May 22, 2018

Critics want "paleface" indigenous studies prof booted off “academic reservation”

David MenziesMission Specialist


Merit used to be the benchmark for being selected for a job, but now factors such as skin tone and ethnicity are more important than whether or not one is qualified for a position.

Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, is under fire for assigning a course about Canada’s residential schools to a non-Indigenous professor.

The woman slated to teach the course has expertise in Atlantic Canadian First Nations history, with a specialization in the historical experiences of 20th century Indigenous women, but all that matters in 2018 is her complexion.

She’s not native, so critics want this so-called “settler scholar,” seen as the embodiment of systemic oppression of First Nations, off the academic reservation and it looks like the university might cave.

Yet, sometimes skin tone and sex don’t matter as in the case of a black prof who is “permitted” to teach a course called Women and Gender Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Welcome to the new world order on campus, a realm in which qualifications mean nothing and who you are or who you think you are, means everything.

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commented 2018-05-31 17:44:21 -0400
Mount Saint Vincent history professor Martha Walls will teach her course. But recent events at this Halifax university go hand in hand with a cultural appropriation craze that shows a lack of foresight, which can potentially pose future problems, creating a slippery slope which descends to the absurd.

For example, let us suppose a Quebecois professor with expertise in 19th century British literature teaches this to his students. Is he guilty of cultural appropriation? Is he guilty of gender appropriation when he lectures and leads class discussions about Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”? For that matter, he does not live in the 19th century. Must this prohibit him from discussing the goings on of that era given that he is committing era appropriation?

What about an Armenian Canadian philosophy professor teaching a course on David Hume? She is not Scottish. Must this disqualify her? Besides, what right does she, a female, have to presume expertise about Hume, a male? And then there is her era appropriation. But are we to discard the Western canon and its masters, whose ideas contributed to the development of our civilization? Are we to jettison our history so that, over time, we forget it and, by extension, condemn ourselves to repeat its mistakes?

Of course, we are all individuals who are different from everyone else. Taking identity politics to this level, we are committing individual appropriation every time we express an opinion about someone else. Was Evelyn Beatrice Hall guilty of individual (not to mention era and gender) appropriation when she wrote her biography of Voltaire? Is it appropriate, then, for psychologists and psychiatrists to assess a client?

Perhaps we should all stop communicating given the “scourge” of inappropriate appropriations. How far do we take this lunacy? Surely, it is incumbent upon the identity politics crowd to make their case stating why some appropriations are okay, while others are not.

Then again, maybe we should, in the absence of contrary evidence, assume a history professor with years of study and expertise in a given field knows what she is talking about and ought to freely teach it, group identity notwithstanding. Interested students can surely benefit from her knowledge.

Kris Larsen
Halifax, NS
commented 2018-05-23 01:38:42 -0400
Donald Mosher…yup, and our courts allow “oral history” (hear say) when making judgments on a whole range of issues. Remember playing the game as youngsters in school, while in a circle where you could only say something once to the person next to you? When it got back to you, it was nothing even close to the original comment.
Perplexing to say the least.
commented 2018-05-23 01:16:22 -0400
Maurice well said.

Before the awful Europeans got here there was murder, war, slavery , and genocide, i wish the useful idiots would quit acting like it was a utopia and all natives lived in harmony.
commented 2018-05-23 00:31:43 -0400
The universities are mimicking the liberal and ndp governments, they do not appoint ministers based on merit and qualifications, but on virtue signalling, at the expense of society and all Canadians. Absolutely pathetic, just like the resident troll.
commented 2018-05-22 23:13:31 -0400
North American Indians are the lowest knowledge of all Canadians, they pass their history on verbally since arriving here from Mongolia, they don’t acknowledge that fact, by recent archeological digs in Alaska proves that white European settlers were in North America prior to the Mongolian/Indian’s arrival & they murdered those White European settlers. North American Indians wrote nothing down about their history & as anyone can attest a story changes everytime it is retold. Just as the Indian narrative lies by saying they were the first people in North America. To allow an unqualified, Indian to teach using hearsay stories with no written record to support it, to allow anyone to create story narratives that simply are not supported by tangible evidence is not education , just story telling.
commented 2018-05-22 22:31:51 -0400
FYI Rebels,
The new pseudonym for resident troll is Jack Foley.
commented 2018-05-22 21:01:59 -0400
The bigotry of the left is only outdone by its’ hypocrisy.
commented 2018-05-22 19:35:33 -0400
So these leftists are staying we are an inclusive society but we reserve the right to exclude those that we think dont demonstrate inclusivity.
Such logic.
commented 2018-05-22 19:33:37 -0400
Excellent post Maurice, good advice for young people too! A message to parents of socialist leaning lemmings, save your money and let your kids pay for their own education or take on the debt themselves for useless degrees and additional indoctrination. Offer to pay for skilled trades programs in college…they will thank you for it down the road.

Being qualified is a concept which is no longer of value in our neo-marxist society.
commented 2018-05-22 18:26:22 -0400
Maurice Potvin,
Well said.
commented 2018-05-22 17:47:23 -0400
As a Metis I don’t give a damn who gives me information, as long as the information is accurate. I certainly wouldn’t be offended by the information coming from a non-aboriginal person. If someone could tell me something about my culture and background that I didn’t already know, I’d appreciate it. I think most people would. Not to do so…. in other words, to consider the source first… is petty, small-minded and probably racist. However, I think I’d take any information taught on campuses these days with a huge grain of salt. Maybe not so much in the STEM fields, but definitely in the Social Sciences. In fact, I’d stay as far away from the Social Sciences as I possibly could. In fact, I think I’d stay away from Universities.