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Blaming the victims of racism

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Aboriginal activist Gladys Radek.

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Aboriginal activist Gladys Radek. Photo Store

In his one-sided Dec. 29 SundayXtra piece, Enough with the racist rhetoric, retired police officer James Jewell claims the Winnipeg Police aren't racists. Yet any conversations I have had with cops I know are invariably peppered with racist rhetoric and ignorant assertions about First Nations people.

Jewell presents us with a litany of reasons as to why it can be difficult to catch the murderer of a sex worker. What's really telling is that in every one of them he blames the victim. Jewell may believe what he writes, but anyone who knows a cop or has had dealings with one knows full well that racial equality isn't one of their strong points.

BRUCE CLARK

Palm Springs, Calif.

 

As a master's student who works in First Nations contexts and has spent a great deal of time examining cycles of violence and trauma, I must admit I finished James Jewell's piece with a feeling of deep lament braided into anger and disgust.

The issues surrounding murdered aboriginal sex-trade workers are, as Jewell helpfully points out, many and complex. What I truly can't handle is the racist perspective that permeates his view these acts not be viewed as racist.

But why does he not ever once stop and ask: How did these women get to this place of high-risk to begin with?

DEANNA ZANTINGH

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2014 A12

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