‘Political Gong Show’

“Sounds like a gong show where a bunch of people were all clamouring for the spotlight. Each trying to one-up each other on the victim scale.”
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“It’s only February, but for me, the most fascinating event at {Winnipeg} city hall in 2016 may have already happened — Mayor Brian Bowman’s messy, marathon news conference to announce his plan to combat racism. 

{It should be pointed out that ‘white’ (Caucasian) people are NEVER asked about their experiences on the receiving end of aboriginal racism, and they constituted 67.5% of Winnipeg’s population in 2011, compared to aboriginals’ 11.1% (Filipinos are at 8.6% and are not even mentioned in this story). So, the (Metis) mayor seems to have a very limited vision where ‘racism’ is concerned…} 

“It’s been nearly two weeks since hundreds joined the mayor in city hall’s atrium for what turned out to be nothing like the predictably stage-managed performances so common in politics. 

“Early on, a tearful Somali woman and her husband shanghaied the proceedings, claiming child welfare had wrongly seized their children.

“Then, a ‘First Nations’ chief had to be awkwardly squeezed onto the speaker’s list because he was initially overlooked. In the background, local ‘indigenous leaders’ staged a discreet protest walkout, even though other ‘First Nations’ people offered praise for the mayor and his initiatives. The police chief even had an unexpected but pivotal cameo.

“It was one of the most interesting shemozzles I’ve ever covered, made even more so by several conversations with ‘indigenous people’ in the days following. It revealed how easily good intentions can go wrong, how the same events can be taken many ways. It offered a glimpse into the minefield that awaits the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

“Pretty early on in the two-hour news conference, what was meant as a big step toward reconciliation went sideways. It took an uncharacteristically long time for anyone to acknowledge what’s become an opening mantra at most events — that we were on ‘Treaty One’ territory {which, of course, was land long ago surrendered to the ownership of Canada…}. For whatever reason, it took a little improvised interjection from author and broadcaster {aboriginal ‘race activist’ and NDP candidate} Wab Kinew to get Brokenhead Ojibway ‘Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 1,758 people} Chief Jim Bear a minute at the podium, a ‘protocol oversight’ {just because it’s become an “opening mantra” doesn’t mean it’s now “protocol”…} that rubbed several ‘First Nations’ leaders the wrong way.

“But it was the unexpected interruption by the Somali mother and father that seemed to define the event. They cannot be identified by law because their children are in care, but their case is well-known and a source of frustration among Somali Winnipeggers, many of whom have had their offers of help rebuffed by the couple. Anyone familiar with child welfare knows there is certainly another side to the couple’s story, one social workers can never tell. But in the moment, the crying mother’s tale of being barred from seeing her children for six years, her repeated pleas to be allowed to finish her story, paralyzed the room. It seemed no amount of gentle cajoling by city staff and elders, no amount of hugs and promises, would quiet the parents.

“Then, Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis waded into the fray. He used a one-armed bro-hug to firmly guide the father down the aisle and off to a nearby room. Few in the mostly-white crowd could have so deftly diffused the situation. For me, and I imagine for the poker-faced politicians arrayed around the podium, it was a welcome conclusion to an uncomfortable situation that seemed destined not to end.

“For several key ‘indigenous leaders’, however — including Northern Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson and University of Winnipeg instructor Leah Gazan {both of them prominent aboriginal ‘race activists’} — the moment was a bit of a deal-breaker. They found it ‘offensive’ the police chief would stifle criticism, especially criticism of a child-welfare system that’s done so much damage to ‘indigenous families’, and especially because of the deep mistrust many ‘indigenous people’ have for police. In my corner, it felt like Clunis saved the day. Folks in other corners had a far more complicated, visceral and ‘nuanced’ reaction that prompted them to stage a polite boycott.

“Others hung in there. Justice Murray Sinclair brought the event gently back on track, thanking the mayor for trying to tackle racism in the city. Many other Métis and ‘First Nations’ officials remained at the event until the end, and Kinew, now running for the NDP in Fort Rouge, gave the closing drum song and praised Bowman warmly. It was a reminder ‘indigenous people’ don’t have homogenous views on the right way forward {and only a racist would assume they did…}, and the best intentions of {so-called} ‘non-indigenous’ people can sometimes alienate more than aid {The same can be said about all groups of people, so why make that racial statement at all?}.

“The event was also a reminder of the limits of governments that are hampered by money and politics. Bowman offered small solutions — an aboriginal accord, some diversity training, some blue plastic bracelets. Big solutions, like a call for the immediate settlement of land claims or equal education funding on reserves, weren’t on the list.

