An Open Letter to Margaret Wente: Modern Racial Segregation Talk

As Nick Reo mentioned, Margaret Wente’s column in the Toronto Globe and Mail last weekend cannot go unanswered by the North American Native community. In this column, Ms. Wente offers a theory/proposal that Canadian First Nations be segregated, usuing the American/Jim Crow-style “separate-but-equal” rhetoric.

I offer a few preliminary comments based on some truly amazing things she asserted. I leave the “Disrobing” book by Widdowson and Howard for a later date.

Let’s start with this quote:

  • Instead, our policies are based on the belief that aboriginal culture is equal but separate, and that the answer to aboriginal social problems is to revive and preserve indigenous culture on a “separate but equal” parallel track.

Ok, first, “separate-but-equal” was discredited in Brown v. Board of Education, decided by the United States Supreme Court 54 years ago. “Separate-but-equal” is code for racism, for Jim Crow, and for racial segregation. And a person with an American education like Ms. Wente knows that full well. This use of racist code words is intolerable.

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What Margaret Wente Wrote Was Really Dumb — and also not true

In a recent column in Canada’s Globe and Mail titled, “What Dick Pound said was really dumb – and also true”, Margaret Wente submits a high profile critisism of Aboriginal socio-cultural systems, first nations politics and aboriginal knowledge systems. With this article, Wente dives 1000 leagues below the “savage” comments made by Dick Pound. Her conclusions are poorly founded, contradictory, and backward-ic. Yet, if you read the online discussion at the Globe and Mail that has followed her column, you’ll see (not surprisingly) there are many people who agree with her views.  The column is an example of poorly researched provocateur journalism; yet, as has occurred with similar publications in the past, we can expect it to have a long shelf life and misinform scores of people.

See the full article and subsequent online discussion.