Judge Eliana Marengo recently told another human being that she had to be stripped of her identity and publicly humiliated in order to have her case heard in a court in Québec. That is to say, the judge refused to hear the case while she was wearing a hijab.
For clarity, Article 13 of the regulations of the Court of Quebec make no reference to headscarves. This was just one judge’s decision to make life harder for another human being. And it was racist.
Wait, how was it racist?
This is a point that people keep refusing to understand. I have written previously about how you can be substantially racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. without ever actually making reference to a person’s race, sex, orientation, gender, etc. This is exactly the same thing.
A policy that makes life harder for one group of people is discriminatory against that group, regardless of how obliquely that group is singled out in the wording of the policy itself. And it’s still discriminatory even if that policy contains an ostensibly non-racist/non-sexist/etc. counter-example to ward off suspicions of racism, sexism, etc. (Cf. the Charter of Values and conspicuously large crucifixes).
It is laughable that Marengo invoked equality to justify her racist abuse of power. She deigned to instruct us in righteousness by telling us, “The same rules need to be applied to everyone.” To get an idea of how the rules are applied to everyone in Québec, I have compiled Table 1, below.
White people do religious stuff in the public sphere in Québec all the time. Nobody minds. Nobody gets upset. Certainly nobody refuses to give them the basic justice that all humans are due. But when one private person of colour wears a hijab to court, suddenly a) it’s fair game to publicly humiliate them and strip their identity, and b) it’s hitting below the belt to call it “racist” when it happens.
Table 1: A convenience sample of conspicuous religious accommodations in the province of Québec, indexed by race
|Religious thing||Private or public?||Who did it? (Race)||Is it okay in Québec?|
|Prominent crucifix in legislature||Public||White||Okay!|
|Giant cross overlooking biggest city in province||Public||White||Okay!|
|Big white cross dominating the provincial flag||Public||White||Okay!|
|Nearly every street and city named after a Christian saint||Public||White||Okay!|
|Private person wearing hijab in court||Private||POC||“This is unacceptable! Religious people are always demanding more and more accommodations. This is not about race at all!”|