Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Article spurs commenter rhetoric

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An article in the Dec. 29 SundayXtra titled Enough with the racist rhetoric kept the commenter engines running all week.

Great article. I realize the emotions behind the loss or disappearance of a loved one. I also realize the difficulty the police have in closing cases in these types of circumstances.

I wish somehow that the parties that can effect change or at least work towards a solution would get together and support the effort to keep vulnerable women off the streets. Seems to me the race card is played to deflect blame. Are there racist police officers? Of course. Are there racists within the First Nations community? Yes, but I do not believe it to be so for the community as a group. Do I believe the WPS as a whole is racist? No way. It serves the purpose of few to suggest this is about race. Might there be personal agendas involved? I hope not, but I'm not convinced.

-- Waynefd

"As far as they are concerned, it's just another dead Indian."

I think many commenters know that the word "they" often introduces a racist or ignorant remark, or at the very least an inaccurate generalization. Ms. Radek should know that the "they" she refers to is also a minority.

-- Woofers

Ah, yes, blame the victims. If Mr. Jewell is typical of most Winnipeg Police Service members, I can see where the problem really lies.

-- Billy Pilgrim

My question is, does the author know about any of the research on race and outcomes in the justice system?

Aboriginal attitudes such as the ones he is bemoaning come from real-life experiences of aboriginal people.

Aboringinals are more likely to be stopped and questioned by police. If charged, they are more likely to plead guilty and less likely to use legal counsel. They will spend more time in jail than non-aboriginals for similar situations or offences.

The system is not colour-blind, it is simply not self-aware. The author's complaining about native people is just more of the same -- and the reason that most aboriginals see the WPS as more of an occupying army than protectors.

And as for his sentence, "Her comments express a belief firmly entrenched in the minds of many aboriginal people," it is also a belief firmly entrenched in my university-educated old-man white consciousness. Natives get the lousy end of the stick in every aspect of our justice system. The only way you can not know that is to be ignorant of the facts or purposely blind to the truth.

-- dehall

All the task forces in the world will not prevent this type of crime from occurring again and again unless these girls, aboriginal or not, change their behaviours. It would be awesome to solve these crimes, but given the difficulty in gathering information, this will likely not be the case. And if the victims were all blond and blue-eyed, but drug-addicted, street-living sex-trade workers, their murders would not be solved either. Reserves and their chiefs, Ms. Radek and her fellow activists should be working to prevent more disappearances and murders by education and intervention with these high-risk girls. Work at finding solutions rather than blaming the police force for not solving the murders and calling everyone else racists for not solving these crimes. We do not live in a CSI world where every murder can be solved immediately. A lot of work goes into investigations, but if there is no information, how can it be solved?


Thank you to the police who do everything they can to try to solve crimes like this. Thank you for the time they take to work with families and strangers, many of whom may have mental illness and addiction that make their job difficult, yet they persevere with doing their job the best they can.

Too much criticism of our police, who often work under the most stressful and trying conditions (-35 C) to do their job.

This is not to blame any one segment of society. It is society as a whole, and until they quit blaming one another, the job continues to get harder. Time for groups and individuals to offer solutions and co-operation without reservation.

-- CNu2

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 5, 2014 A10

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