Friday, November 15, 2019
A Reading Of Don Cherry’s Supposedly Notorious Words
1+ Explication de texte: “You people love, you that come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.”D Cherry
2+ My position is that Cherry neither singles out racially visible immigrants or includes them all in his disdain for those who don’t wear poppies.
3+ He refers first to “you people,” which in context means all people who don’t wear poppies.
Then he fills in who “you people” includes. Clearly, it’s you that come to Canada, which means anyone who’s come to Canada and doesn’t wear a poppy.
4+ No mention of any people of colour, of any particular race or ethnicity, just anyone, as I say, who’s come here and goes poppyless.
5+ Then the capper, his unnoticed, “whatever it is,” which can only mean, in effect and paraphrasing, “those who come here, those who are from here, anyone, whomever they are and for whatever the reason, who don’t wear a poppy.”
6+ So on this reading of his words, there is no warrant for an imputation of racism, of slanging all immigrants, racially visible or not, of singling out racially visible immigrants or referring to all immigrants.
7+ Who he’s focused on is those, anyone, any Canadian, who doesn’t wear a poppy.
8+ It’s a species of hysteria to misread into his words racist slurring or xenophobic immigrant bashing. And that is a function of the hyper grievance and outrage culture which, like the air, is all around us. Victimization at the drop of a hat or a misinterpreted word.
Too many are too quick to take offence, which is especially and sadly ironic when this reflexive defensiveness issues out of a misapprehension as to the ostensible insult’s cause, as is the case of these words of a Cherry called Don.