Saturday April 19, 2014



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Racism: A problem of perception

As I See It
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I find the more I venture into the depths of social media, I feel less and less like being social.

It happens all the time, but with the recent Idle No More protests it seems like every racist and bigot is popping out of the woodwork, hate speech blaring, with an “opinion” on First Nations people in this country.

I know opinions are like… well, you know… and everyone has one, but where does having a right to express an opinion cross the line? Oh right, when it’s expressing hatred towards a specific race of people.

Section 2 of the of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants to everyone, among other things, freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. However, Section 1 restricts the granted freedoms by making them subject "only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

Which means, yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but you’re not allowed to promote hatred of a specific group.

Ever start a sentence with “I’m not a racist, but….” And then says something that is utterly and completely racist?

You know that means you’re a racist, right? Prefacing a comment with “I’m not a [blank], but…” usually means the exact opposite. Like when you say “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” usually means you’re about to say something very rude to somebody.

...As if that puts a band-aid on the mean/hateful thing you’re about to say.

There’s so many reason to hate people – they’re jerks, they’re mean to puppies, they wear perfume that triggers allergic reactions, they’re rude, they’re two-faced and so on. But these reasons can apply to anyone, regardless of the colour of their skin.

So why focus on skin colour?

Racism isn’t something you’re born with; it’s something you’re taught. It’s an incredibly vicious cycle. Parents spread it to children, who then grow up and spread it to their children, and on and on it goes.

The only thing a small child hates is naptime and maybe broccoli. I’m pretty sure that’s it. They don’t learn to hate specific groups until they witness Mommy or Daddy doing it. Monkey see, monkey do, after all.

There’s an account on Twitter run by one Logan Smith of South Carolina called @YesYoureRacist that seeks out tweets that start with the very precursor sentence I mentioned above and then proceeds to say something disgustingly racist. I applaud this guy for having the stomach to venture into such hateful territory, because I don’t know that I would be able to on a daily basis.

The fact that many of these tweeters are teenagers that are beaking off with this nonsense is yet another thing on the incredibly long list of things that make me shake my head and wish I could walk around with a poster of the “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore” meme that I could just hold up whenever some said or did something stupid.

What’s astounding is that people really are actively expressing this hate on a public forum. Even more astounding is the backpedaling that happens when they’re called out on their racist comment. If you make a racist comment, at least have the stones to stand by it. You’re still a racist, but at least you’re a racist with integrity – that’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one.

At any rate, it’s an incredibly volatile world out there right now. Tempers are flaring over a number of issues and Bill C-45 is just one of them. If I may make a suggestion?

Before you start spewing out rhetoric about how this group is just looking for a handout and blah blah blah, read up on both sides of the story so your opinion can be based on facts and not just other people’s opinions.

If love is blind, common sense should at least be colour-blind.


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