Monday, September 24, 2007

Dying (Campaign) Race

“We can’t be a dying race,” the premier says. There follows an awkward pause. He said the “R” word! The reaction is mixed but swift. Bondpapers wrote about it, so did WebTalk and others including Randy Simms. The standard reaction was a shoulder shrug, next topic please. Others are not as dismissive. Race, did he say race? Shocking!

The new website for Simon Lono running for the Liberals in St. John’s North calls for the premier to apologize for the Race comment:

“To casually talk about a provincial ‘race’ at the same time government is establishing an immigration program and trying to attract foreign doctors and international students sends the worst message to the world. Many of these people come here to escape the empty concept of ‘race’ and other destructive words”.

"The key to our future is a free and democratic society that embraces the contribution of all people. To suggest that there is a “race” in Newfoundland and Labrador that needs protection by government policies raises the idea that there are people - some already living here - who are not part of that race and who do not belong here. That is fundamentally wrong.”

Not surprisingly I disagree with Mr. Lono. The people of Marystown and the handful of politicians who have supported them continue to fight for the rights of a family living in their church. The family by the definition of the people of Marystown including the mayor - are Newfoundland and Labradorians. The government of Canada says they are not. Therein lies the rub. It is not up to Newfoundlanders nor Labradorians who lives in this province. It is dictated to us federally. I can site many examples of our people supporting recent immigrants. I can not give an example of an implication that people who are here do not belong here.

Bondpapers goes further:

We all know – or we are reasonably comfortable in believing we all know - that Danny Williams was referring to the majority of people in the province. That is, he was referring to the white, English-speaking people of English, Irish and Scots ancestry. That is the race to which he most likely referred.

Yikes! How can such a harmless comment invoke such insinuation!

Danny can justify his own words. I can only say that the term Race in referring to Newfoundland and Labradorians is not new. NewfoundlandinCanada’s “ Canada ’s N Word” article suggested that there is a definite racism that exists in Canada towards Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. If you do not belief this is the case I suggest we have had fundamentally different experiences in growing up in this province. If you object to the specific term of Racism you are welcome to substitute “hate mongering”, “discrimination” or whatever you wish. I would suggest though that the majority of us living in Newfoundland and Labrador know from whence I speak.

NewfoundlandinCanada has also suggested that the term race is used in referring to a nation of people in using a definition from Can this blog then be criticisized for using the term? If Bondpapers marks Danny Williams as using the term Race to imply the white, English Irish and Scots then NewfoundlandinCanada can be faulted with the same criticism by Bond. What does NewfoundlandinCanada define as the Race of Newfoundland and Labrador? Who is a Newfoundlander or Labradorian? It is HERE for all to view.

"Race" does not necessarily imply some evil intent as some would have us believe. Odd how so many things meant to pull us together get twisted to pull us apart.


charles said...

My feelings about Williams' quote in which he mentioned the word "race", is similiar to your perception of it. Sure, he can be very deliberate in his choice of words and suggestions, but reading much more into it, like the exclusion of specific groups of Newfoundlanders & Labradorians, seems like a waste of energy. It wasn't necessary for him to use the word "race", and he could have qualified its meaning. But, yeah, upon hearing news of it, it merely registered as an "oops" moment at worst.
Good point about Marystown and the Portnoys being considered citizens of the province.

BNB said...

Thanks charles I appreciate the comment. I don't think it does well to imply our Premier is excluding the diverse and distinct groups that make up our people. It's a serious implication and unfounded.

The gent that likes to slam any opinion without evidence has thrown a pile of s^%t into the air himself with this one.