business students about the necessity of these courses. Highly politicized courses on race and justice have little relevance to their careers, and will give them less knowledge for their money, as opposed to a course directly related to their subject of study.
Indigenous vice-president of the UWSA Kevin Settee replied to their concerns, saying that it’s important for students who may be hiring First Nations employees in the future to “know that we’re not lazy, that we do want to work, that they understand that these are stereotypes, and they continue to do a lot of damage.”
That's a fair point. However, considering one of the mandatory classes to be chosen is on Inuit art, I'm not sure how the courses relate to those goals.
I do wonder though:
Will the university now have to have mandatory classes to combat stereotypes against all groups? Mandatory classes teaching us about the Canadian internment of Japanese and smashing the bad-driver stereotype? Mandatory classes on the Irish being treated as second class citizens? Mandatory women’s studies or LGBTQ studies? If one area of study is mandatory, consistency would demand that the others be too.
Based on the current atmosphere of campuses, I don’t doubt this will come to pass.
Instead of offering designated courses on individual groups, why not (and this is probably already happening) have business students be taught to hire the best person for the job regardless of race or gender? It’s certainly a route that would waste less time, be more inclusive and save them more money.
This isn’t progressive enough though, is it? Opposition to discrimination is no longer good enough for your average progressive student. They don’t want to hear about people being individuals, to be judged on their individual merits.
Just look at what happened to an Asian who argued that all groups can be racist or accepting, and dared to suggest we judge based on individual character:
Students want to focus on interest groups, not individuals. I believe that attitude will only foster more negative emotions and relations on campus.
When indigenous students (who receive subsidized post secondary education) are now forcing students who pay in full to take classes irrelevant to their degrees, classes that they may or may not be able to afford, I doubt that will foster a positive attitude towards indigenous groups.
That's why you are already seeing questions arising from trades and business students. If anything, this forceful pushing of "tolerance" and "diversity" on students will breed bitterness.
This has nothing to do with racism, or intolerance. Our society has already rejected those. Indeed, if you happen to leave the school system without a politically correct bias, you'd better get one if you want to get and keep your job. I mean really people, it is the current year. (Thanks for that gem, Trudeau.)
Instead, this has everything to do with deciding whether these are genuinely relevant courses for students, or just pandering. Because once the pandering begins, it doesn’t end.
We’re seeing campus faculty and staff caving to the ridiculous requests being put forward to universities for "safe spaces," mandatory courses or even resignations. Unless the trend is reversed, social justice warriors will be able to dictate what we have to learn, and inevitably, the direction of our society.
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