The Bullshitization of the Term “Systemic”


How antisecularists have overused and abused the expression “systemic racism” as a weapon to fight Quebec Bill 21.

Sommaire en français Comment les anti-laïques ont usé et abusé de l’expression « racisme systémique » pour en faire une arme contre la Loi 21 au Québec.

The word “systemic” is a perfectly legitimate adjective. According to the on-line dictionary, systemic means (1) “Embedded within and spread throughout and affecting a whole system, group, body, economy, market, or society” or (2) “Pertaining to an entire organism.” (This is not to be confused with the term “systematic” which refers to something which is orderly, planned or methodical.)

For example, discrimination against atheists and other non-believers is systemic in Canada, because it is specified repeatedly in the country’s constitution and federal legislation. The very first line of the constitution’s preamble declares “the supremacy of God.” Hate propaganda legislation grants impunity to statements which would otherwise be considered hate-speech provided that they are based on a religious text. Religious institutions are granted sweeping fiscal privileges. Citizenship judges are required to allow “religious solemnization” in ceremonies. And so on.

Another example: Systemic colonialism and racism in Canada’s “Indian Act” which regulates relations between the federal government and First Nations. Although amended many times since, the Act was first adopted in 1876 unilaterally, i.e. without negotiation with First Nations.

Canadian history is replete with systemic prejudice against Francophones, although less so today, now that laws suppressing the French language in several provinces have been repealed. Historically, anti-French and anti-native bigotry converged, as the French mixed with native populations (e.g. intermarriage) much more than did the English. This convergence of prejudice was most evident in the Louis Riel case in the 1880s.

The fact that the French language is dominant in one province, Quebec, gives Francophones a degree of autonomy and agency not enjoyed by First Nations peoples who are much fewer in number and scattered in many small, isolated reserves. Nevertheless, prejudice against Francophones remains a reality, and that situation has systemic aspects. The 1982 constitution was adopted without the approval of Quebec. Judges in the Quebec Superior Court and Quebec Court of Appeal are appointed by the federal government and thus, not surprisingly, tend to be prejudiced in favour of ideologies (such as cultural relativism) which are promoted federally. (This was patently obvious in the 2021-04-20 decision of Justice Marc-André Blanchard.) Furthermore, the federal government financially supports court challenges to Quebec laws such as Bill 21 (which partially implements State secularism in Quebec) via the Court Challenges Program. Strong—in fact, fanatical—opposition to Bill 21 by Anglo-Canadian media and politicians is an example of cultural imperialism.

One more example: Child sexual abuse is systemic in the Roman Catholic Church. It is not the result of a few bad apples, so to speak, but rather a consequence of how the Catholic system is organized. Priests are endowed with divine authority, thus granting them a great deal of moral authority over adherents of that religion. At the same time, priests are forbidden to marry or to have sex (at least theoretically), thus creating an overwhelming degree of sexual frustration. The combination of these two circumstances makes widespead sexual abuse practically inevitable.

However, in recent years the word “systemic” has been greatly misused for ideological reasons. In particular, the expression “systemic racism” has become almost ubiquitous because it is a major element of Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT began as an academic discipline of legal scholars, studying racism from a systemic point of view, i.e. as a consequence of legal, cultural and social systems rather than the prejudices of individuals. CRT is the ideological centrepiece of the current so-called “antiracist” movement, but which should more accurately be called neo-racist or racialist as it rejects colour-blindness and is obsessed with race which it sees everywhere. Partisans of this ideology dogmatically interpret all disparities as caused by some kind of prejudice such as racism or sexism, never even bothering to consider that other factors—even random chance—might play a role. Thus, if a profession does not display the same demographic diversity as the general population, they then assume that prejudice must be the cause.

Ideologically motivated accusations of “systemic racism” have become commonplace. This is especially the case in the context of Quebec and secularism. The adversaries of secularism, in their zealous opposition to Bill 21, regularly accuse Quebec, Quebeckers or the Quebec government of “systemic racism.” They rarely if ever define exactly what is meant by that term. Questions such as: What system in Quebec is infected with racism? are never answered. Much has been made of the case of Joyce Echaquan, a Atikamekw woman who was the target of racist comments in a Quebec hospital and died of pulmonary edema. But that was obviously a case of individual racism, not systemic, unless accusors can point to objective evidence of some kind of systemic phenomenon.

We know full well what is really happening here. So-called antiracists are indulging in anti-Québécois bigotry—hey, let’s call it anti-Québécois racism to be perfectly blunt—as a dishonest means to denigrate Bill 21. Such “antiracists” are objectively allied with Islamists who regularly weaponize Canadians’ hostility towards Quebec in their efforts to kill Bill 21. Of course Bill 21 has nothing whatsoever to do with racism and is in no way discriminatory. Rather, it is the accusers who are themselves guilty of bigotry and racism. A particularly extreme example of this is Amir Attaran, professor at the University of Ottawa, who calls Quebec the “Alabama of the North.”

