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Racism runs both ways

Re: Blaming the victims of racism (Jan. 2). In reacting to James Jewell's column on the difficulty of solving the homicides of aboriginal sex-trade workers (Enough with the racist rhetoric, Dec. 29), Deanna Zantingh condemns Jewell for having "the racist perspective that permeates his view that these acts not be viewed as racist."

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Zantingh would make a fine detective: not only can she identify the murderers without witnesses but she can also provide motives for their crimes.

The closest Jewell came to blaming the victims was suggesting their choice to enter the sex trade placed them at high risk for harm. Presumably as a "masters student in First Nations contexts," Zantingh would argue these women did not truly choose to become sex-trade workers but were rather compelled to take a tragic path as aboriginal women coming from families traumatized intergenerationally by colonialism.

Evidently, in supposing these women had a free will, Jewell is a racist. Zantingh holds that these aboriginal women were only products of their environment. The wholesale assignment of victimhood is dehumanizing and the negation of personal responsibility infantilizes the subject.




In Enough with the racist rhetoric (Dec. 29). James Jewell believes we will see that aboriginal leaders and activists concerned with systemic racism and police commitment to such cases are not just mistaken, but guilty of far more egregious moral faults. According to Jewell, these leaders are "constantly spewing racist rhetoric designed to deflect ownership and responsibility" and feeding a misguided "victimization mindset" that, in turn, serves to "fuel the racial divide."

Jewell fails to consider it is possible for all of the challenges in policing these cases to be genuine and for such cases to still be negatively affected by systemic racism and a lack of police interest.

Even if we assume Jewell's account of the difficulties in policing cases involving "drug-addicted sex-trade workers" is sound, the harsh moral claims he levies exclusively against members of a specific racial and cultural group lack a rational basis. Whether or not Jewell's defaming a single racial group without rational basis is itself a racist act, I leave to the reader to decide; it is certainly not motivated by any clear demonstration of the hard facts.



Proud of Hydro helpers

More than 40 employees of Manitoba Hydro gave up Christmas with their families to help restore power to thousands of Torontonians. Many elderly folks were simply stuck in their apartments with little to eat and no access to elevators -- my 83-year-old mother-in-law among them. She was without power for three days.

Working with high-voltage power is dangerous in optimum conditions; the icy conditions and sense of urgency to restore power compounds the danger. These people worked very hard for the residents of Toronto, and came home to little fanfare.

Thanks to all who went. You made me even prouder to be a Manitoban!




I personally want to thank all the folks who left their families on Christmas Eve to come to Ontario and help us recover from the ice storm destruction. You have worked tirelessly in cold, icy conditions with virtually no rest and your assistance helped us get our power functioning after seven days.

It was a really difficult and frustrating job, yet you shared your expertise in order to help us out and everyone here is truly grateful. Thank you to your families who postponed their family Christmas to help others. You are all angels and saviours.

May you now have some time to warm up, enjoy family and get some rest. Thank you again for your kindness and generosity.


Hillsburgh, Ont.

Glover anything but frank

Fortunately, my reading comprehension is high enough to navigate the misinformation/lack of relevant answers/general misdirection from Shelly Glover (There's a new senior minister in town, Dec. 28).

Glover's responses avoided responsibility while directing blame elsewhere, often at Manitoba's provincial government.

The only times Glover was "frank" was when bashing the government of Manitoba. The rest were non-answers.



City stuck in a rut

I spend a lot of money every year making sure my car is maintained and in good working order so I am safe on our city roads. I have spent premium dollars for the best winter tires and spend the time and money installing and removing them every year.

I'm a good driver with a lot of merits on my licence and take care when I'm driving: I don't text and drive, I don't drink and drive and I don't drive like a maniac.

With all this in mind, I like to assume the city will do its part and keep us on safe on our city roads by making sure they are plowed and cleared. My drive into work this morning was horrendous, and I can honestly say I fear for my life every time I get behind the wheel in this city right now.

Is it going to take a loss of life before our city council wises up and cleans up our roads? They will give us the excuse about being over budget but I don't buy it -- this is Winnipeg, we get winter and snow here. Why does it always seem to be a surprise to everyone?



En anglais, s'il vous plait

I really think the French article in your weekend edition is great. I would like it if you could include the English translation along with it so I can brush up on my French skills. I don't get enough chances for this and I'm certain everyone would think it's a cool learning experience.

Also an occasional Tagalog, Hindi, Spanish or Ukrainian article would be much appreciated.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 6, 2014 A8

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