Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Yes, I'm being lazy again and rationalizing it as efficiency.

Before I get into just copy-and-pasting what I wrote somewhere else, a quick plug: my friend Homeschooler just updated her blog for the first time in too long for my liking, with a thorough post on educational philosophy. I'll admit that I haven't fully digested everything she wrote just yet, but my first-pass reading makes me think that it's excellent. Oddly enough, I think I agree with everything she wrote (I said "Amen!" aloud a few times while reading), which may well be a sign of the Apocalypse. More discussion of her post another time, perhaps - and probably in her comments section, then re-posted here.

I recently commented on a post over at The Screaming Pages, one of my fellow New Brunswick Blogroll members.

The original post was about media coverage of, shall we say, poorly considered statements to or about Aboriginal Canadians by Canadian public officials. Some examples were discussed. One of them was an MP's assistant, Darlene Lannigan, reminding an aboriginal protester that if he would like to speak to the minister, he should try showing up sober.

Another was a former MP, Ricardo Lopez, stating that all of Canada's Aboriginal peoples should be relocated to Labrador, where they couldn't bother anybody.

The third was more interesting to me. Referring to the 1990 Oka situation, Simon Bedard said, "Everyone was scandalized because I said: ‘Send in the Army and let’s clean this up once and for all!’ But maybe we should have done that because 17 years later, it’s still the same thing. If anything, it’s worse."

What he actually said back in 1990 was, "You go in there with the army, then you clean up all that. Fifty dead, 100 dead, 125 dead, that would put it out. We bury it and life goes on."

These are, of course, generally considered to be racist statements. However, here's what I wrote in the comments thread (with one typo fixed. Scavenger Hunt for Valuable Bonus Points - find the typo in the original post!):

I don’t see where Mr. Bedard’s comments were racist. He didn’t advocate slaughtering aboriginal peoples; he advocated use of military / police force against terrorists. He correctly noted that doing so may have prevented more terrorist activity years later in the same place for the same reason. The behaviour of the terrorists, not their skin colour of ethnicity, was the issue.

The colour / ethnicity of the criminals in question here is only an issue for those who choose to see such matters as more important than a person’s behaviour. In other word, for racists.

Full disclosure: I’m a WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant). I can’t claim any minority status that’s recognized as such by most people. I can guarantee you that if I got a few of my similarly-genetically-endowed friends together and we all put on masks, carried prohibited-class firearms around, blocked public roads, made threats of violence, and threw rocks at police officers, tanks would be rolled over us or snipers would take their shots in short order. And rightly so.

I don’t care what a terrorist’s ethnicity is. I care that they’re a terrorist (and the behaviours I described qualify by any reasonable definition). For law enforcement officials to treat some offenders differently than others due to ethnicity is far more racist and far more offensive than Mr. Bedard’s statement.

That said, if there’s a way to resolve a situation without killing people, then by all means it should be pursued. I’m glad no slaughter was necessary. However, I would be perfectly happy to have seen those 50, 100 or 125 people arrested, tried, and convicted and still sitting harmlessly in prison cells if guilty.

No way would I try to defend Mr. Lopez, though. Dumb, bad, morally offensive thing to say. Or even think.

As for Ms. Lannigan - also a dumb thing to say, but I don’t know that it’s worth as much fuss as has been made over it.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of my sister-in-law's dog coming in to browse the Psychology section of our bookselves.

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