Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Prison in the Minds of Manitobans and Kings Dream: 50 years on

Open Letter concerning the Minister Eric Robinson and Osborne House Case -Racism as published in the Winnipeg Free Press August 30, 2013.

It is ironic that all too often we are still at the same points we were 50 years ago. The movements of liberation that swept the world; challenging old world orders in Africa, Asia, South America, North America and even Manitoba have become unachieved dreams. We have come along way, but the case of Minister Robinson and Osborne House show us that too many still live in prisons of the mind and this is true of everyone. The 1963 march on Washington by the American Civil Rights movement and the address of Martin Luther King Jr to the 250 000 people amassed 50 years ago demonstrate we must still work for the human rights of every individual even today. The dream that King held that his four children “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” is true for every human being and for all citizens of Manitoba. Should Euro-Canadians or “white people” have a role to play in the terrible conditions that plague too many Aboriginal peoples; of course, for we live together and the issues that affect my neighbour affect me in some small way. We are all connected. The issues though affecting Aboriginal people must have strong leadership by the Aboriginal community, but if a need is not being met, someone must fill the void. The issues affecting Osborne House concern all citizens, because violence against women is an example of the breaking of the dream of King. We need more “do good white people” and we also need strong Ministers like Robinson. Debate is good and we need more of it in society. There are too many fundamental truths that we have not been addressing in Manitoba, preferring ignorance of current injustice. I too dream when my five young children will be able to travel across our city without fear of violence; I dream they will not live in a prison of the mind shacked to past oppression and injustice, but facing the future full of hope and confidence. I dream that in another fifty years we will fulfill King’s vision and proclaim that we are “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”


  1. I read this post and I can’t help but think of the old adage: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This ever present human trait of Xenophobia can be traced as far back as the Ancient Greeks. They were so bad that they hated and feared other Greeks that happen to live a few miles away.
    What I guess I’m trying to say is that this sort of thing may never change. I wish people could be more tolerant and accepting, but there will always be those, usually in places of power, afraid of what is ‘different’ because they see it as a threat, do not fully understand it (which makes it dangerous in their minds), or both.
    The best we can hope for is our generation breaking down these racial barriers and xenophobic notions, and wait for the previous generation to pass away. Working at a retirement residence I can honestly say that many of the residents I work with are some of the most racist people I have ever met. It isn’t their fault, they were brought up like that and therefore have it deeply ingrained in them because of the world they grew up in.
    Our world is changing, hopefully for the better. Our generation is a generation that has been given the freedom (or social acceptance, at least) to question our parents and teachers. In the education field, critical thinking is the current trend and greatest aspiration of any teacher to impart in their students. As such we have begun to question these accepted norms and many of us have been labeled as rebels because we fight for equality among all people.
    Therefore, I don’t see the world changing in the near future. Not until our generation have aged enough to be in the seats of power currently occupied by older people.
    This all sounds great, but it brings me back to my first point. There’s no guarantee that we will continue to think the way that we do. Look at the 1960’s. The ‘hippies’ were the dominant culture and they were all about free love and changing the world, and yet here we are, facing the same problems they attempted to eliminate. When I think of the cycles of prejudice our society undergoes every generation I feel that no matter how well-meaning the population is, things will still remain the same.

  2. Human rights are the rights that belong to each and every human, justifiably. So the question becomes why in the year 2013 is every human not receiving equal rights? I think this has a lot to do with our history. Canada’s history holds a predominate euro-centric view, as well as the favoring of British ancestry well into the 1900’s. I feel these ideals of what “Canadian” is are still very dominate in our senior society and unfortunately most likely not going to change. I also feel that some people may have a fear of people who have different life views and values then their own, simply put, “fear of the unknown”. Others may not fear, but perhaps simply do not understand why people with different ethnic or cultural backgrounds believe in the things they do. I feel the only way to bridge this gap is through education. I think it is extremely important that to become a teacher I am required to take an aboriginal education class, but what about other cultures? Canada is so diverse and mutli-cultural, with this comes many different views, religions and ways of life that I do not personally understand because I have not been educated on them. In order for equality to be met, I feel that we should value the education on all ethnic groups equally and be required to take training classes not just for our degree, but in the future when we are educators.
    I do feel that as a culture we are coming along way, and not just with cultural diversity but also sexual diversity such as gay and lesbian right. We live in a society where “different” is celebrated. Comparing the beliefs of those who grew up fifty years ago, I really do feel we are on a great path for equality. This is not to say that we are already there, but we are acknowledging mistakes made in the past and trying to work to better those affected by them. I feel the younger generation has a lot to do with these changes, as education is so different today than it was in the past. The importance of community and multi-cultural education is taught beginning in early years social studies as part of the new curriculum that better reflects Canadian society today.

