Idle No More – Revisited

Today, we are going to take a journey back in time. Back to February of 2013, the month in which this blog was born. We are going to explore my very first post.

In the future, the moment we are living in will likely be seen as the era of Cancel Culture. People (particularly people with substantial followings) are being taken down a peg (or cancelled) due to indiscretions past or present. Whilst this trend has created a robust debate around the effectiveness of cancel culture in terms of both the end result (what does cancelled really mean?) and the reasoning (does the primarily mob mentality driven phenomenon allow a person to grow from past wrongs?), what interests me is the preemptive reactions that many content creators with vast back catalogues seem to be taking on account of the movement.

Since the Cancel mob has now scorned many creators for old (and i’m assuming long forgotten) videos and/or other content in which they display unwoke characteristics, some online figures are preemptively retracting a large chunk of (if not all of) their back catalogues from public view. If one has been creating content (particularly video content) for many years and has amassed hundreds or thousands of videos over that timeframe, I can see why they might want to take corrective action ahead of time. While I would like to think that taking the whack-a-mole approach would be superior to this going dark approach, as stated before, I can’t be sure that it is always effective when one is in the crosshairs of the mob. What Contrapoints dealt with seems to be a perfect example of this (damned if you do, damned if you don’t!).

I’ll end this introduction with some video materials.

This one is Contrapoints revealing the hellish experience that was associating with a cancelled individual for a voiceover. It is indeed lengthy. But like all of her other work, it’s worth the time spent in knowledge gained.

Much shorter in duration, this is Linus Sebastian and Luke Lafreniere discussing this very thing in terms of how it relates to Linus Media Group’s back catalogue of hundreds of videos spread across several channels.

Though I do not have a Youtube account (and thus no long-forgotten videos to speak of), it occurred to me that I have had this blog live for almost 8 years straight. With a little over 700 posts now currently published, I no longer remember what the vast majority of them contain. After being surprised (positively, fortunately) after a random old and post showed up in my stats (this one), it made me wonder what else I had hanging around my archive.
Though the ongoing conversation of the current era initially made me ask myself “Do I have anything that could bite me?”, I later revised this to “How much have I changed over the past 7 and a half years?”. After all, self-reflection can lead to personal growth,

As it turned out, I didn’t need to go any further than my very first post to answer both questions. In a nutshell, “Yes!” and “quite a lot”. Back in December of 2012, Idle No More was founded by 3 women on account of Bill being promoted by then Stephan Harpers Conservative government.

 

With roots in the Indigenous community, Idle No More began in November 2012 as a protest against the introduction of Bill C-45 by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. Formally known as the Jobs and Growth Act, this omnibus legislation affected over 60 acts, including the Indian Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act and Environmental Assessment Act. Idle No More activists argued that the Act’s changes diminished the rights and authority of Indigenous communities while making it easier for governments and businesses to push through projects without strict environmental assessment.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/idle-no-more

I don’t recall being all that tuned into the Idle No More origin story at the time. As I will showcase in my introduction, and explicitly later in my post. But, let’s start from the beginning.

https://mbman.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/idle-no-more/

With this entry im going to take on an issue that started late last year, and has flared up to gain international attention (for awhile anyway. Now, not so much).

In any case, for me personally, I had been hearing about it for awhile since back in December, but never really gave it a whole lot of attention (life in the real and online universes kept me busy with other stuff). It wasn’t until January that I started paying more attention, actively researching the movement, and actually taking part in the way that I can best do it with my life expectations (online).

The original starters of the movement, in my opinion, had a good stance, in there hope to actively prevent environmental degredation caused by short sighted gov’t planning, as well as draw attention to social inequality of many first nations people. This is a stance that I can agree with.

While one could take issue with the aloof nature of this introduction, I am not overly bothered by it. For one, everyone has interests competing for their attention in daily life (even journalists have to pick and choose, to a degree). And second, I had yet to comprehend the then not so well understood (or at least, not so routinely discussed) effect that social media has on people’s personal awareness. With more and more people (often unknowingly) turning to social media sources for daily news, local and regional news can often go by the wayside over the far more sexy international (primarily US) headlines. Whilst American politics has always sucked up a lot of oxygen, social media brings that phenomenon to a whole new level.

But that is a subject that has been on my back burner for a while now. In a world where social media is both obsolescing legacy print and television news sources, how can local and regional news adapt to fit into this new paradigm?

However, that is a whole new post.

