Many years ago when I initially became involved in human rights activity, I soon learned there was no group more intolerant of human rights than those who were for it. The British Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is now embroiled in a controversy in which staff complain they are not allowed to speak freely about conditions for fear of being charged with being a racist. Kay Hampton, Chairwoman of the Commission for Racial Equality, recently resigned from EHRC because it has become intolerant of differing views. “There are a number of people who are unhappy and those who ask questions are not listened to… I believe people are being threatened and harassed. Some are scared that they will be labeled racists if they actually speak out.” Since 2007, at least 47 grievance cases have been filed.
All too frequently those who place themselves in leadership positions in human rights groups have decided what constitutes the right views to have. I recall a meeting at a college in which I referred to myself as an East European Jewish Socialist and was told by a black colleague, “you are a white man, that is who you are.” It is so nice when politically correct racial authorities decide who I am or am not. If you wish to silent any group of people who are gathered to discuss issues of human rights, trot out the racist label and it silences any who oppose politically correct positions. Some day each individual will be able to define him or herself without the need to place humans in categories.