Wente Watch

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Out, damned spot in my eye

Wente does what she likes best: criticizing nonwhites.

There are perfectly legitimate reasons to oppose the niqab. The most basic are theological; there is no mention of niqabs in the Koran or the hadiths. They were added centuries later, much like celibacy in the Catholic Church. Even today, they are not worn most of the Muslim world. A genuine case exists that they are a symbol of the subjugation of women.

But if the niqab is a symbol of patriarchy, that would be as true in Saudi Arabia as in Canada. Much more, in fact, since in Saudi Arabia thuggish morality police force women to wear it, whereas in Canada it is to a large degree voluntary. It should not matter what country you are wearing it in for it to be right or wrong.

But Wente is not really interested in improving the status of women worldwide. That would be feminist (or, in her mind, man-hating). To her it doesn't really matter if darky women are oppressed in "their" countries. What matters is how they behave in a white country. She quotes a London Times op-ed:

If you don't like living here and don't want to integrate, then what the hell are you doing here?

and adds her own spin:

There is a growing sentiment that immigrants should be more like "us"

"Us", of course, means white people, and "immigrants" means nonwhite people.

Now Wente has never, as far as I know, opposed immigration. To her, nonwhites are welcome to stay in Canada, provided that they dress, talk, eat, listen to the same music, and make themselves indistinguishable from whites. Eating McDonald's and watching Friends reruns is Canadian, but nibbling on chapatis and teaching your kids Punjabi is not. The niqab does not originate in Europe or a European-settled country, therefore it is foreign, and inferior.

A key implication of this idea is that immigrants of colour, no matter how long they may have been in Canada, are not "true" Canadians. They are mere guests in the country, who must be deferential to their white hosts, never complaining or rocking the boat. The key differential is not birth, but ethnicity. A third-generation Canadian of Pakistani origin is an immigrant, while an white immigrant from the United States (such as Wente herself) is every inch a pure laine Canadian.

It logically follows that nonwhites, in spirit if not in law, are second-class citizens. No one would dream of telling Wente to return to her country of birth because of her decidedly un-Canadian right-wing views, but Wente shows no hesitation in telling niqab wearers to leave the country because she doesn't like to look at them.

Wente concludes with please, ladies, take off your veil. If the veil is being worn voluntarily, it is none of Wente's business what other women wear. If the woman is being coerced into it, Wente's pontificating isn't going to make any difference.


  • Just passing thru by accident, but I'm puzzled by the purpose of the anti-Wente (?) sentiments of this blog. Is it an attempt to suppress free speech because you don't agree with her opinions or because you've been personally offended by racial comments in the past? -- all rhetorical questions, of course -- because you have the liberty of free speech yourself.

    I've read a few columns by Wente but have never consider her to be "out-of-line". Wente is considered a moderate in my opinion when compared to other blogs and websites such as these:




    ...and a couple of U.S. websites that really let loose with their "still intact" freedom of speech laws.



    ....& this site designed for new immigrants.

    So, you've got a big job ahead of you, if your purpose is to suppress or ridicule one writer's opinions. --over & out--

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 12, 2006 3:40 p.m.  

  • Not to mention that, regardless of race, regardless of religion, it is terribly rude to try to convince or coerce people into exposing more of their body than they are comfortable with.

    By Blogger impudent strumpet, at October 12, 2006 8:20 p.m.  

  • These people who dress in such a manner are just rude. I don't care who they are. I don't think they should be able to see out from this garment. I'd feel more comfortable if they couldn't see my face. Mirrored sunglasses are not nearly as rude.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 13, 2006 1:49 a.m.  

  • You really have no idea what you're talking about.

    By Blogger toobusyliving, at October 13, 2006 6:08 a.m.  

  • I'm sure everybody's dress offends somebody. Niqab-wearers are probably offended by miniskirts, for example. I don't like niqab or hijab, but I don't think the law requires that people dress to please me. Jack Straw, who started all this, only asked women to remove their veils when talking to him -- he didn't insist on it.

    One consideration that has not been mentioned, though, is that many places ban covering of the face as an anticrime measure. I imagine that if corporate Canada starts to lose money to pistol-packing gangs of niqab-wearing Muslim women, niqab will be outlawed in an instant.

    By Anonymous Trontonian, at October 13, 2006 8:42 p.m.  

  • Has Wente forgotten that she is an immigrant? Appalling.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at October 15, 2006 10:08 a.m.  

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