– 7 –

 

It was the obvious solution to an age-old problem: Evil. The way to banish it was to banish white men. Heterosexual white men, that is. English-speaking heterosexual white men. Not to put too fine a point on it, but English-speaking heterosexual white men who weren’t Jewish.

They had already been redundant anyway, ever since Jennifer at the Rosedale Human Rights Commission ruled that white men were not entitled to jobs. That decision simply enshrined a practice that had been taking hold for decades. But as the camps were being set up, Becky at the Upper Shaughnessy Human Rights Commission pointed out that white men weren’t entitled to food and shelter either, so the least they could do was work for it. With such surprising efficiency that some people almost thought the plan was already in the works — in fact it was an idea whose time had long since come — a nation-wide network of armed camps was established where white men slept in guarded bunkhouses before being sent to work every day in whatever industry needed them. That was most of the industries in Canada, it turned out.

And plenty of others that relocated from abroad. A population of docile men who worked for food and shelter became Canada’s economic advantage as countries like India, China and Vietnam outsourced their less desirable jobs.

In most cases the white guys went quietly. Some of them were grateful, as they should be, for food, shelter, work and relative safety.

As if they were in any position to resist. They were vastly outnumbered by white women and non-whites, any one of whom could snitch on any white guy fugitive. Anyone who actively resisted could face the firepower of First Nations, police, gangs or military.

First Nations had already taken over some of the less populated regions. The police hadn’t employed any white guys for years. Most of the gangs practised ethnic solidarity and, anyway, they couldn’t have used white guys if they wanted to. They were far too conspicuous.

There were white guys in the armed forces, lots of them. But they were all fighting overseas, leaving a domestic military comprised of women, non-whites and, by far the majority, Quebecois. None of them would ever go near combat so this was a welcome opportunity to show off their courage, not to mention their automatic weapons.

At any rate, with multiculturals all across Canada rising up against the racist white guy menace, the camps were safer. They even had 24-hour suicide watch.

The Toronto Star’s white guys were bused in under armed guard from a camp a few miles away, then bused back when their work was done. They were guarded by Koreans these days, which cut back on the absenteeism which some of the white guys tried to blame on injuries and death. Cut away all that racist sensationalism, Mackenzie knew, and you’d find the Guyanese guards had been commendable for their enthusiasm.

That was one of the things that kept the newsroom white guys in line. They knew that Mackenzie or any other white woman could have any one of them transferred to any other camp at any time. They might work out their final days anywhere from a sewage plant in Toronto to an asbestos mine in Quebec to a chemical plant in New Bhopal, Saskatchewan. They might live and toil under guards from Jamaica, Somalia or Ipperwash. Any white guy could be transferred to any of those fates at any time.

But the Star did need a core of competent white guys to put the paper together. So it would be irresponsible to keep transferring them on whim, especially when there were more amusing ways to keep them in line. Any newsroom white woman could reduce any white guy to quaking fear and outright despair just by threatening him with those two simple words, the two simple words no white guy ever wanted to hear: sensitivity training.

Mackenzie smiled at the thought. From the way white guys reacted, you’d think they’d rather be thrown to the Jamaicans. No wonder. No white guy ever had a spark left in him after a two-week sentence in sensitivity training. That’s all it took — two weeks of total immersion in the details of white male racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism as related by blacks, white women, Muslims, homosexuals and Jews, two weeks of constantly confessing and apologizing, re-confessing and re-apologizing, two weeks of wallowing in the filth of their own historic guilt, with the prospect of one or more two-week extensions to begin the process all over again. That’s all it took to reduce any white guy to a sad, simpering subhuman mess. With a quick look around the newsroom Mackenzie could spot a few white guys who had already reached that stage. The rest didn’t have far to go.

Mackenzie watched their skinny frames in their baggy orange camp uniforms as they hunched over their computers putting together the lead items she chose for the day’s paper. Most prominent was a photo of the Prime Minister’s Wife with Namibian schoolkids in Camrose, Alberta, and an editorial calling for more Holocaust memorials in the suburbs. Top stories related Canada’s formal apology to the Roma, a gripping account of a girl who defied the almost insuperable barriers of sexism to take guitar lessons, the most recent stats on white guy hate crimes and, of course, the headline story reporting today’s proceedings of The Trial.

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