So far, Quebec Premier François Legault has resisted all attempts by these ideologues to pressure him to agree that “systemic racism” is endemic in Quebec. He is to be congratulated for his determination. Let us hope that he remains steadfast and continues to refuse to capitulate to such intimidation by antisecularists.

Next blog: Quebec Bill 21 for Dummies

Racialism versus Secularism

Racialising Religious Affiliation to Oppose Secularism


A few excepts from my long article The Battle Raging Between Racialism and Secularism published recently in Topical Magazine. The article criticizes the tendency of today’s so-called “antiracist” activists towards racialism and towards racialising religious affiliation as an anti-secularism strategy. The text presents several definitions in order to set the terms of the debate, followed by numerous examples of the racialisation of religious affiliation in France, in the United States and finally in Canada, with particular attention to the opponents of Quebec Bill 21.

Sommaire en français Quelques extraits de mon article, assez long, intitulé The Battle Raging Between Racialism and Secularism (La bataille farouche entre le racialisme et la laïcité) paru récemment dans la revue en ligne Topical Magazine. Il s’agit d’une critique de la tendance, chez les militants soi-disant « antiracistes » actuels, à verser dans le racialisme et à racialiser l’appartenance religieuse afin de lutter contre la laïcité. Le texte présente plusieurs définitions afin de préciser les termes du débat, suivies de nombreux exemples de la racialisation de l’appartenance religieuse en France, aux États-Unis et finalement au Canada, en particulier chez les adversaires de la Loi 21 québécoise.

…ethnicity, like race, refers principally to a person’s innate, immutable characteristics. Religion, on the other hand, is an ideology, a collection of ideas, beliefs and practices. Ethnicity is a personal identity, whereas religion is an opinion and an option. The distinction is crucial. To change one’s “race” is impossible. To change one’s religion may be easy or difficult, depending on one’s degree of indoctrination, but it is certainly not impossible. It may be as uncomplicated as changing one’s mind.

If religious affiliation is elevated to the status of ethnicity, then it becomes viewed as practically unchangeable, fixed for the person’s lifetime, making the individual a prisoner of the religion in which he or she was born and raised. Conflating race or ethnicity with religion implies the negation of freedom of conscience. It also opens the door to social—or even legal—censorship of criticism of religion, because if a religion is a “race” then is not criticising religion a form of “racism”?

Religious apologists tend to love the idea of conflating “race” or ethnicity and religion, because such conflation is a perfect tool for deflecting criticism of their religion. However, they need to think seriously about the implications. If we accept seriously the idea that anti-religious sentiment is indeed a form of “racism” then the three Abrahamic monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—become, for this very reason, explicitly and unequivocally racist. Judaism asserts that the Jewish people is chosen by Jehovah and tough luck for everyone else. Christianity holds that those who fail to accept Christ are doomed to an eternity of punishment in hell. As for Islam, its holy book the Quran repeatedly expresses violent hostility towards non-Muslims and, in some contexts, enjoins Muslims to kill them. Adherents of these three religions would do well to reflect on this before embracing the religion-equals-race fraud.

It is important to preserve the biological meaning of the word “race” in order to prevent the apologists of certain ideologies from hijacking the concept for their own dubious purposes.

The racialisation of religious affiliation and the specious accusations of “racism” which it facilitates are hallmarks of racialism and probably the most important and toxic propaganda weapons of the fiercest opponents of secularism. These opponents are currently on the warpath in several countries. Let us consider a few examples.

Bill 21 is eminently sensible and moderate legislation. It is a matter of professional ethics. A representative of the State, while on the job, should not display partisan political or religious symbols. To allow the wearing of such symbols by State employees represents an unwarranted and unacceptable privilege accorded to the ideology which the symbol promotes. Several nations—France and parts of Switzerland, Belgium and Germany—also ban the overt display of religious symbols worn by some or all State employees. Bill 21 also bans face-coverings worn when providing or receiving government services, which is also the case for many European and African countries, some of which are Muslim-majority countries.

…one particularly creative opponent of Bill 21 links the bill to anti-black and anti-indigenous racism and asserts that it could very well lead to genocide… In light of the examples listed above, to say that Bill 21 meets with a hostile reaction is an understatement. The reaction has been hysterical, fanatical and patently insane.

This disinformation was repeated by many mainstream media as if it were fact, thus establishing a false link between an act of violence directed at a particular religious community and an extreme form of racism. Proponents of racialism and their Islamist allies pushed for M-103 as a result. Furthermore, that motion led to the formation of a parliamentary committee whose recommendations would open the door to allowing federal funds destined for anti-racism programmes to be misdirected into defending religious minorities and, through them, the religions themselves.

Racialism and the racialisation of religious affiliation are both profoundly dishonest and a considerable step backwards towards religious obscurantism and tribalism. It amounts to jettisoning freedom of conscience and abandoning universalism by labelling each individual indelibly with an attribute—i.e. religious affiliation—which is no more significant than an opinion, an opinion which not only may change, but which must be allowed to be changeable if we are to respect the individual’s fundamental human rights.

Read the full article.

Next blog: Lettre aux médias pour dénoncer le Conseil québécois LGBT