Thursday, October 12, 2017

TDSB's banning of title "Chief" just more misplaced political correctness

In yet another example of misplaced political correctness, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has voted to change any job titles that contain the word "Chief". Thus, heretofore innocent titles like Chief Planning Officer are to be changed to Manager of Planning. This is purportedly out of solidarity with and respect for Canada's Indigenous people, and on the grounds that "chief" is sometimes applied pejoratively to Indigenous people.
Now, Canada's native peoples are beset by a whole whole host of problems - not least among them clean water, housing and education deficits on reservations, and alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness and institutionalized racism in the cities - but the fact that a bunch of (mainly) white guys call themselves Chief Executive Officer and Chief Planning Officer, is surely not even on their radar. As far as I am aware, no one has made complaints about the use of the title of "Chief"; the TDSB came to this conclusion all on their own, presumably out of excessive and misplaced white guilt (we are guilty of many things in regards to the Indigenous population, but this is not one of them).
The word "chief" has been in the English language since centuries before Western contact with North America's First Nations, and the word itself has done nothing wrong. It carries with it no racial or negative connotations when used in its usual context, although, obviously, I would counsel against using it to a First Nations individual, unless they are in fact a chief (that is just common sense).
This, then, is just another case of inapt and ill-advised liberal over-sensitivity of the kind recently reported in this very blog in the case of the banning of the use of the word "Master" at the University of Toronto. It is a knee-jerk reaction, done with the best of intentions perhaps, but inappropriate and effectively useless. It may be commendable that the TDSB wants to help the beleaguered Indigenous people of Canada, but in that case they should concentrate on concrete actions that might actually achieve something. Changing a few people's titles is not going to help anyone, and they should not expect any pats on the back for it.

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