There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that the land beneath our feet, upon which our homes stand and where our children play once belonged to others. Whether that’s the horror of colonization or the normal trend of humanity as reflected in how peoples have rise and fall is a different matter. Were the people from whom the last colonizers took the land the rightful “owners,” or did their ancestors take it from their predecessors? Does it matter? It does if you work at the Toronto Zoo.
To call this an acknowledgement is troubling, as it’s not merely a call for recognition of an indisputable fact, that there were others here before “us,” provided you don’t test the “us” part to hard by asking what your first generation immigrant parents had to do with it. And if it stopped there, it would serve the purpose of having people think about the issue, regardless of whether it would serve to make them empathetic for what was done to those whose land it was before or not.
But then, the job requires that this “acknowledgement” be performed as a ritual before every meeting, every gathering. And it’s not merely a matter of self-reflection, but a psalm.
Not only is the flock told to speak the gospel aloud, but to practice it because “some of the pronunciations [ ] can be tricky.” God will not smile upon you if you mispronounce her name.
Granted, this is Toronto which, for the geographically-challenged, is in Canada, the land of Moulson, moose meat and invisible girlfriends. They have different laws than we do, and so the legality of such an employment requirement has little applicability to the United States. But the religious fervor and flavor of this acknowledgement knows no borders. Nor does the proselytization, which isn’t at all limited to the singular concern of the evils of colonization.
The question isn’t whether this is right or wrong, or as ridiculous as the “Filipinx diaspora” suggests, but whether it is recognized not as a matter of political belief but an ideology that can swiftly assume the trappings of a religion, from saying a prayer before services to making the big words “less scary.”
Presumably, it’s understood that those who would pray to the prophet Trump are no less religious fanatics desperately seeking a false idol, but then this would seem too obvious to require explanation. Who would be so blind and stupid as to pray to a vulgar, amoral, narcissistic ignoramus?
But the enticement of social justice is that it offers a more beneficent god. That’s what makes this woke religion more insidious, that one can easily agree with the worthiness of many of its concerns, empathy for indigenous people, support for the “marginalized” who suffered historic discrimination and providing everyone with the feelings of “safety and belonging.” There is nothing bad or wrong about any of these goals and acknowledgements, which is why it can so easily slip from a fair belief into a religion, just as it has at the Toronto Zoo.