Archive for December, 2014

Part II. Criminalized for Disputing the theory that “beauty is a European concept” by Canada and USA

December 29, 2014

Part II

As a result of Waterhouse’s retaliation, my application to the Ph.D program was rejected by the Department. Under the University’s policy, such intentional violation of grading policy and regulations would subject Waterhouse to serious sanctions. But since I was a racial minority student, and Waterhouse a member of the White privileged class, the University of Toronto, later joined by the whole justice system and another White American professor, geared up to cover up for Waterhouse and persecute me for complaining against Waterhouse.

After I lost my Ph.D application, I began to complain against Waterhouse’ racist reprisal to the University and requested the wrongs to be corrected and apology from Waterhouse. In this process I discovered from the Department the basic facts of Waterhouse’s fraud over my grade, etc., as mentioned above . When I questioned Waterhouse in a meeting with him, he admitted: “Yes I did.” But later he asserted it was an “innocent mistake”, and denied that he retaliated against me saying I misunderstood his theory. In covering up for Waterhouse, the university administration denied my right to access to my student file to find out what Waterhouse exactly did to me, which was my right under university policy.

In the department, all Asian professors eventually withdrew from sitting at the departmental appeal committee to hear my appeal, so finally it was the only one White professor who signed the decision to reject my appeal. Then an all White professors’ University’s Appeal Committee heard my appeal. They listened to my story so tentatively, and all of them so vigorously blamed Waterhouse who also attended the meeting. Waterhouse was grossly outraged and argued with them very angrily to defend himself, saying another Asian student also alleged he was racist, and that “we” are too tolerant for “them” to play race card. So it was totally to my astonishment when I received their decision to reject my appeal.

At the time, I was a part time student, since I was also part time working to support myself and pay the tuition fees. I worked on a full time well paid summer job in the East Asian department of the Royal Ontario Museum, which is affiliated with the East Asian Studies Dept. of the U of T. Because of my well appreciated work, I had been notified that I would be the only student to be hired back for next summer. Then during my appeal process, one day Waterhouse as if very casually asked me if I had worked in the Museum. I confirmed that. Soon I received a letter from the Museum that informed me that I would not be hired back. This was obviously a reprisal from Waterhouse. I was very upset, and brought a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in 1993.

In the meantime I had been working for years on a part counter help time job in a university cafeteria on campus. As my complaint continued at the OHRC, I was fired by the university from this job without any explanation or notice. I lost all my income sources all together and could not find another job, since it was in a time of the most serious economic recession in Canada in its recent history. Without income I had to drop out of the school, and faced with question of survival.

I then rushed back to the OHRC to continue my Complaint, which I had already basically stopped pursuing after filing it with the Commission. The Commission then became the only hope of survival to me, and initially it did give me a lot of help and support.

However, in my back the Commission already began to conspire with the U of T to suppress my Complaint.

As I later discovered, the U of T and the Commission were already exchanging drafts of an agreement regarding “the final result” of my case in my back. During the investigation process, the OHRC obtained my academic file at the U of T, but declined to disclose to me the info in my file regarding what had transpired at U of T about the grade etc. Also, although the OHRC had conducted a series of investigative interviews with key witnesses of the fake grade at the university – the then department Chair, Graduate Coordinator, etc., it refused to disclose to me any interview results.

So until now, what Waterhouse did to me in his reprisal is still a secret, only partially known to me based on the materials available to me.


Part I. Criminalized for Disputing the theory that “beauty is a European concept” by Canada and USA

December 9, 2014

Criminalized After Disputing ‘Beauty Is A European Concept’

I was criminalized and lost everything in life, only because I disagreed with a White professor’s theory that beauty is a European concept, and complained against his retaliation. My alleged crime was that I “meant” to threaten the professor, as a judge admittedly “guessed”.

I came to Canada in 1989 from China on a student visa. Previously I had university education and was a teacher in China. In 1991, I was registered in a Master program in the East Asia Studies Department of the University of Toronto (U of T), and took a Chinese art history course with an Asian art history professor David Waterhouse.

In February 1991, Waterhouse instructed us to study his recent research paper about his theory on “the concept of beauty”. His theory was based on Asian-European cross-cultural comparative studies. He told us that, Adam and Eve in the Genesis story of The Bible appreciated “Every tree is pleasant to sight”, “it was the first aesthetic response in history “, but Asians did not have the concept of beauty in history, for that “beautiful” this word in Indian and Japanese languages did not originally mean the same as Adam and Eve’s appreciation of “pleasant to sight”, but meant something else such as good taste of food, etc. He then concluded: “We can safely identify ‘beautiful’ this shopworn epithet is a European concept.”

I asked out of curiosity: “So what’s the origin of the English word ‘beautiful’?” Waterhouse could not answer, but continued to read that, if the concept of beauty is applied to Asian art, “we may be extending the meaning of this concept and possibly creating confusions about it.”

Waterhouse’s paper also openly calls to revive a 1930’s German art history theory called Style, a theory of aesthetic analysis based upon the concept of biological or racial characteristics that was criticized by famous American art historian Meyer Schapiro for “played a significant role in promoting national consciousness and race feeling.”

In the following class, Waterhouse said that he had checked out that the English word “beautiful” was borrowed from Latin language originally. I said: “The Chinese word ‘beautiful’ is one of the earliest Chinese characters inscribed on oracle bones, dated from 16-11 B.C., and it originally meant ‘pleasant to sight’.” Waterhouse said he would consider my opinion.

Two months later, Waterhouse read an article in the class which he wrote about a Chinese contemporary artist/art historian C.C. Wong in US. He read:”…Despite the well-known fact that China has been far left behind history, some Chinese people are still very keen to claim historical inventions and achievements… … despite C.C. Wong he himself now lives in Washington D.C….” I felt it was hinting at my dispute with him on the concept of beauty and was very upset.

I later assumed that maybe because I’d only offered the evidences on the concept of beauty from Chinese sources, Waterhouse misunderstood that I was trying to rival with him to claim the concept of beauty as a “Chinese invention”. So when I wrote my middle term essay and had to come across the topic of aesthetics in Chinese art history, I thought it might be a good chance for me to clear up the “misunderstanding”. So while I cited briefly about Chinese people’s appreciation of beauty in history, I cited to a large extent of that from other sources such as Australia Natives, Africans, etc. to prove that the concept of “beautiful” is universal to all human beings in history since it was rooted in human being’s biological instinct.

Waterhouse then wrote in his comments to my paper: “The best part of this paper is in the last section where you have collected early Chinese passages which show appreciation of ‘beautiful’. I have to agree with your findings here.” I was disappointed that Waterhouse would only single out the Chinese sources in my paper to respond. His sensitivity toward the Chinese source later was extended to the university. In a decision to deny my Complaint, the U of T characterized the dispute as: “In considering the concept of ‘beauty’, Prof. Waterhouse was said to conclude that concept was European in origin. Ms. Liao, in her paper, was concerned to demonstrate that ‘beauty’ was a very old Chinese concept.”

After the dispute, Waterhouse retaliated against me in purpose to interfere with my Ph.D application by a series of fraud, in violation of the university’s grading systems and academic regulations: a). Faking a B as final grade of the course for me while I was still taking the course with him and submitted it to the Graduate School and the department admission committee;  b). Lied to the school clerk in reply to the clerk’s inquiry about the course designation error on the grade submission form to get the grade entered; c). Bypassing the department chair for grade approving as required by the university’s grading policy, the Chair was Asian (Korean); d). Providing a reference letter to the Committee for my Ph.D application in that he falsified a capacity for himself as my program supervisor to object my application; etc.

(To be continued).