  3. It was interesting to me that you made the point that as far as equality is concerned we really haven’t come as far as we would like to think that we have. The fact that Dr. King’s speech is still relevant and can still be used today is shocking to me. The idea that in this day and age of Human Rights that we would still need his words as inspiration is kind of sad. I guess that means that while things have vastly improved since Dr. King’s time that his dream has still not fully been reached. The fact remains that for all the progress we’ve made there is still progress to be made.
    It just goes to show you that the issues of Human Rights are ongoing issues and one that will be so long as there are different people of different nations living together on one earth. In essence the African Americans are no longer being oppressed however now there is another group that arguably is now being oppressed. The issue of the plight of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada is not all that dissimilar to those faced by the African American citizens of 50 years ago. While I would venture to argue that this is no longer an issue of race, the ideas of oppression and needing to rise up against the odds is still the same.
    The idea of having to rise up and take charge is something that has struck a chord with human beings for centuries. From the witch trials of the 1600s in Salem to the Holocaust of the1940s to Holdomor to the Slave trade to the Apartheid to Residential Schools and all that’s in between there is arguably no race of people who would not be able to take the “I Have a Dream” speech and apply it to their own situations in various times.
    Perhaps rather than being saddened by the relevance of the “I Have a Dream Speech”, we should see it as a battle cry. These words should echo through the ages as a source of inspiration for all until we no longer have inequality among different peoples.

  4. What’s that saying, can you talk the talk and walk the walk?...Obliviously that is not happening here. After reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights fully in class it really got me thinking how society believes so much in these rights, but doesn’t always follow them. I traveled to East Africa earlier in the spring and reading these rights and watching the video “The Story of Human Rights”, I was thinking, nope not happening is the Mara, nope not happening in the Mara. These humans right were almost invisible (I was volunteering with an organization trying to change this.. so there is hope) 13 000kms away from here, but know realizing that they are not even being meant down the streets the street from, in a well developed country is even more devastating and change has to be taken into action.
    As I am unfamiliar with the Osborne House, I decided to do a search. I came to find a more recent article on the situation and the aftermath of the insincere apology. Apparently CEO Barbard Judt of the Osborne House has gone on medical leave and a new administer has been appointed. Marlene Bertrand says , “the point is now that we are moving forward (from the incident)…and continue to provide a good service (for women in need).” And I agree with her, she doesn’t duel on the past, she thinks positively about the future. Hopefully Bertrand will create greater change for the shelter and help protect the individuals that use this service, because they deserve proper, respectful care.
    On a side note, I am currently planning a unit in Social Studies and found a wonderful book to teach child about Human Rights. For Every Child was published by the organization Uncief, and I would recommend it for the Early Years age group.

    Vanderhart, T., & Pursaga, J. (2013, October 04). Province appoints new administrator for osborne house. Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved from

