Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/9/2010 (3352 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Well, talk about an election issue — is Brandon a racist city?
The question's been burning around town ever since mayoral candidate Shari Decter Hirst alleged that "we live in a racist city" during a forum put on by an aboriginal employment mentorship group.
Later that same day, city council shot down recommendations that they try to hire more aboriginal workers.
So needless to say, race — and racism — has become an issue.
What do you think, is Brandon a racist city? You can even vote in our poll.
On the surface, it's a ludicrous question. There's no official policy favouring one race over another, so Brandon can't be a racist city. Cities, in point of fact, don't have their own motives or desires, so they can't really be racist.
But the people in them — or the people running them — well, they can certainly be racist, yes indeed.
Now, racism comes in many degrees. It may be unfortunate that the city workforce has an overabundance of white people from mainly European descent. And the statistics on over-representation of aboriginals in jail are well-known (and deplorable).
But I also don't see white-sheeted posses burning crosses in anyone's yards.
That said, it can be the subtler forms of discrimination that are hardest to exterminate (ask any feminist).
And the only way to truly exterminate that discrimination is to build bridges between the different groups. So rather than getting all fired up over how awful it is that Brandon's being painted as a racist city ... or rather than getting all defensive that you're not racist, you have a racial friend ... and rather than pointing out that affirmative action is reverse racism ... let's all just stand back for a second and realize that we don't live in a perfect world.
Discrimination of all kinds exists — including racism, and including in Brandon.
What a great opportunity to talk about it. And in the talking, perhaps to get over some of it.