A long time coming

I believe that Don Cherry's firing was a long time coming, as this is not the first instance in which he incited hate on television.

Furthermore, my annoyance with the controversy mostly comes from the response to his comments. For instance, those who lose their minds about those who choose to not wear a poppy, while in the same sentence complaining about how free speech is dead because a racist was fired.

The problem that is often not addressed is the fact that no one should have to wear a poppy in the first place. Some people, such as myself, are not nationalists, supporters of imperialism or mindless warfare, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The poppy has become misappropriated to symbolize support for not just the two world wars, but the remembrance of those who participated in such shameful actions such as the Vietnam War. Let’s also not forget the amount of disorder the West has caused in the Middle East due to our intervention. 

The centre-left’s response to the Cherry controversy was quite disappointing (but not surprising). Instead of shifting the focus to systemic issues of racism and the glorification of war, this group took the neoliberal approach of inclusion and multiculturalism and decided to only discuss how many people of colour participated in warfare (which of course is relevant, but let’s not forget the bigger picture).

It seems as though everyone is either just too socially unconscious or afraid to question nationalized symbols such as the poppy. 

Another point is the fact that the U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia occurred around the same time as this whole Don Cherry thing. Although both issues are important to discuss and unpack, the implications of the coup are materially far greater for Indigenous folks than that of Cherry’s racist remarks. 

Tessa Wotherspoon

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