Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Carmi swears

I have always had little patience for people who pre-judge me even when they've never met me. They'll make assumptions about my behaviors and motivations based strictly on my ethnicity. They are rightly classified as racists, and they're very good at manipulating the system to support their destructive activities, at using a democratic society's freedoms to protect themselves.

But I've got a pen, and even though I fear raising the anger and attention of some of these people, my greater fear is if I don't write about people like this, I worry we'll all forget how insidious their influence can become. After all. termites don't go away from underneath the floorboards if we ignore them. So for today's column, I thought I'd lift up the floorboards and leave no questions about where I stand.

I even used profanity - "bastard" - a first in my writing career.

Your turn: Where do you stand? What do you do when confronted with such out-and-out hatred of others? Do you hold back out of fear of reprisals?
Free speech a lame defence for hatred
Published Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The London Free Press

Imagine if your neighbor took issue with the colour of your skin. If he published hate-filled material on the Internet and routinely encouraged anyone who would listen that you and your kind should be extinguished from the planet.

What should you do? Ignore him because he’s a crackpot? Invite him in for tea? Call the police? Is there even a right answer?

As a human-rights tribunal in Toronto finishes hearing the case of Londoner Tomasz Winnicki, the rest of lawful society is challenged to decide how to deal with those who toss hate-filled grenades before retreating behind the tired defence of free speech.

By Winnicki’s definition, I’m a Jew bastard who shouldn’t be allowed to live.

By my definition, Mr. Winnicki’s views serve no viable purpose in an otherwise civilized society. Canada should have no tolerance for intolerance of any kind.

People such as Winnicki are entitled to their pathetically held beliefs. Those they attack are equally entitled to bully them back into the dark hole from which they came.



Plumkrazzee said...

Whoo HOO! I love, love, loved that last paragraph!! I've not had to deal with racial/ethnical hatred in my life, but have definetely been a minority in some instances. I've ALWAYS spoken about it. Being fearful of retaliation is giving them the power. They don't expect you to stand up, speak out, or bully back....and so, of course, that is exactly what you SHOULD do. Zero tolerance!

Bud said...

"...TIRED defense of free speech?" Those who find defending freedoms such as speech as tiring will soon find themselves without the freedoms.

Sandy said...

Well written Carmi. I hold the belief that bullies are simply cowards who try to feel brave by attmepting to humilate and hurt others. Bullies can't be ignored or they feel empowered.

What disgusts me are those racist and biogots that claim to be of religious nature or if nothing else, pure ethical standing. To think that anyone's God would encourage pure hate against another human being for the color they are, the beliefs they hold or the person they love. Ugh! I could go on for ages, but I won't hijack your blog. :)

Sleeping Mommy said...

In the U.S. we have something called the first amendment and it defends the right to free speech, freedom of religion and the right to assemble. It reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The rights laid out in this prescious amendment are something I believe in passionately and will defend vehemently. And it sucks that bastards like that can use the idea of freedom of speech to spout their hatred. But it would suck even more if there were no freedom of speech, because without it we'd likely have little chance at freedom of religion either.

colleen said...

It's not really your "bastard" but his.

I'm always deeply offended by racial and stereotyped slurs. Name calling divides and stops constructive debate. It's a lazy and ignorant activity.

Tammy said...

What you've had to deal with has never been an issue for me...but you know me. I'm not one to hold back. I say what I think, even if it will get me into trouble (and it does!).

And good for you...great article!

Prego said...

I grew up with a chorus of "n*gger," "spick" and "Go back to Venezuela, you Puerto Rican n*gger." That last one always cracked me up.

I thought people like that would be dying off, but apparently they pass the hatred down to their offspring, like freckles and hemophilia. I saw this insidious process in action when my brother and I attended a boxing match in St. Catharines.

The Pto. Rican boxer's coach was giving his charge instructions in Spanish. An old gentleman in front of me began mocking, by speaking phonetic Spanish sounding gibberish (much to the delight of his giggling grandson). I started to say something, when my brother told me to forget the 'tired old bastard.' I argued that the bigot's grandson was probably going to grow up calling my sons names.

I hate to be cynical, but we are not the world's most tolerant species of monkey.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have learned living in Canada is that we have voices and we are encouraged to use them to speak or to vote.

We, as Canadians, in my observation, use our voices constructively. But like many of us, there are many instances of verbal abuse and ethnic, racial and religious intolerance. Some Canadians have only the ability to spew hate and intolerance.

I speak my mind on my blog, and I have started receiving my first hate mail messages because of some of my critical writings.

Intolerance breeds hate and contempt. And for some, pointing out differences to stir the pot of discord is all they can do to bring attention to themselves and their causes. It's sad, really.

