Canada is an interesting place from a US politics perspective. In terms of left-wing authoritarianism, it’s always been about 2-to-5 years ahead of us Americans. As Rebel News-founder Ezra Levant told the US Congress once: “America should care about Canada because what happens in  Canada soon comes—or tries to come—to the U.S… we’re a laboratory for bad ideas.”
For this reason, I like checking in on Canada’s state news broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I don’t think the US will be getting officially government-sanctioned news any time soon—the CBC was created in the 30s to counter US-dominance of the country’s airwaves, so they’re in a special position. But Canada’s official outlet is fascinating because it has a special mandate to provide news and commentary to the taxpaying public (who shell out over US$1 billion per year for it) and yet it’s a hyper-elite institution that speaks only to a small part of the country.
Unsurprisingly then, it’s absolutely loathed by Canadian conservatives. When political scientist Eric Kaufmann commissioned a poll in Canada attempting to understand what the left and right most widely disagree on, he found it was ethnic diversity, Handmaid’s Tale-author Margaret Atwood, and the CBC.
In a recent check-up of mine, I found “a story” apparently deemed newsworthy by CBC editors involving some fool in the Toronto suburbs who thought it a good idea to put up stickers saying things like “It’s OK to be white” on a light post. Such an act ‘promoted white nationalism’, according to the CBC’s headline, and supposedly necessitated an interview with the local hate-crimes police unit—Canada does have criminal laws against ‘inciting or willfully promoting hatred’, although this “offense” doesn’t even come close.
Without a doubt, the “it’s OK…” meme finds resonance with combat-booted, shorn-headed types, but come on, I thought; it’s clearly a troll-ish bit of social satire drenched in irony. Purveyors of genuine “white nationalism” in Canada, just like here, are treated worse than pederasts. This, I thought, is surely not that.
One good thing about having a government agency produce the news for its subjects is that, in order to create the pretense of accountability, it has to have things like an Ombudsman’s office. So, I reached out to the CBC Ombudsman and put to him—a white boomer—that labelling the sticker as ‘racist-promoting material’ didn’t quite seem like proportionate word-choice, and that the whole thing veered very close to alarmist sensationalism.
In his reply, instead of humbly and perfunctorily responding with something along the lines of, ‘yes, it’s possible reporters may overstate things from time to time’, I received a 1,300-word tirade decrying literal Nazism. Again, this is an official spokesman for Canada’s state media behemoth.
Before digging into the CBC’s response in detail, I should note that I’ve been interested in memes and slogans for years and “It’s OK to be white” (IOTBW), while not my cup of tea, is clearly brilliant on both fronts. Just like “Black Lives Matter”, it’s facially self-evident and rests on an unarguable premise that simply stumps the listener. When phrased as a question, for instance, both slogans instinctually draw out the same affirmative response. It’s why, I suppose, whenever it shows up somewhere, it incurs an immediate and severe meltdown among woke authoritarians. This is exactly what happened here.
In my complaint, I cited a section of the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices which requires that its reporters make “vocabulary choices… consistent with equal rights” regardless of race, etc. I also cited another section requiring them to avoid language “that could feed prejudice or expose people to hatred or contempt.” Clearly setting out a different set of standards for whites (would they write up a story about “It’s OK to be Asian” or black stickers, I asked?) doesn’t seem to be reconcilable with this principle.
For one, he said, I was wrong to treat the races the same. As he informed, “[t]here’s no history of South Asian communities, Black communities, Indigenous communities, etc., oppressing and exploiting the white majority in this country through systemic racism, or advocating the adoption of discriminatory public policies against the white majority.” In other words, expressing pro-in-group sentiments for minorities is fine. For the historic majority? Absolutely not. Y’know, ‘cause of history and stuff.
Such a response was as white-guilt-ridden as it was patronizing to minorities. Regarding the latter, it was if to say: ‘we’re above lowly parochialism, but not you guys!’
Then came the first N-bomb. As he stated, while his employer does indeed take its commitment to equal rights most seriously, they also have a “responsibility to report on the sudden appearance of racist propaganda in Canadian neighbourhoods”, including “posters promoting white nationalism” and… “neo-Nazism ideology.” So, to my original complaint about alarmist language vis-à-vis a dumb slogan, I received… alarmist word-choice.
IOTBW clearly is a reaction against something and finds resonance among some people for a reason. I do not deny this includes, to paraphrase him elsewhere, ‘malevolent bigots’, but it’s likely also deployed by regular people as simply a bit of provocation; people of any background who feel the current social tenor of things (statue-toppling, ‘anti-whiteness’-training at work, intersectionality in our elementary schools, etc.) definitely needs a bit of skewering.
And labelling those who are against white-shaming or anti-white animus as “white nationalist”, supremacists, Nazis, etc., is, in my mind, precisely something that ‘feeds prejudice or exposes people to hatred or contempt.’
In my reply, in fact, I put it to him whether it was actually possible to assert IOTBW sans Hitlerian baggage. Tellingly, he dodged the question.
Also interesting, although I didn’t even bring this up, I was informed that ‘Black Lives Matter’ differs from ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘White Lives Matter’ because the former “commonly describes an anti-violence movement attempting to end all structural racism” and was founded on “horrific misery.” The latter, however, “conveys the ideology of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.”
While I do appreciate that words have connotations that go beyond their literal meaning, by “commonly” here, he really means what’s the common view held at the CBC HQ and within the other elite media circles he occupies. I’m certain there is a wide cross-section of people who believe ALM and even WLM is just as permissible as BLM (or, conversely, that none are, considering slogans should never replace actual discussion when it comes to racial issues).
I wouldn’t be as irritated with some of these commonly heard, but logic-free, positions if liberals applied them evenly. But they don’t. When I put it to the Ombudsman that Black Lives Matter is just as vulnerable to guilt-by-association claims as IOTBW is (supplying him with numerous examples of BLM activists’ racist crimes and anti-white vitriol), the spirit of scrutiny suddenly awoke in him and I was told “it’s problematic to characterize the philosophy of an entire group based solely on the commentary and/or behavior of a few individuals.” I do agree! Finally, common ground!
George Rojas is a lawyer and contributor to American Thinker and New English Review.