When ‘Wokeness’ Impacts Our Health and Safety

April 27, 2021 Updated: April 28, 2021

Commentary

The City of Hamilton took many by surprise by unveiling a blatantly racist vaccination plan, announcing on April 23 that COVID-19 vaccine appointments are now available for “Black and other racialized populations/people of colour” living in select area codes.

Health authorities say the reason for their plan is that people of colour are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with people of colour accounting for 47 percent of the cases, while only making up 19 percent of the region’s population. But if the authorities want to prioritize those who are more vulnerable, they should identify hot spots and create a plan that’s accessible for people of all races living in those high-risk areas. Why should a person living in a high-risk area have priority over another living in the same area, or sometimes in the same household, based on their colour of skin? If the scenario was reversed, and they decided to make the vaccine available to white people only, the uproar would have been endless.

This latest development might serve as a rude awakening for some that critical race theory (CRT) is no longer just a concept pushed in academia. Rather, it’s an ideology that’s infiltrating our institutions, and is now influencing health decisions that impact our lives and safety.

CRT, an invention of radical academics, propounds the world view that Western society is irreparably racist and rooted in a conflict between oppressors (whites) and the oppressed (people of colour).

News reports in recent weeks have revealed how this damaging ideology has become standard learning at Global Affairs Canada, and presumably, other government institutions.

The Toronto Sun obtained Global Affairs’ anti-racism training documents through an access to information request. The material in the documents are textbook wokeness and shouldn’t surprise those who are familiar with CRT, but the contents are nevertheless perturbing. They broaden the definition of white supremacy, separating it into two categories: overt and covert. The former includes examples such as neo-Nazis and the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885. The latter, and this is where it gets troubling, includes meritocracy, “colour-blindedness,” and even innocuous traditions such as Thanksgiving.

The documents say it’s a myth that BIPOC—black, indigenous, and other people of colour—could be racist toward white people. Instead, white people can only be subject to “racial prejudice,” which “is not considered racism because of the systemic relationship to power.”

“In Canada, white people hold this cultural power due to Eurocentric modes of thinking, rooted in colonialism, that continue to reproduce and privilege whiteness. It is whiteness that has the power to define the terms of racialized others’ existence,” the documents say.

Some may dismiss these trainings as just government bureaucrats following the trendy theories of the moment, with little impact on their ability to complete the important parts of their job. But throughout the pandemic the practical impact of wokeness on our institutions has become more discernible.

As another case in point, Ottawa only just recently restricted flights from India, which has been struggling with a high risk new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. This lack of action on the borders was even more concerning at the outset of the pandemic, when many countries closed their borders to flights from China, ground zero for the virus outbreak, but Canada refused to restrict flights.

Besides the fact that Ottawa thinks twice before taking any action that may upset Beijing, what has fuelled this hesitancy is trepidation among our elites about being labelled xenophobic.

At the time of the initial outbreak, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer (CPHO), contended, contrary to the evidence, that travel bans would be “ineffective,” but spent much time voicing her concern about the racism and “stigmatizing comments” against people of Chinese descent.

The refusal to close borders and the dismissal of calls for such measures as being xenophobic pleased the Chinese Communist Party, which has spent great effort to condemn as racism any criticism of its handling of the virus outbreak.

The crux of the issue, however, is that the CPHO’s role is supposed to be entirely medical and focused on formulating effective strategies to combat viruses. It’s meant to be divorced from politics and thus, these sorts of polarizing debates. Yet statements such as those made by Tam are political ones, which foist those in these institutions into culture wars at the expense of doing their job correctly and, in this case, protecting Canadians.

The elite preoccupation with wokeness is risible, and as a set of ideas, wokeness itself is easily falsifiable. But as it’s put into practice, the resulting politicization of our most relied-upon institutions can and will have dire consequences.

Shane Miller is a political writer based in London, Ontario.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.