Unlike my years growing up in the U.S. I value my freedom to be critical and have an opinion that makes a difference in many of my readers and friends lives.

I am intolerant of a few things racism, religious intolerance, and homophobia, and I use my voice to point those people out. I try to sit in the middle ground and offer my observations of situations. There are just some lines that people should not cross. And I am critical of government leaders as well, because of who I am and what I stand for.

(Living in a world so long that was hateful and critical of everything I did and the fact that I lived) did a number on me emotionally, now with that wisdom, I can either write facts and positions or hate and anger - and I've been angry a few times in the last few years on my blog.

The world would be a better place if everyone realized that it is in our DIFFERENCES that we find commonality, but the world is not there yet.

Being Gay has taught me to have a thick skin. I know what intolerance - hate and bigotry are.

I enjoy the freedom I have as a Canadian to share my vision and sometimes my anger, if we do not point out the haters then others may suffer their hatred, and you as a journalist have might and power behind the pen and typed word. Don't be intimidated by those who would be critical because you point out injustice and hatred and ignorance.

Ignorance only grows when those who are ignorant refuse to learn the truth. We as writers, have the opportunity to educate and change lives. And that's why you do what you do, you MAKE a Difference!

That is why we have a "Charter of Rights and Freedoms" here in Canada.

If you are factually correct in your writing, then what do you have to fear?

Ignorance and intolerance comes from people who are not totally educated about a given point and have been bred to think and feel (slanted) in a certain direction because of familial teachings or religious upbringing, and they are impassioned by those around the world that would fuel their inner hatred.

That's my take on this subject.

Prego said...

... Oh, and in regard to the "tired defence of free speech," Bud, I believe Carm meant it to indicate the old "hiding behind mommy" routine, rather than questioning defence of such freedoms. For someone to cry "free speech" after spewing out two 55 gallon drums of vile hatred is, in my opinion, very tiresome.

(Carm, I should let you fight your own battle, there. I digress.)

craziequeen said...

Funnily enough, I was talking about you to someone today and the term I used was 'Canadian journalist and gifted photographer' - did I miss something? :-)

We will all keep yelling long and loud until little brains like this moron hear us!

[stepdaughter of a Polish man has experienced great prejudice]

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm with you Carmi. These people DO need to be 'called' on their racism and even if he is a crackpot...(people thought Hitler was a crackpot or a genius!!! Help Us Oh Lord!)...He is a dangerous crackpot with unacceptable attitudes. Give 'em hell, I say! That's what I have always done, even and most especially when it is someone that has no idea that their attitudes are racist...He at least is horribly upfront about his disguting's ALL pretty painful, isn' it?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

One other is amazing that racism of all sorts still exists...Oscar Hammerstein wrote those brilliant lyrics for "You've Got To Be Taught", from the musical "South Pacific"...a great great song with a very important message...And I believe that is true...these things are passed on from one generation to the next as if it were some genetic rite of passage...sad to say, I this is like an illness that is passed on, and contaminates everything around it....So, keep on keeping on are a wonderful, powerful writer; your words have weight andf impact.

Finn said...

Ignorance has no limits it seems. It's so much easier to hate what you don't understand than to make the effort to learn. That is the nature of the human animal.

Popped over here from Shelli's place. Nice to meet you.

kenju said...

You tell 'em, Carmi! No one should be allowed to get away with such crap, and bastard may be too good a word for them.

Plain Jane said...

I daresay, most who invoke "freedom of speech" haven't actually read the law let alone comprehend it accurately.

It saddens me when people spew forth such negativity, hiding behind their misunderstood "rights", and then whine when someone verbally shoves back.

To you I say, "Well done."

Pearl said...

It's natural to be angry and frustrated, baffled, hurt and sick and tired of thoughtless labels and misunderstanding the purpose of rights to make people live together better.

Taking the high road or low road each has its pitfalls but certainly it isn't safe to assume one can leave silly nonsense unchallenged. Not everyone will be able to think through the arguments and see the wrongness or innocuousness of groupism.

dena said...

Brilliant post! Brilliant!
Sometimes I think I speak too loudly, but I think that's better than the alternative.

visiting from michele's

ribbiticus said...

fortunately, i have not had any major instances of racial discrimination thus far. there have been so many stories, though, about this happening to friends, family members and other filipinos. being asian, we were raised to be respectful of other people, regardless of ethnicity. maybe because we do not want to experience the same lack of respect and ignorance from others. people who try to propagate hate based on skin color are sick and should never be tolerated in society.

Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

Blogging about this - will be up later today - not sure your comments section can hold this much contemplation :-D