Michael Taube: The Woke Mob Comes for the Girl Guides of Canada – The Epoch Times


The term “woke mob” has been frequently used in casual and formal conversations the past couple of years. It refers to the group of perpetually outraged left-wingers who point their bony fingers at every instance of perceived racial, religious, and gender inequality.

What’s the woke mob’s newest conquest? The Girl Guides of Canada.

The century-old guiding organization recently announced it was going to rename its long-standing Brownie program for seven to eight-year-old girls. “We have heard from racialized girls that this name has caused them harm,” they tweeted on Nov. 15. “We cannot cause harm to any girls, so we are taking action to create a place where all girls belong.”

The Girl Guides of Canada’s official website went into further detail about the decision: “We have heard from members and former members that the name Brownies has caused them harm as racialized (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour) girls and women. Some do not want to be part of this branch because of the name. Some girls choose to skip this branch altogether or delay joining Girl Guides until after this branch. This branch name is a barrier to racialized girls and women feeling part of the Guiding sisterhood and we cannot use a word that causes any girl harm.”

The Brownies brouhaha has apparently been a bone of contention since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to the organization’s CEO, Jill Zelmanovits. That’s fascinating, since no one made mention of it until now.

Putting that aside, it’s a ridiculous decision. Canada’s Girl Guide movement goes back to 1910, and, according to its official history, the Brownies “were the first branch of Guiding.” Originally called the Rosebuds, the name was changed because while adults thought it was “sweet,” the girls “didn’t like” it. Robert Baden-Powell, the British army general who inspired the Scout Movement in his writings after returning home from the Second Boer War in South Africa, suggested switching it to Brownies. It was a popular name “based on the English folklore of little people doing secret good turns.” Brownies became official in 1919, and “the first Pack to be officially registered was the First Hanover (Ontario) Pack, April 22, 1920.”

The branch name’s history has absolutely nothing to do with race. It shouldn’t serve as a barrier to any former or current members who did a tiny bit of research into the organization they supposedly care so much about.

Brownies isn’t limited to the Girl Guides of Canada, either.

Children and adults have been making, eating and enjoying chocolate brownies for generations. The dessert item’s history reportedly goes back to Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel and a recipe concocted by socialite Bertha Palmer, whose husband owned the establishment, in 1893. There are also early references to a “brownie” in Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking-School Cook Book’s 1896 edition, a Sears Roebuck ad in 1897, and the Machias Cook Book in 1899.

Does this delicious dessert’s name offend the Girl Guides of Canada? Should we speak to the woke mob about changing it, too?

There’s also Canadian cartoonist/illustrator Palmer Cox’s famous creation, “The Brownies.” His little creatures that resembled fairies or goblins, and enjoyed making mischief and performing good deeds, made early appearances in magazines like Wide Awake in 1881. The first formal story, “The Brownies’ Ride,” appeared in the children’s periodical St. Nicholas Magazine in 1883. “The Brownies” became extremely popular, leading Cox to create a series of books based on their adventures between 1887-1918. Many of them are accessible online through Harvard University and Princeton University, including “The Brownies: Their Book” (1887) and “The Brownies Abroad” (1899).

Cox’s stories were based on the same Scottish and English folklore that Baden-Powell thought of when he suggested the name Brownies to the Girl Guides of Canada. Does that mean the beloved century-old comic strip should be cancelled, too?

Meanwhile, there’s a shoe company based in Jaipur, India, called Desimochi, or “Local Cobbler.” According to its website, it sells a high-end shoe product “known for its funky design” called, you guessed it, the Brownie. I can’t wait to see what the woke mob does with this first-hand knowledge!

When you put everything together, Brownies have nothing to do with race, religion, gender, or anything else the woke crowd has screeched about in a high-fevered pitch for years. Yet, the Girl Guides of Canada latched on to this wave of wokeness because of what likely amounted to a few hurt feelings and misunderstanding of what the branch name truly meant.

This isn’t a positive change for the organization and our society. Rather, it’s a complete acquiescence to an ignorant woke mob that wants to change society and history to fit within its narrow-minded vision and worldview.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Michael Taube


Michael Taube, a longtime newspaper columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

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