  5. This post is a difficult one for me to understand due to the contradictory nature of the ideas. This post makes a reference to King’s dream that his children will “not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This is not only a beautiful statement, but one that had profound effect on many audience members of the speech and still effects people hearing the speech for the first time today. It is regularly taught in classrooms across Canada to demonstrate what ordinary humans without any special power or privilege can do to influence change. What King called for is still being worked with today:
    According to Gloria Ramon, race is a social construct: “Race, in the common understanding, draws upon differences not only of skin color and physical attributes but also of language, nationality, and religion.” (Ramon, 2000) Tony Fitzpatrick of Washington University reinforces this idea when questioning Dr. Alan R. Templeton who says,”There are not enough genetic differences between groups of people to say that there are sub-lineages (races) of humans. (Fitzpatrick, 2003) As a science student, this is a form of thought and study that makes sense to me when I think about my fellow Manitoban, Canadian and world citizens.
    In an earlier post you mention that it is an Indigenous point of view to see the fight for rights as a fight of all peoples, not strictly Aboriginals. I agree with this idea. Why then do you use “white people” as an acceptable synonym for Euro-Canadians? And what about the rest of the Manitobans? What about the citizens of Asian-decent or Australian decent? It is overwhelmingly obvious to me that all Manitobans, white, brown, black, red, yellow, olive and all the other colours of Manitobans need to fight for the improvement of the province and this city. The thing bringing us together is our citizenship of this country and being of the human race.
    If change is going to happen we need to look past things like whether someone is white or aboriginal, what their religion is or what language they speak and consider each other as people, as humans, as equals. Then and only then will people be able to work together and understand that we’re not fighting for one person or another, but for all disadvantaged people. These disadvantaged people come from all “races.” When we have torn down barricades to success for all people, that is when we will have succeeded as a country, not just one group of people.

    Fitzpatrick, T. (2003, May 20). Newsroom. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from Washington University in St. Louis:
    Ramon, G. (2000). Race: Social Concept, Biological Idea. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from Biology 103:

  6. After reading this article I am reminded of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration outlines 30 rights that are, universal, indivisible, interconnected and interrelated. Unfortunately, not all of these rights are respected and upheld from human to human on a daily basis. This has always been the case since the inception of these rights and at the heart of this injustice lies the ongoing issue of racism.
    Canada is a cultural melting pot where immigrants are encouraged to stay true to their roots while becoming part of Canadian culture. Manitoba, in particular has an abundance of different cultures with aboriginals having a big portion of the population. Such a wide range of races and cultures can create issues of racism and a lack of respect due to improper understanding and negative stereotypes associated with a particular race or culture. The media and more specifically T.V. directed at adolescents can be extremely misleading and negative towards other ethnic groups. For example, T.V. shows such as South Park constantly perpetuate negative stereotypes of both the Aboriginal and Chinese races respectively. I believe this problem needs to be addressed through proper education at an early age about the variety of cultures that are living amongst us in Manitoba today. Knowledge must be gained about what is wrong versus rite and what is considered offense and what is not. Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone is entitled to the same human rights without discrimination of any kind.” Racist actions and comments created by misinterpretations and understanding will continue to violate this right that every human being is entitled to. Throughout history there have been liberating movements such as the 1963 American Civil Rights March, in an attempt to try and combat this violation of rights. The article explains that these movement have only lead us to unachieved dreams today and that Dr. Kings dream remains in part unfilled in Manitoba today. I agree, but I do not believe that having marches or movements is the answer. As I said before education at an early age is the key to breaking down barriers.
    Knowledge is power and gaining a proper of understanding of the different races and cultures that exist in Manitoba can help to bridge the gap and hopefully create a mutual respect between two separate sides. This respect can then lead to honoring each other’s rights and help to produce a better and healthier Manitoba in the future.

  7. I do not think that these dreams of liberation that swept the nation are “unachieved”. They definitely do not have the same momentum that they once had when the movement’s leaders were pushing for change. Many of these movements have been buried and almost forgotten about by most, but I think that all that is needed is another fiery leader to rekindle another movement of liberation. I believe that there is still a general movement towards equality and peace, but it is not a nationwide phenomenon. One example of a modern day movement is the fight against slavery. It is amazing to think that years after Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech fighting for freedom that we are still on this journey to free slaves. One organization fighting for these rights is the Freedom Project. This projects mission statement is to “end human trafficking and slavery” (“The Freedom Project”, 2013). The fight against slavery continues today because, incredibly, the problem still persists. Many of the movements and dreams that have been started may be unachieved but I choose to believe that they will not remain this way. We are still on the journey that these movements started so many years ago, but it is not a journey that has ended. In Manitoba there is an ever increasing call for equality for the Aboriginal population. We have come a long way from where we used to be but there is still ground to be covered. I do think that more leaders need to rise up and meet and fight the challenges that are currently occurring in Manitoba. There is a need for change, and while the general undercurrents are there, is this enough? Perhaps it is time for another all consuming, nationwide movement towards liberation for all that will leave our world forever changed.

