The Don Cherry controversy has once again highlighted a fact of life in Canada — racism in this country is a one-way street.
Anyone familiar with Don Cherry knows nuance isn’t his forte, and he certainly seems to have crossed the line with his “you people” comment. I found his remarks obnoxious and plain wrong knowing that many new immigrants, and many of them visible minorities, display their poppy with as much pride as others in Canada.
For Cherry to say that all immigrants show no respect for Canada’s veterans is a stark untruth. His remarks deserve condemnation.
But does he deserve to be sacked?
For if Cherry must be sacked for identifying immigrants and by implication several racial groups with a negative trait, a large number of commentators, writers, journalists, intellectuals and politicians should have been sacked long ago for identifying another racial group — the whites — with several negative traits routinely.
It has become a norm in racial politics to always blame all white people for the behavior of a few — and that never attracts consequences Cherry has had to face. Blaming all the white people for racial discrimination is not just in vogue in Canada, but a pre-requisite if you want to position yourself as a liberal or progressive person.
Blaming white people for nearly every social ill is a very liberal thing to do. And no one is singled out for scorn and derision more than the old white male, a symbol these days for all that is wrong.
And yet this everyday racism continues without any calls for resignations or de-platforming.
The Don Cherry affair reminds of another racial incident involving hockey.
As the entire country reeled from the Humboldt Broncos tragedy last year that claimed the lives of 16 young people and Canadians donated generously, a Montreal-based commentator wondered if the “maleness, the youthfulness and the whiteness of the victims” was the reason why Canadians were being so supportive of the families. I wrote a rebuttal to her totalising narrative. Such anti-white racism is common among scholars and writers in Canada — and there is rarely a consequence.
Such free-for-all white-bashing was in abundant display on social media during the municipal election in Vancouver last year. Politicians, journalists and many other public figures all competed to express outrage at the supposedly racist white people of Vancouver for not sending a person of colour to the council. They implied that every white person who voted in Vancouver was racist. Again I wrote a rebuttal.
How was that different from Cherry’s “you people” remark? But no one was sacked. No one even demanded any resignation.
Cherry has made an obnoxious remark. Yet he may not be totally wrong in his observation. A lot of immigrants might not be wearing poppies. Perhaps not because they don’t care but due to lack of awareness and education.
The response to Cherry’s remarks should not be his sacking but showing him the reality. See what a group of Muslims did in Calgary. Read how Ahmadiyya Muslim mosques across the country collected donations for the Royal Canadian Legion for weeks.
Cherry has been rightly called out for his crass remarks, and he has had to pay a heavy price for it. Sadly, those on the other side — the anti-white racists — carry on with their racism without any consequence.
Racism in Canada is indeed a one-way street.
Gagandeep Ghuman is the editor, North Shore Daily Post.