Over this past weekend I had the pleasure of interacting with someone that was thoroughly racist (in a fb convo). I have to admit I have never met someone that was actually an open racist – and this convo on fb was a complete eye-opener. Top that off with a person in my province that is also running for a Federal seat in Parliament that is also openly racist/ignorant – it made this topic come alive.
I don’t think very many people are actually racist – I think most of us are just ignorant and can be educated on various cultural issues. I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt on this issue because I seen many decent people get labelled something they definitely are not. I do know that there is a lot of ignorance across cultural lines regarding histories and cultural nuances – which we don’t get because we just may not be familiar with their perspectives…but we can be open enough to learn.
I am starting to realize some people don’t care and no amount of reason can change their opinions of certain races. The reason being, they don’t think they are wrong – even if statistics, logic, and history destroy any and all claims they are making. This is when I have to think someone is actually a bigot – when presented with the best reasons available to explain the problems within a society and they resist them to maintain a certain group is to blame.
In this case, my group was to blame (First Nations people). According to this person he had never met nor had any good experiences with First Nations people; they were all troublemakers his hard earned tax dollars was helping to keep living for ‘free’ off the land. His family was obviously saints who came over as settlers and although this man was admittedly uneducated, he didn’t like the fact he worked hard so others could live off his dime…problem is…that kind of logic is actually ‘retarded’ (and I mean that in the actual sense this word is defined as – ‘Occurring or developing later than desired or expected; delayed’).
The problem with his argument is it’s not based on a single fact whatsoever. Here are the facts:
(a) First Nations people make up 15% of the province I live in – they are actually not a huge cultural group – 85% of this province is non First Nations
(b) His family of settlers were allowed to thrive off the land based on a long standing contract called a Treaty – in this case Treaty 4 (1874) – signed with the best intentions by leaders of Canada and First Nations leaders from across the spectrum of this province. In that treaty is details the partition of the land….this resulted in reserves but also land for this man’s family to ‘farm’. No one is actually living off the land ‘for free’…there is a contractual agreement in place in case anyone cares to check.
(c) First Nations people are such a minority (15%) that it is hard to justify how anyone’s tax dollars are being eaten up by this contingent of people. Tax dollars are used for such things as roads (infrastructure), police, schools, and health – is there any argument these are bad things? Likely not…however those probably eat the majority of tax dollars and help us maintain a quite good living standard. Next time this racist wants health care I’ll make sure to guard the door…don’t want him eating up my tax dollars either.
(d) The policies of the Indian Act (Federal legislation) have not allowed for many things within Aboriginal communities until about the mid-50’s and 60’s…including voting (1961), attending a Post Secondary institution, economic gain from their own lands (permit system), the right to leave that land without a pass (pass system), control of education or even the reserve lands they were partitioned. It was actions like these that held a whole nations of people out of the ‘free market’ for 80+ years as settlers around them developed as they wanted. For someone to complain about the First Nations involvement – it’s only truly been about 49 years of real access…compare that to 80+ and we may have a case for serious inequalities.
(e) In this province there is a unemployment rate that is 14% – it occurs among young people aged 15-24. That group is unemployed because in all reality not everyone has access to jobs (just a simple fact)…sometimes the work is just not there. Some of our tax dollars go towards Social Services to help fund those people until they can find a job. I don’t see a problem with helping people in a society that does not have full 100% employment…we gonna let those people starve and die? Likely not, the system is built to protect those who have been dealt a hand they have no control over. The fact is, this racists’ tax dollars and mine are going to help 14% of people in that age group that do not have a job…and I really don’t see the problem with that.
Even after being presented with facts like this – this person decided to remain ‘ignorant’…meaning he is choosing to be a racist. And I have decided I have no room nor patience for such wilfull idiocy. I will debate them down wherever and whenever they show their faces.