  8. I agree that we have come a long way, but the language used to fight for Aboriginal rights sometimes seems to infringe on the rights of other people. We speak of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, but the fact is that Canadians come from all over the world. Each of us has a unique background, a culture, a history, a language that we would like to see preserved also. Maybe it wasn’t this way when Europeans first began to settle the West, but it certainly is diverse now. I understand that there is one large difference: the Aboriginal people were here first. In my opinion, this does not mean that everyone should be lumped together as “non-Aboriginal”. If Aboriginal people are fighting to have control over the education of their children, then so should people from every other culture that feel the needs of their children are not being met in the so-called “Euro-centric school model”. If Canada truly wished to represent a “cultural mosaic” rather than a “melting pot” as the United States, we would have pockets of cultural centers and schools and churches and houses in every city for every culture represented in Canada. BUT.... IMAGINE the political nightmare this would create?!?!? Is it better for us all to stick to our own little bubble? I don’t think so. We must strive to maintain our own identity in our background, culture, language, etc. while working together and being educated together, or else this country would fall apart. I guess my main point is that these are not just Aboriginal issues that we speak of. Rather, they are issues of people coming from many different world views that are required to work together. I agree that we are all connected and each of our actions affects those around us... so look around and care about those around you. We are a diverse people, and though we don’t want to melt into one big uniform group, even the tiny and numerous pieces of a mosaic come together to form a bigger, unified picture. THAT is the dream.

  9. The third Monday in January is celebrated in the United States in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. and recently Nelson Mandela, another man who fought for human rights passed away. Canadians quote these men and pay tribute to their struggles yet seem to be unaware of the struggles happening here in Canada. As Robert Ouellette said in his blog post “there are too many fundamental truths that we have not been addressing in Manitoba, preferring ignorance of current injustice” (2013) and the ignorance is one of the biggest problems. As educators we need to think not only of resolving the debate about aboriginal education but what we can do to educate students about what is happening so that in the future they can move forward.

    Change is slow and there are no easy answers about what Manitoba is going to have to do regarding Aboriginal Education. In order for us to move forward like King pushed for fifty years ago we need to educate ourselves, especially our youth. Canada’s Human Rights Act states in its purpose that “that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated” (Canadian Human Rights Act R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6). We have the opportunity now to listen to men like King and Mandela and start to move forward here in Canada. The fact is there are serious problems that need to be addressed; the Idle No More campaign is a start in raising awareness but like Ouellette said a strong leader is lacking. Hopefully someday we can change.

    I believe that we need to eliminate negative language when referring to each other and realize that both sides believe in what they know and deserve to be listened to. To move forward we need to be willing to talk to each other, understand each other, and respect each other. The seven sacred teachings is a great place to start and by included these in schools hopefully the problems of today can be solved by our youth for tomorrow.

    Canadian Human Rights Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6). (n.d.). Legislative Services Branch. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from

  10. I agree that there are problems with Osborne House and that it is unfortunate that it took so many incidents in order to bring the government in to help solve this, but I am not convinced from what I have read that this necessarily needs to be a race issue. I understand that a burlesque show was probably not the most appropriate fundraiser, but what I don’t understand is why this is such a big concern. In a Winnipeg Free Press article from September 24, 2013 the discussion over Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson’s comment on “do-good white people” in regards to the fundraiser continues. It is explained that although Robinson initially refused to apologize for his comment he later issued an apology which the CEO of Osborne House, Barbara Judt, refused to acknowledge.

    When an organization is failing to meet the needs of its service users, shouldn’t that be the main concern of the government, media and other citizens? Why is it that in each article I read about the issues this shelter is facing, do I see small blurbs about how the shelter security is questionable or the counsellors seem to be letting child abuse claims slip under the rug, while the tense battle between Robinson and Judt makes up a large section of the article? If our focus is on attacks of racism are the real problems really being solved? In a Metro News article two sentences are dedicated to the issues facing the shelter, while there are numerous political statistics and about 1/3rd of the article discusses the Robinson-Judt debate. This isn’t the news that is needed to make change, this is the kind of news that will perpetuate both racial differences without actually solving the problems at hand. In order to inform people to make change we need to focus on the root of the problem, not the politics surrounding it. I would like more information about how the problems Osborne House faces are being solved and whether or not Robinson and other political leaders are doing something to help rather than criticizing the failures of an organization in dire need of help.

