Friday, December 21, 2007

Homegrown "discrimination"

This one's from Vancouver, (adjacent to) where I live!

A 21-year-old Metis woman who converted to Islam has filed a human rights complaint against her former employer alleging she was fired because she refused to shake hands with male coworkers.

The problems started on Hamel's first day at the call centre, she told The Vancouver Sun in an interview. When she was introduced to her male coworkers, she put her hand to her chest, as she always does with men outside her family, and said, "My name is Chantal. I'm sorry I can't shake your hand because of my religion."

After that, she said, the mood towards her soured in the office.
Holy Hopping Muhammad, how many times can I say that this is not religious discrimination! Her ex-manager goes on to say that she was fired for poor performance, but for the sake of argument let's assume he's covering his ass and she was in fact fired for not shaking hands.

Us theoretical types like gedankenexperiments, or thought experiments, so let's try one here. Let's imagine a religion where it is mandatory for men to spit on women when they meet. We'll call it Expectorism. Is it so far fetched? Of course not. So an expectorist man is hired to work at a company, and the first day on the job, the boss takes him around to meet his coworkers. He spits on every woman he meets. Can anyone in their right mind honestly argue that he should keep his job because spitting is part of his religion? If so, I'd like to buy you a drink and probe your mind.

You might be saying "perhaps he would be fired, and fairly so, but that is still religious discrimination." Not so...

Fuck. Never mind. Now I'm depressed. You are currently witnessing a horrific form of live blogging. I was all fired up and ready to go on about how religious discrimination only applies to beliefs, not behaviours, and that anyone can be fired for doing something wrong independent of their beliefs, but not for merely holding the beliefs themselves. I thought I would grab a link to the actual law for credibility. What I found was this - case law from BC where the government sided with the plaintiff in every cited case. A financial aid worker refused to grant medical coverage for abortion, a store clerk refused to help decorate for Christmas, a union member refused to pay union dues. All were reprimanded, all sued, and all fucking won. I give up. Post over. The hippies win. Canada blows.

Oh, I was also going to comment a bit on the woman's quote at the end of the article:

Although following her religious restrictions is sometimes a challenge - like avoiding contact with men in a crowded SkyTrain - she said since donning her hijab she has gained a lot of self-respect and deflected unwanted attention.

"Before I converted, having my hair loose, guys would honk at me," she said. "It's mainly all about respect, that's why women wear the hijab."

Sweetheart, respect ain't got nothing to do with it. What you've gained is a delusion. Men do not respect you more for wearing a hijab. Granted, they're jerks to honk at you in the first place, but putting a bag on your head does not confer an ounce of respectability. Construction workers who would otherwise be cat-calling are now thinking one of two things: that you're too uptight to bother with, or you have a shit-crazy father who will kill them if they whistle. You also need to open your fucking eyes and take a look at the world. Women don't choose to cover their faces for respect; they don't choose to cover them at all (those who do are morons). It's about oppression, submission, control, and male weakness. Basically, hijab = rape, and you have sanctioned your own sexual violation.

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