Why are we institutionalizing identity politics?

This post is a quick reflection on three stories, happening in Nova Scotia, Québec, and the United States. They all share the underlying dangerous game of identity politics or racial politics.  

In Halifax (Nova Scotia), as you can see in the video below, the current Premier, Mr. Stephen McNeil, apologized “for systemic racism in justice system”. He did it adding: “I see you, I hear you, I believe you”. The Premiers called all the institutions of his province racist. Does that make any sense? Perhaps to you, but not to Bambi. Why are these institutions racist all of a sudden? This PM apologized not for any past wrongdoing, but for the present. He apologized even before the results of the committee work of his own authorities and its recommendation(s). Why the rush?

If you take the time to listen to part of the same official video in an article by CTV news, you will see the Black Lives Matter sign written on the street across from the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel. Bambi personally finds it a sad view to see from the room of her preferred hotel in town. Why is this beautiful city endorsing radical movements? How will this make our world a better or safer place, she keeps wondering?

https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/i-see-you-i-hear-you-i-believe-you-n-s-premier-apologizes-for-systemic-racism-in-justice-system-1.5124691

Anyhow, that was the first story.

The second story builds on a tragedy about disrespect of a patient by a nurse (who said awfully racist remarks recorded on a video). The patient, whose name is Ms. Joyce Echaquan, sadly lost her life following the UNACCEPTABLE incident that took place at Joliette hospital (Québec). She was a mother to seven kids ☹.

Mr. François Legault, the Prime Minister (name of Premiers in Québec), announced yesterday that this nurse is fired. Good to act fast on this one.

Today, we just learned that the Leader of the Liberal Party of Québec, Ms. Dominique Anglade, is calling for the resignation of the Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs (Ms. Sylvie D’Amours). 

https://translate.google.ca/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lapresse.ca%2Factualites%2Fpolitique%2F2020-09-30%2Fmort-de-joyce-echaquan%2Fanglade-reclame-la-demission-de-la-ministre-d-amours.php

She does know about you, but Bambi finds it disgusting when someone uses a human tragedy to advance a political move or agenda. This reminds Bambi of what has been done following the HORRIBLE death of Mr. Floyd. We have pushed for identity politics around the world, not even in the USA. Even our own Mr. Justin Trudeau took the knee (ironically protected by a group of RCMP officers whilst demonstrating against the police. Do you see the irony too 😊?).

Anyhow, perhaps it is common for politicians to use events but using identity politics is a DANGEROUS game that can lead to tragic consequences (for a not-to-do lesson, read the recent history of Lebanon).

Now, the third story is about an increasingly common phenomenon in the United States’ medical schools where students are re-writing the traditional Hippocratic Oath, which starts with the traditional first, do no harm” (or “primum non nocere,” in Latin as a translation from the original Greek).

Of course, throughout history, there has been attempts to re-write this oath or to make more modern versions of it. This is not the point of this post. The point is how latest versions seem to be turning future physicians more into activists than clinicians. Is the former what you look for in a healthcare provider, as a patient? As far as Bambi is concerned, she looks for expertise and, of course, compassion. Period.

Well, Bambi has developed a sort of an allergy to ideologies in life after going through civil war. She has witnessed how too much ideology can radicalize people, especially when they may lack critical sense. 

Anyhow, you can see below the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Class of 2024 Oath (taken from: https://www.pittwire.pitt.edu/news/modern-day-hippocrates-incoming-school-medicine-students-write-their-own-oath):

“As the entering class of 2020, we start our medical journey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and a national civil rights movement reinvigorated by the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. We honor the 700,000+ lives lost to COVID-19, despite the sacrifices of health care workers.

We recognize the fundamental failings of our health care and political systems in serving vulnerable communities. This oath is the first step in our enduring commitment to repairing the injustices against those historically ignored and abused in medicine: Black patients, Indigenous patients, Patients of Color and all marginalized populations who have received substandard care as a result of their identity and limited resources.

Acknowledging the privilege and responsibility that come with being a physician, I take this oath as a call to action to fulfill my duty to patients, to the medical profession and to society.

Thereby, I pledge as a physician and lifelong student of medicine:

I will support and collaborate with my colleagues across disciplines and professions, while respecting the patient’s vital role on the health care team.

I will honor my physical, mental and emotional health so as to not lessen the quality of care I provide. 

I will carry on the legacy of my predecessors by mentoring the next generation of diverse physicians.

I will recognize the pivotal role of ethical research in the advancement of medicine and commit myself to endless scholarship with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.

I will care for my patients’ holistic well-being, not solely their pathology. With empathy, compassion and humility, I will prioritize understanding each patient’s narrative, background and experiences while protecting privacy and autonomy.

I will champion diversity in both medicine and society, and promote an inclusive environment by respecting the perspectives of others and relentlessly seeking to identify and eliminate my personal biases.

I will be an ally to those of low socioeconomic status, the BIPOC community, the LGBTQIA+ community, womxn/women, differently-abled individuals and other underserved groups in order to dismantle the systemic racism and prejudice that medical professionals and society have perpetuated.

I will educate myself on social determinants of health in order to use my voice as a physician to advocate for a more equitable health care system from the local to the global level.

I will restore trust between the health care community and the population in which I serve by holding myself and others accountable, and by combating misinformation in order to improve health literacy.

In making this oath, I embrace the ever-changing responsibilities of being a physician and pledge to uphold the integrity of the profession in the clinic and beyond.”

Of course, Bambi may be wrong in her reflections or you may not agree with her concern about identity politics infiltrating all our institutions and even our streets with slogans.

You may perhaps be applauding to the oath above or to the apologies.

Anyhow, time will tell us where we are heading with all this.

May the best happen to our beautiful sister province, to us, to our neighbouring country, and to the whole world.

May everyone be as respectful as possible, regardless of his or her profession or role (nurse/physician or patient).

Today, a nurse or a physician may be an employed healthcare provider. Tomorrow, he/she will be a consumer of that same system. Same for our politicians. Today, they are writing history (or so they think), tomorrow they (or their children) will reap the fruits of their ideas and apologies.

It is Bambi’s hope that these fruits will be delicious for all, instead of being too sour or bitter.

One thought on “Why are we institutionalizing identity politics?”

  1. This reminds me of the “Statement of Principles” that the woke bunch tried to push on the Law Society of Upper Canada membership.

    To the credit of the membership, an electoral revolt turfed many Benchers (roughly equivalent to directors elsewhere) and reversed this.

    Forcing people to say stuff like this is an insidious way of telling them who is in charge. It’s one level worse than forcing people to attend some dump “EDI” course – it’s forcing people to state that they agree with the garbage. Once one has done that, one has basically given up one’s free thought and lives as a hypocrite. That’s what it’s all about.

    Those who were made to grow up on the works of Marx and Lenin in the former East Bloc know full well what I mean.

    I can think of one engineer from the former Soviet Union whom I know, who to his eternal credit, flat out refused to join the Communist Party, relegating himself to garbage jobs, but keeping his self-reputation intact.

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