{The only REAL solution — ENDing RACE BASED LAW — was never mentioned: http://endracebasedlaw.net/petition/ }

“But, as muddled as it was, the mayor’s news conference was also a courageous step forward. It’s hard to imagine other politicians risking the kind of event that could polarize ‘indigenous leaders’ as much, that could spark such a debate about ‘the right and respectful way forward’, that could be as complex and unpredictable as the issue itself.

“Good intentions aren’t enough, but they’re a good start.”

{“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, and when ‘fighting racism’ becomes ‘fighting one race’, that is surely the road to hell…}

–‘Courage to pick at the open sore of racism’,
Mary Agnes Welch, Winnipeg Free Press, 02/3/2016 
maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca
Twitter: @mawwelch 

IMAGE: Mayor Bowman, Jan., 2016 (Photograph by Sam Karney – Macleans)

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/courage-to-pick-at–the-open-sore-of-racism-367473921.html 
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COMMENT: “Everyone at the podium, the local ‘indigenous’ leaders who staged a discreet protest walkout, and the author of this story — ALL have their own agendas which revolve around themselves.

“Period.

“I will give the author credit for pointing out the following fact: “It offered a glimpse into the minefield that awaits the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.”

“In other words, NOTHING tangible will result from it, other than people like those noted above benefiting from the process.”
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“Sounds like a gong show where a bunch of people were all clamouring for the spotlight. Each trying to one-up each other on the victim scale.”
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“I’m curious. What was the desired outcome? You put a bunch of white people (the ones I’d be willing to bet, who earn incomes based on racial divisions) in the same room as a bunch of non-white people who’ve been born and raised to be victims. Was this going to somehow “cure” racism? How? Seems like it was a photo-op gone horribly wrong.

“The race industry in Manitoba is doing very well, they’re making tonnes of money and the market’s going nowhere. It’s kinda amusing that we have a deputy Premier who has made blatantly racist statements, yet nobody in the race-industry has called for him to apologize, or resign.

“Justice Murray Sinclair’s own wife is being accused of systematically abusing native women, but you won’t hear a peep about it from those who claim to be concerned about “racism”.”
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“Until politicians stand up and truly speak their mind on these issue, the problems will only get worse. On the other side of the coin, ‘FN’ leaders can say whatever they like with absolute impunity from the media and other politicians, as there is no “opposition” in ‘FN’ politics.”
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“Mary Agnes has has hit upon the biggest impediment to improving relations with indigenous people – too many Chiefs. There is no one group or “government” to negotiate with. Indigenous bands have been fighting each other since they first crossed the Bering land bridge and they still are today.”
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“A picked sore never heals!”
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“Say it in plain English — the racism industry must be kept alive and kicking for the money to keep flowing.

“Time is taking care of racism. You just have to note what races were not mentioned to understand that 90% of the prejudices that existed at the turn of the 20th century are now gone in the 21st. Racism only seems to exist where it is entrenched in laws like the Indian Act…

“Looking out the window, we can see that all the old European hatreds are gone from Canada less than 100 years after they settled in Canada.

“Whenever racism is mentioned in Canada we don’t talk about Ukrainians and Polacks, or the French and Germans, nor the English and the French. We have no Irish, English, Scottish ancient hatreds going on over here….

“No, all the Racism in Canada centers around the Indian Act. It’s kinda noticeable, too.”
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“While I don’t agree with some of her analysis, Miss Welch certainly captures the surrealism of the whole spectacle…”
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“Other than one story about a native leader who commented about “feel good white folks”, please find an example of a story in the WFP about racism that is about non-white people being racist.”
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“Not to mention, the event was about racism in general rather than one Somali couple’s struggle with the system. Whatever the reason is for taking their children, the fact that they are black would have nothing to do with it.

“Somalian cultural practices would likely be at the root of why their children were taken. How do you figure Somalians would discipline their children? That would provide a clue as to why the kids were taken.”
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“As an aside, I have to say that the decision to move Ms. Welch’s work out of the ‘News’ section of the print edition and into the ‘Opinions’ section was a good one. I recognize that it may cause a problem in the long run since so much of the WFP’s content is commentary instead of news, but it helps the reader put a piece into context.”  Maclean'sCover-WinnipegRacismJust over one year ago, Maclean’s did a hatchet job on the ‘non-aboriginal’ people of Winnipeg — and ALL of Canada — with this story and the ridiculously-inaccurate and insulting cover statement “Canada Has A Bigger Race Problem Than America”:

‘Maclean’s Substitutes Aboriginal Political Correctness For Journalism’ {January 23, 2015}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/589384771163760/?type=3

In this audio interview with the young woman who wrote the Maclean’s piece, a Winnipeg radio host demonstrates to her how she presented material in a misleading fashion:

https://soundcloud.com/dave-wheeler/macleans-writer-nancy-macdonald-interview

http://www.92citifm.ca/2015/01/25/wheeler-vs-macleans-magazine/
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