    Winnipeg Free Press Article:
Metro News Article:

  11. An undertone of racism has remained inherent in our society well after so many human rights movements have been made, official agreements signed and unofficial rallies held. For everybody to have truly equal rights requires for everyone to appreciate every other culture and race as much as they do their own. Unfortunately there are two things stopping that. The first is ignorance. Very few people take the time to really get to know other cultures and their traditions enough to truly appreciate them. Therefore they do not respect the customs that come from those cultures and it creates a tension resulting in an undertone of racism. The second is socio-economic status. For centuries society has lived with a social hierarchy related to birthrights and wealth. This continues today. It is the Aboriginal population that lives in poverty more so than any other group of people. Whether intentional or not, this puts ideas into others’ minds that the Aboriginal population is lesser than other populations. This leads back into ignorance again. So often I hear people speak of the lazy, drunken Aboriginals who should just get off their butt and get a job. People who speak like this do not understand the situation that the Aboriginal population is in, that despite some great efforts which have been made others remain being prejudiced against them. Additionally people who speak this way are ignoring the fact that there are many lazy, drunken people from many other cultures who need to get off their butts and get jobs as well. The stereotype is appalling.
    This leads me to believe that the number one solution, if we are to have any hope of truly equal rights, lies in education. If the cycle of ignorance can be ended then we can break the cycle of dependence and unequal socio-economic status and therefore be finally rid of the racism in our society. I think education in Manitoba is making great strides in this effort. Classrooms today often feature Aboriginal art and many more stories from Aboriginal culture or featuring Aboriginal characters. If education continues in this direction I believe the dream will come true.

  12. It is sad that racism is at the forefront of an issue based on a story about any group working towards the necessary support system which Osborne House attempts to offer. It does, however, point to the direct conflict and racial barriers which stand between people who are working towards the same good and noble goals. It is a shame that racism has to be a part of this conversation at all. As someone who could certainly be categorized as a “do good white person” it is difficult to think that this is how anyone could view attempts to work towards mutual respect and understanding. It is unfortunate to know that this issue could be viewed on racial terms, unfortunately, I understand the passion Robinson clearly had in his remarks within his email. In fact, I’m glad Robinson feels so strongly about this issue. It is necessary to have this sort of passion moving forward to work towards change. What this does show me is that there is a necessity for clearer communication between all levels, races, cultures, religions etc. who want to work together for the greater good. All groups need to come together and work collectively and to recognize that their goals are similar if not the same. If we learn anything from this incident it should be this: transparency and communication are essential moving forward.

  13. I chose to write about this blog post because I was intrigued after your presentation and discussion in class on the topic of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created after the Second World War in order to “guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere.” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – History). I know that although our society has come a long way from the way it used to be in terms of racism, it still exists today. It is hard to believe that still in this day and age there are people who judge other people based on their culture and the colour of their skin. People need to realize that we are all essentially equal, no matter the colour of our skin or the cultures and traditions that we follow. I know that Canada, in particular Manitoba, is considered to be a cultural melting pot where immigrants are encouraged to become part of Canadian culture while maintaining their own cultural attributes. I believe this to be true in Canada, but because there are so many different cultures and races in this country, there still remain people who are racist towards others. I believe that negative stereotypes are the root cause for conflict between races. These negative stereotypes come from a variety of sources, such as media, television, movies and music. For example, although I admit that I do find the television show Family Guy to be quite humorous, there is an abundance of negative cultural stereotypes that are portrayed in this show. This television show is not focused on one particular race; rather it involves many different races and cultures. There are many other sources of negative stereotypes in social media today that only seem to increase conflict and adds to racism in our country.
    I feel that we need to be educating children at a very young age about the diverse cultures that inhabit our world today. Therefore, educators play a crucial role in reducing the negative stereotypes that cause racism around the world. I understand that educating children about the diversity of the world will not eliminate all the prejudices we face today, but I believe that it will be greatly minimized.


