When I first read about this story I didn't know what to make of it. I came across this South African news service and found myself being persuaded by most of the comments which can be summed up thusly: Canadians are stupid. And they're right to say so. Canada's refugee system is ripe for abuse and the gullible nature of it has made us the laughing stock of the international community, not the envy. An apt quote was made by a Russian diplomat, quoted in Stewart Bell's recommended book Cold Terror, that Canada is the land of trusting fools. No truer words have ever been spoken describing the national psyche. What we call compassion others accurately see as foolishness, some with the intent of exploiting it. Couple this with a pathetic record of enforcing deportation orders and an endless appeals process Canada is an inviting place for every con man and their uncle to make a run for the border. After all, everyone in the world knows if you're going to make an asylum claim Canada is the place to do it.
So I thought this would be another example illustrating the stupidity and naiveté of the Immigration and Refugee Board and why we need competent, educated individuals to staff it, not political appointees and hacks. But then I did a little more reading and thought why not? Many, many, people have used race to get into the country as a refugee. Why not whites?
I think what many people have trouble getting their heads around is that maybe racism isn't inherently a white trait. That perhaps racism transcends race and that whites can be victims of it as well. Indeed in Canada we do exercise a form of polite racism against the host white majority population only we call it "equal opportunity employment" or "diversifying the workforce", fancy ways of saying working class whites, especially white males, need not apply.
The comments I have been reading from South Africans regarding the asylum claim is that discrimination and persecution against the white minority in the "Rainbow Nation" exists and it doesn't exist. I don't live there, I have no intention of living there or of even visiting the place, so I don't know what to make of the contradictory claims. What is clear is that the asylum ruling has set a precedent for white South Africans to make refugee claims in Canada based on race. African South Africans have made asylum claims in Canada during the apartheid years. Are whites going to take a turn at a kick at the can? Has South Africa become that hostile to them? I don't know.
If the allegations of persecution are true then South Africa's whites are not alone. Zimbabweans have received a not too friendly welcome from South Africans but this has more to do with economics than race.