BC Human Rights Tribunal Says Punjabi Word White Girl “Gori” is Not Discriminatory

A BC Human Rights Tribunal as ordered that a word to describe a race isn’t offensive or discriminatory. Jocelyn Gowland accused her landlord Kulwinder Gill to routinely use the word “Gori” to describe her and stated she found it to be discriminatory.

The tribunal ruled that the landlord was not discriminatory when referring to his tenant as “Gori.” Gowland in her testimony said the word was “Rude, Reverse racism” and offensive like the N word.

The head of the Tribunal stated:

“The nub of Ms. Gowland’s complaint concerns the use of the Punjabi or Hindi noun “gori”. I find Mr. Gill and his family members used the word often; that it was used in everyday conversation; and, that there was nothing unusual or pejorative in its usage. “Gori” was used as a simple noun, for that is what the word is, as general reference to white women or white people. I find that gori was also used to refer to Ms. Gowland. I find Mr. Gill and his family members considered the word innocuous and inoffensive and that it was not used by them as a slur or to demean Ms. Gowland.”

In all instances, I prefer Mr. Gill’s evidence over that of Ms. Gowland’s owing to an overall unreliability with her evidence. I found her evidence speculative and inconsistent with the probabilities affecting the case as a whole. I find Ms. Gowland’s

Ms. Gowland testified she found “gori” demeaning and as offensive as the “N” word. I can take notice that the “N” word is almost universally recognized as offensive. However, I can take no such notice of the word “gori”. Ms. Gowland, aside from a personally held opinion of the word “gori” as being offensive, provided no objective or other evidence in support. She presented no objective evidence upon which to conclude that “gori” is a slur or an offensive word and/or that it is analogous to the “N” word. [42]

Ms. Gowland does not speak Punjabi, but understands a few words, including the word “gori”. Words may mean different things to different listeners. And much depends on the context and the cultural milieu within which conversations take place. “

Read the full judgement:

BC Human Rights Tribunal ruling on use of "white girl"

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