    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  14. One of the reasons I think in Canada we all too often are still at the same points we were 50 years ago is that many of the issues faced then are still relevant of even magnified today. It is as if we jump over one human rights hurdle just to realize there is another hurdle right in front of us and more beyond that as far as the eye can see.
    It was asked recently if Winnipeg is an example of a city for human rights. Sadly, I believe Winnipeg has failed in so many respects I would hesitate to say the city is even getting there. In Manitoba 62% of Aboriginal Children live in poverty (, June 19, 2013). Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” By that one aspect alone a large part of Winnipeg already has their human rights violated. There are well-meaning do-gooder white and non-white people attempting to mediate the abject poverty faced by many Aboriginal people in Winnipeg, but in my observations there are many more with racist sentiments who feel “they get what they deserve”. To these people belonging to the First Nation culture is enough of a reason that they should not enjoy the same basic rights as humans that other Winnipeggers do. This is a direct violation of Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides rights to all humans REGARDLESS of race.
    Opening a new multi-million dollar Human Rights Museum is not going to make us a shining example of human rights. On the contrary, we should be wary of the fine-toothed comb to come and expose all our dirty little secrets.
    I would like to take the time to mention one critic I have. In Canada human rights issues do not solely affect Aboriginal peoples, nor is it an issue solely between Euro-Canadians and Aboriginals. Human rights are the rights of everyone. Human rights are also the responsibility of everyone. Human rights affects people of all races, cultures and countries.

  15. After discussing the Human Rights in class this past week, I thought it would be fitting to direct my attention to an issue regarding the matter. I was particularly interested in the Osborne House, as I recall the fundraising event and the controversy they raised. It is obvious the “burlesque-show” fundraiser did not shine a positive light on the organization. This is not, however, the true issue at hand when speaking of the Osborne House. A subsequent article in the Winnipeg Free Press describes a report on the Osborne House mentioning “38 per cent of staff reported clients were not being serviced properly because of the hostile working environment.” I find this completely unacceptable and a direct example of a violation of the Human Rights. Article 25 mentions “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…” It is unfortunate that the communications between the government and shelter (as portrayed by the media) have been focused on racism instead of working together to provide the necessary resources for the people they support.

    In fact, 68% of individuals living in Lord Selkirk Park in Winnipeg, are living below the poverty line. Two-thirds of the residents are Aboriginal. Now some may argue that this is an Aboriginal problem. I find it ironic that we as a society believe so strongly in the concept of the “Human Rights” yet fail to keep in mind that human rights do not just happen, they are a responsibility of everyone. As educators, we will soon have the responsibility of teaching our students about the effects negative stereotypes can have. Racism is not going to disappear over night, but education and raising awareness is one step in the right direction.

    Organizer of Osborne House fundraiser breaks silence. Retrieved February 14,
    2014 from
    Osborne House gets bad reviews. Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from
    Poverty by Area. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from
    Robinson's apology 'insincere'. Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved February 14,2014 from
    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations. Retrieved February 14,
    2014, from

  16. The Prison in the Minds of Manitobans and Kings Dream: 50 years on

    When reading about the recent debacle that occurred over the fundraiser run by the Foxxe Shoppe for Osbourne House, I felt that there was very little reason for this event to even occur in our modern and supposedly ‘just’ society. The event began with a complaint from Nahanni Fontaine, special advisor to the NDP government on women’s issues, to MLA, Eric Robinson, as she took issue with a fundraiser for the women’s rescue centre featuring a burlesque dancer. From here conservative viewpoint it seemed inappropriate for a women’s centre to be supported by an activity that is often viewed as exploitive. Certainly this is a valid point that the advisor is making, this is an abused women's shelter and as such should respect that these women already feel exploited. By the same token, the funds raised by this show were meant with the best intentions for the under-funded shelter and perhaps the advisor should have recognized this in her assessment of the situation.

    Regardless of Fontaine’s intolerance for the burlesque show, it is Robinson’s response that is much more damaging. His dismissal of the efforts of the Foxxe Shoppe as the “blatantly stupid” and their actions “demonstrates the ignorance of do-good white people” shows not only a complete disregard of the good the fundraiser is providing but also a narrow and frankly racist opinion of the work done by the individuals involved. In order for us as Canadians to move forward and become a stronger people we need to abolish this type of narrow viewpoint and focus on the good that all peoples can provide. In this example there have been too many criticisms and not enough applauding of the efforts that were made to improve the situation for this shelter. It does not help the women who need this shelter for those in charge to squabble over the origins of the funds, nor does it encourage further funding efforts when politicians dismiss their efforts as idiotic. As Robert states above “we need more ‘do good white people’”, the government should never dismiss the efforts of motivated individuals to improve our society.


