September 9, 2002

John Furedy

Letter to Editor, University of Toronto Bulletin

A Simple Rule: Do Not Discriminate

Marcella Bollers provides a vivid description of her feelings concerning employment equity and my recent criticism of it (Employment equity report flawed, May 6), but in addition she states that she “often wonder(s)” whether “so many people particularly white males (my emphasis)... ever speak out against ‘true’ discrimination” (Women have to be better to be equal, July 22).

Well, on that point, there are many “white males” who not only spoke out but even put their lives on the line both in South Africa and in the civil rights campaign in the American South.  They were acting in line with Martin Luther King’s maxim that people should be judged by “the content of their character” rather than the “colour of their skin.”  Moreover, I too have on occasion spoken out on forms of racial discrimination, as when I wrote to The Toronto Star in the early 1980's opposing as racist, arguments that there were too many Chinese in the U of T engineering faculty.

Of course I do not accept the distinction made between “true” and “reverse” discrimination, whether it be on the basis of race or sex, especially in tenured stream faculty appointments at a university with the academic prestige that U of T enjoys.  My view is that there is one simple rule to fighting discrimination: do not discriminate.

John Furedy, Psychology Department, University of Toronto

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