The problem is, not to long after this, it started moving toward the blockades. Blockading major highways, rail lines, streets, highways, US boarder crossings ect. And the worst part, many of these protesters, to the unbiased eye, took on an oddly racist tone. I take a story from my local news (Well, Winnipeg) as an example.

Reporters were reporting on a small group of natives that was blockading a rail line not far from Portage la Prairie. One older gentalman, im assuming an elder, was lieing across the tracks. When interviewed, he explained that he was there in the name of the environment, because its degradation affected all of us. His children, our children, and all Canadians in general. This man I had the utmost respect for.

The REST however, not so much. Loudmouths shouting stuff like “Oppressors! Get lost white man!”, and other stuff that struck me as veiled racism. And even when a spokesman for CN came with a court order to get off the tracks, they attacked him verbally. Questioned him about what proof he has that its HIS land (overlooking that its not “his” land, and that its not there’s either, really).

But the whole movement seemed to take an ugly turn like this. There were those who took the side of the originators, they had my respect then and still do. Then there’s the loud mouth, seemingly racist douche bags.

Yeah . . . this is where I start to look back on this with a critical eye. Even if I SAID that I still agreed with the founding tenants of Idle No More, the existence of this post (my need to write it) clearly dictates otherwise. To fast forward right to today, my stance is akin to being against the black lives matter protests strictly on account to some protesters breaking windows and otherwise doing property damage.

A pathetic argument since windows and other property are both replaceable and insured. Black lives lost to police brutality are irreplaceable. As are native lives, since racial bias in policing happens in Canada too.

I had it happen to me, both in the Idle facebook community at large, and in groups with people closer to home. Despite being “on there side”, you were pushed aside and judged (falsely!) for asking the questions (about equality!). It seemed that it was more important to protect ALL members of the movement (douchbags included), then to worry about the people that are part of the whole POINT of the protest, the people on the reserves, living in shacks.

First of all . . .uh. The way I manage to turn this movement around and make it all about me is cringeworthy.

Second, as stated earlier, I clearly missed the original point of the protests (even though the movement evolved over time to include other concerns). And third, I committed the same argumentative sin that I often lament in others. In short, only caring about a vulnerable cohort when it is convenient.

We now come to the part that REALLY makes me cringe. The part that no doubt made me feel like a REAL advocate of freedom of speech and destroyer of political correctness. Because I was a speaker of truth, and no one was going to stop me!

First of all, im personally Metis, so there whole racism thing was dead in the water. I just don’t flaunt my ancestry, nor do I use the perks that come along with it. I don’t care what the ancestors of the white man did to “my people” back in the day.

This is NOW. 2013. The oppressors are dead, as are the people that were oppressed. One should never forget, but you will NEVER move forward if you do not forgive.

And frankly, if you are justifying your using the “helping hand” offered by the gov’t by saying “Well YOUR ANCESTORS mistreated mine!”, you need to grow up. I was bullied to the point of almost taking a river dive. But I don’t expect reparations for the rest of my life.

1.) Again, I managed to turn this into a self-serving exercise. Aside from flaunting the Metis card, there is no way that my high school experience in any way matches that of the native populations of pretty much ANY colonized nation. This would be particularly insulting to anyone coming out of the Indian residential school system (the last school of which only ceased operation in 1996!).

Though “What was I thinking?!” springs to mind, it’s clear . . . I wasn’t thinking.

2.) The oppressors are dead! argument may seem to make this whole issue look obvious on the onset, but as tends to be the case, the reality is far more complex. Alike African Americans in the US, Native people in Canada have never started at the same starting line as the Caucasian settler descendants. Though many people are prone to finding notable exceptions in their personal life, those with white skin have always had an easier time moving up the economic ladder than Natives.
You can outlaw overt racism by law and think the problem is solved. However, the law means nothing in a world filled with hidden or unconscious systemic racism.

Though I don’t know of a Canadian equivalent, consider this Harvard study which had several minority individuals whiten their resume to see if they got more callbacks.

In one study, the researchers created resumes for black and Asian applicants and sent them out for 1,600 entry-level jobs posted on job search websites in 16 metropolitan sections of the United States. Some of the resumes included information that clearly pointed out the applicants’ minority status, while others were whitened, or scrubbed of racial clues. The researchers then created email accounts and phone numbers for the applicants and observed how many were invited for interviews.

Employer callbacks for resumes that were whitened fared much better in the application pile than those that included ethnic information, even though the qualifications listed were identical. Twenty-five percent of black candidates received callbacks from their whitened resumes, while only 10 percent got calls when they left ethnic details intact. Among Asians, 21 percent got calls if they used whitened resumes, whereas only 11.5 percent heard back if they sent resumes with racial references.