  17. The term “prison of the mind” is something that really caught my attention. It is human nature to resist change, but this term reflects the negative connotations that come along with this resistance. I see people who are in a “prison of mind” as being caught in the past, and unwilling to change their thinking. Although society as a whole has become much more open than in the past, there are still people who aren’t able to change their thinking. It seems that the safety and comfort of the past is easier than opening up your mind to change. An example of this is Martin Luther King’s speech, which unfortunately still applies today. It is pretty shocking that we haven’t actually reached his dream quite yet. Although there have been improvements, being caught in the past is a serious issue when society as a whole needs to continue moving forward.

    In the case of Osborne House, the “racist agenda” seems unreal. On the outside it seems that society has gotten over issues such as racism, but if you look more closely it is still a prevalent issue that many people face today. In the last fifty years there have been vast and rapid changes in the way we live, but the changes in human rights are moving much slower. It is a process to move to equality, with it taking years to actually see changes, but the question then becomes is that fast enough. If changes to human rights move at such a slow pace, it prolongs the effects, leaving generations of people to deal with these issues. One generation of racist issues is enough, there is no need to have our children deal with the same thing.

  18. Bre Bonan – Blog #7
    What caught my attention from this blog post is that fact that Martin Luther King Jr. is being quoted. This is a quote that has inspired me throughout my education career, as most days are harder than normal days. It is something that I have saved on my phone in case I ever need something inspiring to look at. Because I know of the history of this person, I can look at this picture of him and a few words, and feel like there is hope for this world.
    This is important to me because I want my students to feel the same way in my classroom. I know, and they know, that not everyone will be good at every subject, or ace every test, but that does not mean they should stop trying. No matter what it takes to achieve their goals, no matter how long it takes or even if they have to ask for help, they will get there. I believe that we as teachers need to help our students feel empowered, and to do that, we must show them how people have succeed despite their circumstances.
    As for the Osbourne House fundraiser, this is a perfect example that teachers could show and talk about with students. It is close to home, and relatable. Pamela Fox has been a successful business owner for quite some time, and she herself has been through a lot of abuse. She speaks of wanting more from her life, other than simply surviving the bad times she has experienced. Someone who can come through these situations can be the hope our students need to get out of their own negative situations.
    I am glad Pamela received the apology she deserved from that racist comment. There are a lot of different people living in Canada, and just because someone is White or Black does not mean one has experienced more pain than the other. I think that we as a society need to move past stereotypes, and look into what makes us similar, and how we can connect to one another in a holistic way.

  19. Yes, it has been a long time since the peak of the civil rights movement in the United States, but the lessons that we learned from that time seem to combat with simple human ignorance. People that have been educated in the system, and really should know better, still exploit racial and gender differences to justify actions. Whether these statements that arise are truly rooted in hate, or simply an unfortunate aspect of our communication; it is still disheartening. It sometimes seems the more we try to address these issues, the more it finds its way into our language. When did we decide that the issues plaguing Aboriginals were theirs alone to fix?
    After examining the articles, I may agree that a burlesque show might not have been the best choice to raise money for an organization that shelters abused women. However, I was sad to read the immediate reaction from the Vice Premier. I grew up in a rural setting and have witnessed these ignorant ‘jokes’ from both sides. I am not sure if the speakers truly believe what they are saying, but it still upsets me. King’s dream is still far from being realized as, too often, missteps are attributed to physical appearance.
    The real tragedy of these events is that no attention was focused on the matters of consequence. Political games, correctness, and personal revenge take the stage and the real needs of the organization are left to the wayside. It is a vicious circle that continues to run its course as these organizations suffer for the stupid actions of a few individuals. What does it say about society when the real ‘news’ is the comment from the idiot at the back of the room? There was nothing said within either article as to the needs of these women, or the state of the organization; truly unfortunate.