Archive for January, 2015

Criminalized after disputing “beauty is a European concept” Part III

January 22, 2015

Until today when I’m posting my story online, I still get some Whites to tell me by email or message: Mind you, beauty is a European concept.

Don’t get fooled by their “free speech” talking. This is not about free speech, it’s about racism, & White supremacy. In the West, you may need to be White to tell a White professor that his theory “beauty is a European concept” is incorrect. Unfortunately me, not White but did so, and got criminalized.

After I was fired by U of T from my cafeteria position, I applied for unemployment insurance, but it was running out and I was unable to locate a job, because of lack of “Canadian experience” as my Canadian experience had only been as a student, and I was not skilled for the job market, I could not find even a cleaning or baby sitting job though I had registered with many domestic employment agencies (keep in mind, this was during the peak of the serious economic recession in Canada with a 17% unemployment rate). At one point, there was only a double digit balance in my back account; at one time there were only $27 dollars. I panicked.

At the same time, the Commission appeared very positive, I was advised that they accepted my filing of a formal complaint even before I had exhausted the University’s internal appeal channels, as an exception to their regular practice. In July of 1994, I was advised that the Commission made a decision that my case be sent to the Commission’s Hamilton/Niagara Office for “expedite handling” since there was no “back logged cases.” It gave me great hope and confidence about my case at the Commission, since I had never requested an “expedite handling,” and had not even contacted the Commission for quite a while.

So I began to view the OHRC as my only hope to survival, and began to pursue my case vigorously.

Initially, when I filed the complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), I was cautious at the OHRC. In its Toronto office, an officer drafted my Complaint for me, and asked me for something about my supervisor professor, I declined to answer. The officer then told me about the Commission’s “confidentiality rule,” and that I had the duty to tell the Commission everything true – “everything you tell the Commission is only between you and the Commission.” When I came out, I took an OHRC’s pamphlet and did find that in it. I later telephone consulted a legal practitioner, and learned that I must answer a legal tribunal’s questioning as a witness by law, and that my testimony could not be used against me in anyway, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights. So I began to answer all the Commission’s questions freely.

In the OHRC’s Hamilton Office, my case was assigned to an investigator, Allan Strojin. In our first conversation over the phone on October 21, 1994, he asked me what I lived on, I told him my situation and said I probably would not be able to survive, and cried. He then asked, “what are you going to do if your case can’t be resolved at the Commission?” I answered: “then I’m going to die.”

Strojin comforted me and advised me that I should be eligible for social assistance, which I never knew about as a foreign student. I immediately investigated and confirmed that, and later after the UI I did receive social assistance. I felt the Commission rescued me during a time of extreme devastation and panic, and was particularly grateful to Strojin for that.

What I said was only an honest answer to the question of the Commission’s officer. It was only out of temporary agitation. I only knew that everything I said to the Commission was “confidential,” which was also confirmed to me by Strojin, so I could not have formed any intent to “threaten” Waterhouse. Such agitated expressions were not uncommon, as Strojin later testified at trial that he had regularly witnessed the human rights complainants before the OHRC saying similar things.

Then Strojin, as if out of sympathy, befriended me by sharing with me his background and family matters, etc. He told me that he, as a mix of being Native Indian and White, resented the racist brutality encountered by his people in history, and in his own family history. He educated me about racism in Canada which I as a foreign student barely had any knowledge of. When I said I was going to write a book entitled “The Concept of Beauty” about my experience to reveal this hypocritical Western democracy, Strojin gave me positive comment and added he would write a “Preface” to my book to tell the immigrant-wannabes not to feel like the grass is always greener on the otherside”. At one point, when the U of T offered to settle with me with $5,000 for compensation and I hesitated, Strojin encouraged me to go on with my case at the OHRC, saying that they thought your life was only worth $5,000. I therefore decided to reject the offer and continue with my case.