Today in the CBC online media is an article about the quick response to a racist joke or two that appeared in a Legion newsletter; the perpetrator was quickly dismissed from his ‘volunteer’ job on the newsletter after complaints about these offensive jokes regarding First Nations.
Much pearl-clutching ensues, and everything from striking the offender from Legion rolls to a forced spending time with First Nations on a reserve is suggested… people aren’t really thinking with their heads, collective guilt is probably closer to the truth…Those of you in the comments section who are touting restorative justice, or ‘spending time on a reserve’ seem to forget that the offender broke no laws, cannot be forced to do anything, and that dismissal from the Legion’s membership list is probably the worst that could happen.
I agree that what was done was appalling, but frankly I’m not surprised…deep-seated racism is often excused as “a joke” and always has been…I remember the hurtful incident of a certain Legion refusing service to veterans in turbans..not much outcry then..compared to this. And yes, thousands of Sikhs and other religious and cultural minorities served in the Forces with distinction, too. But how many of us have the moral energy to let someone know that their ‘jokes’, asides, snide remarks, and offhand racism are offensive to us…how many of us are afraid of offending the offender?
I am glad that Shirley Green quickly complained..it is good that First Nations people have their voice and feel, correctly, that the majority will back them up if they are facing persecution of any sort…but restorative justice? Sending this ‘legionnaire’ to Coventry is about all that anyone can do… if you are too young to know what the first part of this sentence means, Google it….