 

https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/minorities-who-whiten-job-resumes-get-more-interviews

While I can’t give exact details as to exactly how systemic racism looks to native Canadians, anecdotal evidence from working provides some clues to those willing to pay attention. For example, the fact that someone with a non-white skin tone MUST work twice as hard as the average white worker in order to garner the same respect. Because no matter what everyone else is doing, non-whites know who is getting much of the scrutiny.

Then there is the ordeal that is shopping while native in many parts of Canada. Short of walking into a supermarket wearing a 3 piece suit (or your birthday suit!), chances are great that you WILL be tailed around the store by staff. Wearing a hoody pretty much guarantees it, and wearing a backpack or carrying a large bag (even zipped shut!) ensures you will be followed.

Of course, anecdotes are not everything. Given my old piece, that is blatantly apparent. However, when considered carefully and alongside those of many, anecdotes can serve as a good measure of the overall culture of a society as a whole. Having considered this in the years following 2013, I can’t help but look back at my old conclusions as being hideously simplistic.

I now want to touch on a couple other things that are mentioned in the previous post. 

1.) I don’t know how I feel about reparations.

I am beginning to soften my feelings in regard to reparations. 

Before recently (this moment, really), I primarily viewed the subject from the Us = alive, oppressors = Dead prospective. But having considered the systemic racism aspect of aboriginal life in Canada, it’s hard not to consider that reparations could serve as a sort of equalizer. As may be the point.

2.) I still choose not to acknowledge my Metis heritage (and thus don’t use any of the reparations associated with such status). I have always viewed this from the perspective of fairness. It bothered me that everyone else I know had to find their own way through post-secondary education (among other things) just because they were born in the wrong family lineage (of which inherently connects to the Us = Alive, Oppressors + Dead viewpoint).

Even though I view reparations differently now, I simply don’t feel comfortable with celebrating what amounts to an accident of birth. So even if my lineage means that I am entitled to certain perks (the situation as seen through the lens of white family members), I don’t consider my heritage as being an important part of my identity.

I have considered whether or not my stance on heritage is, in fact, toxic to the overall Metis culture as a whole. With aboriginal cultures fighting to pass on and keep their identities intact in the face of European influenced assimilation, it strikes me that my stance might come across as insensitive. Maybe even a case of colonial culture causing an unconscious reaction towards my true identity.

My stance is not based around old influencers of the mind, I can assure. It has always been far more of a George Carlin influence than anything else.

As for whether or not this stance is harmful, I’m thinking that the answer is no.

I am not saying that Metis people (nor anyone else) should distance themselves from their origins. I’m just saying that I choose to do so because I have far more to offer than my bloodline. Though I can’t help but think that bloodline often serves as just another barrier in which for humans to fight about . . . to each your own.

As Carlin said, be happy.

In any case, I came very VERY close to saying, ya know what, FUCK the Idle movement. If those within don’t want to acknowledge that problems exist on BOTH sides, why should I care?

Again, all about me.

But I didn’t. I know that im not the only one that sees how damaging the most recent actions of the idle movement have been to the movement itself, in the eyes of Canadians. So I started a facebook group called “Idle No More – The Rest Of Us”, a place for those of us whom were spit out from the original movement to converse and discuses. So far its been fairly quiet, but thats not to surprising.

But in any case, thats my opinion on the matter, and this concludes this post.

If you are offended by what I wrote and want to have a word, the comment section is below. Don’t expect me to care though.

All I ask you to do is, THINK FOR YOURSELF!! Just because a “white man” is being critical of a chief, that does not make them racist!

And if your one of the silent ones being shouted down by the loudmouths, SPEAK UP! Don’t let the idiots ruin a good thing (even if it may already be to late).

Not much more to see here. The Facebook group is now long gone (I deleted it years ago). Maybe it’s a good thing it didn’t go anywhere since I would more than likely have had my ass handed to me on a silver platter.

I thought I was so SMRT . . . them right-leaning grievance narratives. There is a reason why they have the recruiting power that they do. Nothing beats the false empowerment of lashing out from the point of view of a persecuted underdog.

In conclusion, while I am not proud of the post as shared in 2013, I will be leaving it up. I will place a link to this post for anyone who may happen across it at some point in the future, however. And in the coming months, I plan on going through the rest of my archive and seeing what else I have kicking around.

I could delete (and thus, effectively bury) my history. However, I think that confronting old biases is far more healthy for my personal growth and overall discourse.

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