U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Monday, August 29, 2011

St. Lewis files motion to force Mandatory Mediation, Rancourt files response to motion

Re: Update in the $1 million lawsuit of law professor Joanne St. Lewis against former physics professor Denis Rancourt.

As background, all related posts on the matter are HERE.

Links to all pleadings and court documents are HERE.

"House Negro" Not Racist, Expert Opinion (LINK)

On August 18, 2011, Joanne St. Lewis' counsel Richard Dearden filed a Motion before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in the on-going action. The Motion document is HERE.

The Motion is intended to force immediate Mandatory Mediation under plaintiff-defined circumstances.

Rancourt filed his response to the Motion today (including Factum): PART-1of4, PART-2of4, PART-3of4, PART-4of4.

Rancourt's Motion Record (reply) includes an expert opinion (pages 28-29) that the term "house negro" used as intended does not in itself constitute a racist communication: LINK-to-expert-opinion.

Law Times covers the legal case, today's report: HERE.


Anonymous said...

The white expert here fails in his reliance on a dictionary entry. Racism is not just a belief in racial superiority, it is also the attitudes and actions that issue from this belief. These attitudes are not always conscious but can fester to the surface without malicious intent (for example, police handcuffing all black patrons of a bar and letting all white patrons go). In his mistaken belief that it is acceptable to call Professor St. Lewis a house negro, Rancourt is perpetuating a racial stereotype based on slavery. This is demeaning to her, and whether it is intentional or not, it is racist. Not only does it belittle her, it belittles her for being black and not behaving according to a racial role arbitrarily defined by him. If Rancourt wishes to justify this usage based on some mistaken notion of equivalence between white and black usage of this loaded term, he is being self-contradictory. He cannot feign colour blindness while specifically and derogatorily indicating a person’s colour. Nor can he claim racism for criticism of his usage of this term while ignoring the severe historical imbalance of power between whites and blacks in North America.

Perhaps Rancourt’s intent isn’t racist, but the result is.

Denis Rancourt said...


I agree that "it is also the attitudes and actions that issue from this belief" and I would add "whether the belief is conscious/admitted or not".

Therefore, the question here, using the dictionary definition(s) that we both accept, is:

Is "specifically and derogatorily indicating a person’s colour" racist (in its own right)? In other words, does it "issue from" "a belief in racial superiority"?

It is a question of objective logic that for a white person to "specifically and derogatorily indicat[e] a person’s colour" in criticizing a black person's actions using a defined racial socio-political term is not in itself racist.

Otherwise, by logic, it would be racist for a white person to criticize a black person using a defined racial term of criticism. That is, it would necessarily imply that the white person had a conscious or unconscious belief in race superiority.

The latter is an absurdity. It is Kafkaesque in its characterization of another person's mind and heart based entirely on language policing. It is an expression of a desire to language police, to train-out supposed racism via behavioural impositions. It is therefore also based on an incorrect model of social betterment.

(It's sick, right up there with arguing that Malcolm X was racist against blacks. And it's a middle class sickness.)

Read more HERE.

Denis Rancourt said...

If I criticize your actions, does that imply that I believe I am superior to you?

If I am white and you are black, does it imply that I believe the white race is superior to the black race?

If my criticism has sting and uses historical references does that imply that I believe the white race is superior to the black race?

If my historical references are racial and that is part of the sting, does that imply that I believe the white race is superior to the black race?

The rigorously necessary answer to all of these questions is NO.

Anonymous said...

No, that is not even close to objectively logical. If you derogatorily indicate a person’s colour it is racist. Furthermore, if you use a racial socio-political term to give people the impression that the target of the insult is a sell-out to their own race and a slave to a white man it is racist. It is racist for a white person to criticize a black person by pointing out their race. It is especially so if the black person’s race has absolutely nothing to do with the substance of the critique. In essence, you are attacking the person based on their race rather than the ideas they represent. Pointing out racist attitudes and rhetoric is not language policing. You are perfectly free to express racist ideas just as I am perfectly free to criticize them. However, when you are doing unfair damage to a person’s name it is another story entirely.

Who here is arguing that Malcolm X was racist against blacks? The only contention related to that is that a white man cannot use the same racially loaded terms as a black man. Sorry, you’re not Malcolm X.

If you criticize someone’s actions it is fine. If you criticize someone as a person by specifically referring to their race it is a criticism loaded with historically-rooted conceptions of superiority, intentional or not. Pointing out someone’s race is not racist, critiquing them by pointing out their race is racist. If your historical references are racial and that is part of the sting, it does not necessarily indicate that you believe the white race is superior to the black race. It does, however, reflect those racist attitudes to most readers familiar with racial history.

On another note, I feel that you diminished the civil rights movement and the continuing struggle against racism by using this term because you disagreed with a report. There are other more effective ways of expressing your disagreement.