Wednesday, 24 August 2016 12:54

Racism an individual problem; it’s not just a political entity

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Saskatchewan is under the spotlight these days as the landmine term of “racism” makes an unwelcome appearance in news headlines.

Colten Boushie from the Red Pheasant First Nation was shot and killed by a farmer who saw Boushie on his land. The accused has been charged with second degree murder.
While Sask. Premier Brad Wall’s call for a “rise above intolerance” has been criticized for being too simplistic, it’s a start. Frankly, that rise above intolerance is what is needed to eliminate racism, no matter your race.
Social media has allowed those who wallow in bigotry to express their opinions freely about the Boushie case.
One slightly infamous Facebook group talking about it had their comments eliminated.
Comments from this group reflect attitudes amongst some people, but this isn’t a Saskatchewan-only problem — it’s global. Saskatchewan is in the spotlight due to the details emanating from this case.
Social media definitely allows those who don’t like cultures different than theirs to be able to get their messages out there.
While critics of the morality police and those who are “too politically correct” groan about racism lectures, it just seems too simple of a change. At its simplest base, skin pigmentation has altered some attitudes that within all races, some groups are better than others.
The only way society can get over racism is to change the attitude that somehow one culture is better than another no matter race, ethnicity, religion, etc.
While that sounds like some sort of unrealistic utopia, and perhaps it is too simplistic, it involves a change in understanding. Groups have “bad” people, but no entire races are completely evil.
Recent killings in the United States have been blamed on race.Does that make the entire white population bad? Or the United States for that matter? No.
When Nazis ruled Germany during the Second World War where racism was the most prevalent in history, did that make all Caucasians particularly in Germany racist? No.
With Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Al Qaeda, are all people of Middle Eastern descent bad? No.
It is particular extremist groups from particular countries and subsequently for some people we lump everyone from those particular races and instantly they’re all bad. Does that mean we put our guards down in tracking those who are evil? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean we need to paint entire groups with the same brushes.
Being naivé doesn’t always mean that we all give each other group hugs and love absolutely everyone. There are evil people in the world no question, but they are in all races, not just a select few. 
No matter what your religion or feelings are on afterlife, one thing is certain: No one who is here on earth is getting out alive. Life would be better if we all didn’t look at the other person who is different from us, as a potential threat. Co-operation and kindness is better than segregation, hatred and mistrust.
Each individual has to look in the mirror and change, but due to economics, religion, the thirst for power and control of government and just the simplistic feeling of superiority and dominance — where oppression is an easier feeling than acceptance — racist feelings and changes to them will be a slow time in coming, no matter what politicians say or do. It’s too bad Saskatchewan and rural Saskatchewan, more specifically, is getting the negative publicity right now. There is a lot of blame to go around.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor