The troubling double standards of western liberals

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Pradip Rodrigues

Millions of liberal Canadians from coast to coast denounce Quebec’s anti-niqab law and express support for women wearing the veil everywhere. This I accept and suppose it is their right, but just suppose for sake of argument, the Pope decided it would be a good idea to revive cloth veils or headscarves for Catholic women when they attended mass in a church? After all, the mantilla, was widely used in the Middle Ages and until the early Renaissance. Until 50 years ago, it was fairly common to see women cover their hair when going to church and many widows chose to wear black clothing for a year following a husband’s death. What if the Pope only expressed support for going back to a kind of dress code for Catholic women, how would liberal whites in Europe and North America react? I for one would join liberal whites in denouncing any attempt to impose a medieval dress code on anyone be it a man, woman or a transgendered individual.

There would be an outcry about taking women back to the Middle Ages. The Catholic church would come under renewed attack from lapsed Christians, atheists and anyone who had a bone to pick with Christianity.

The evils of religion would be brought up in the context of only Christianity. Somehow it is seen as progressive to attack Christianity but anyone who criticizes any other religion or custom is immediately cast as racist and bigoted. Somehow for any immigrant from the less developed world bringing into Canada medieval customs and traditions however incompatible with western values or lifestyle is not only okay but actively encouraged in the name of plurality and multiculturalism.

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So with the result you have fundamentalists and traditionalists from non-Christian religions asserting their faith and ensuring custom, however backward or absurd is protected and even encouraged here in Canada. In the years to come, ancient customs, rituals and festivals that are fading away in the home countries of these religions could well brought here in Canada and will be accepted by wide-eyed politicians and liberal Canadians with open arms. Even if some of these traditions and customs, all man made or man-ordained happen to be anti-women or goes against basic common sense, science and security, it will be legitimised, tolerated and anyone who dares questions these customs could be accused of spreading hate.

All this makes one thing clear, while non-christian religious and cultural chauvinists are thrilled with being able to steamroll their agenda on Canadians with the blessings of politicians and blanket protection offered by the Canadian Charter of Rights, Christians and whites are held up to a higher standard. Can this be construed as a form of racism? While devout non-Christians can practice any version of their religion and impose their values that wouldn’t hold up in western societies had they been Christian, white westerners are held up to a higher standard. Immigrants are in a way expected to simply meet the basic threshold of Canadian values and less is expected of them socially and culturally given their beliefs, values and traditions. So laws are bent, changed and made in order to accommodate religious groups which ends up making newcomers feel their values, lifestyle and religion is respected it really is a way of ensuring immigrant Canada is separate but equal in Canada in relation to the mainstream. So much so that immigrants are told that there is no such thing as mainstream or Canadian for that matter, especially so in a post-national state. So by that definition, a sherwani or the hijab is as distinctly Canadian or western as a tuxedo.

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White liberals will fight any attempt to subjugate women or the LGBT community, they will do everything to ensure Christian symbols are erased in public, all in the name of ensuring non-Christians aren’t reminded of this country’s Christian (‘racist’) roots. If they had their way, they’d convert half or all the churches into gymnasiums or yoga centers and give the other half away to other religious groups. When it comes to other religious groups practicing customs and traditions that really have no place in the 21st century, they will go out on a limb to support and encourage these practices even if and when it impacts women.

Would liberals support a women’s lib movement with roots in an immigrant community? White liberals would go suddenly quiet. Ask them why and they’d say they wouldn’t want to get involved in something that is an internal matter involving a treasured minority community. So don’t count on their support if for example a bunch of abused brown women came forward and exposed their exploiters and tormentors who happen to also be brown. These women could expect sympathy silence, maybe some cash and therapy.

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Taking on chauvinistic attitudes prevalent among many immigrant men would be left to the few brave and out-numbered progressive people within the communities who will be verbal or physically abused into submission or silence while liberal Canadians will look away. To me that is racism and double-standards, unfortunately, in Canada today, this is the way things are done given we are a multicultural society. -CINEWS

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