Letters To The Editor | April 19-25, 2018

One way to encourage working-class voters to re-examine their support for Doug Ford plus, add the Beatles to rock's anti-women ne'er-do-wells



Revealing Ford’s true working-class colours

Thank you for the articles Doug Ford’s White Saviour Complex and Can Doug Ford Be Beaten? (NOW, April 12-18). One way to encourage working-class voters to re-examine their support for Ford and his party is to conduct research into working conditions at Ford’s family businesses. It would be worthwhile to encourage a unionizing campaign among employees of those businesses to reveal his true colours to working-class voters.

Shalom Schachter, Toronto

Add Beatles to anti-women ne’er-do-wells

Re Rethinking My Rock Fandom by Carla Gillis (NOW, April 12-18). 

Gillis is a fierce supporter of indie music and culture, but on the off chance that she is also a fan of the second-greatest band of all time, the Beatles, (those other ne’er-do-wells the Who being the first), she may want to make room for their hit album Rubber Soul in her fandom rethink, and the lyrics from Run For Your Life: “Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl / Than to be with another man / You better keep your head, little girl / Or you won’t know where I am / You better run for your life if you can, little girl / Hide your head in the sand, little girl / Catch you with another man / That’s the end, little girl.” 

If she does decide to do chuck her Beatles collection, I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people out there who will take it off her hands. And, of course, the Beatles are just a start.

David Honigsberg, Toronto 

Can’t find A Better Man

When I read the stories in your How To Be A Better Man cover story (NOW, April 5-11), I was surprised to find no mention of the documentary A Better Man. The phrase “a better man” is not copyright or unique to the film. However, the attention the film has garnered in Canada and internationally has made the phrase synonymous with the idea that men should take on the responsibility for preventing violence toward women. 

The film, co-directed by Toronto’s Attiya Khan, has won many awards and should have received at least a tip of the hat from NOW.

Joss Maclennan, Toronto

Double standard on Sikh extremism?

The article Singh Extremes by Sandy Hudson ( NOW, April 5-11) on Jagmeet Singh’s handling of questions on Sikh extremism is obliviously selective. 

Why is a political matter in India being given so much attention? Do we need to be reminded of the biggest mass murder in recent Canadian history, the Air India bombing? Even that was condemned at a late stage by Singh. 

But the airline bombing was only the worst of the violence associated with Sikh extremists. There were numerous bus and train shooting incidents and bombings in Punjab and elsewhere as well. 

Why is there no equivalent freedom of expression given to Irish or Palestinian political matters? Would the Canadian government even dare to tolerate these movements the way it has Sikhs? Something is definitely not straight here.

Varun Shekhar, Toronto 

Drinking institutional Kool-Aid 

Re Jully Black Is The True Winner Of Canada Reads 2018 (NOW Online, April 4). Rachna Raj Kaur was one of the few journalists, if not the only one, to call out both Jeanne Beker’s white fragility and Jully Black’s refusal to be responsible for the emotional labour attached to white “feelings” of vulnerability.

Beker’s beliefs were challenged. Well, she was educated in Ontario. No wonder she experienced cognitive dissonance. Silence, erasure, omission, dismissal are key factors of racism, Canadian-style. But it’s not just about Jeanne. 

She is one of many, including Jully and myself, who did not learn the truth. Most settlers did not, and do not still, learn in Canadian schools about slavery in Canada or that staff at residential schools put needles through the tongues of First Nations kids when they dared speak their language of origin? We all drink the institutional Kool-Aid. Still, people can change, make noise and act to disrupt institutions that perpetuate systemic racism. 

However, it’s not up to Jully Black or Alicia Elliott or Lee Maracle to do the exhausting work. These “aha” moments – uncomfortable, confusing, but potentially life-altering – are only the first steps in taking ownership toward a personal perspective transformation.

The Beker-Black exchange exemplifies what all settler Canadians, including mainstream media, must do: critically reflect on their beliefs and their implicit biases. And then act.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has outlined 94 calls to action. Pick one and start advocating.

Lisa Guthro, Crowe Lake

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