BDhln-HCAAAUR_IThere exists a strange sort of arrogance in Canadian culture. It’s one that helps us feel a meager measure of superiority over our larger, louder, more populous and far less concerned neighbors to the South. It’s one that values the idea of a cultural mosaic above that of a melting pot, and it imagines that such a hierarchy of values rings true in the hearts of every Canadian. It’s one that says:

Hey there, Mr. and Mrs. Immigrant, there’s a nice little place for you right here in the collective stained glass window of our nation.

It’s patently false. We’re a country of ignorant and stupid morons who discriminate against people with differences just like every other nation on earth. What’s so maddening to me about Canada’s xenophobia is that a) I live in this country and not others, where I’m sure I’d be equally disturbed by it; b) That we imagine ourselves to be so high above something that we’re not; and c) The continued platform given to Don Cherry by Canada’s national broadcasting network.

On the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim hosted TSN’s Sports Centre (notice the “re” instead of the “er”), as they did once before in March of 2012. Both Ahluwalia and Karim have brown-colored skin. This, to many Canadian sports fans who are used to seeing the white-colored skin of Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole was cause to take to social media and express off-colored jokes.

A collection of tweets can be seen here. And some more are posted here.

The blatantly racist tweets are obnoxious and awful, and the fact that they were so obviously written with the intent of being amusing –  ”Hey buddies, look at me mock someone based on the color of their skin” – makes the whole disgusting business seem almost conspiratorial. It also leads me to believe that those using social media, including myself, lead a far more sheltered existence than we previously imagined.

The majority of the people that you and I follow online and who follow you and I in return are likely to be of a similar mindset to our own. We interact with these people a great deal, so much in fact, that it’s entirely possible one subset of social media users could believe the expression of their racism to be amusing to all, while another could hardly imagine such sentiment existing at all.

However, a tsk tsking of online racism is like throwing a glass of water into the ocean. I’m completely fine with leaving those elements of our society far, far behind the rest of us as we attempt to socially evolve away from minds made of primordial mush.

What’s of note in this specific case is the more inherent tone of racism suggested by social media users who imagined Ahluwalia and Karim to be lacking in sports knowledge based solely on their skin color. That one would ignorantly assume another to be uninformed without a shred of evidence may be the least humorous bit of irony I’ve ever encountered.

What saddens me specifically is that these miscreants who would make such comments – subtle and overt – are representatives of sports fandom and culture, something over which I’m obsessed and of which I count myself a part. These people are the reason why sports fans are typically seen by the non-sporting set to be little more than the Australopithecus who slammed them into a locker in high school on his way to having sexual intercourse with all of the cheerleaders. And as far as stereotypes go, there is far more evidence to support this one than brown-skinned Canadians not knowing anything about hockey.

So, how can this type of behavior be assumed to be acceptable by its perpetrators? Well, it certainly doesn’t help matters that a senile xenophobe is allowed to race-bait on the nation’s highest-rated television spot during the weekly broadcast of our country’s pastime through the purposeful mispronunciation of foreign names and affecting an effeminate voice to imitate any argument against him.

The acceptance of Don Cherry’s racist rantings as “telling it like it is” creates a celebration among hockey viewers of “politically incorrect” statements. Unfortunately, “telling it like it is” is merely code for myopic viewpoint ahead. While yes, ignorantly spouting off harmful opinions with little basis in reality that contain subtle digs at anything other than Cherry’s idea of the normal might be politically incorrect, the complete and utter lack of satire or any enhancement of perspective doesn’t make it heroic or valuable.

Embracing the racist stereotypes promoted by the seventh “Greatest Canadian” only serves to further another stereotype: That of the meat-headed and moronic sports fan. If ignorantly assuming another to be uninformed without a shred of evidence is the least humorous bit of irony imaginable, furthering your own negative stereotype through the embracing of another may be a close runner up. It’s to the credit of TSN, Ahluwalia and Karim that they all so ably rise above such nonsense, even while those who would insult them drown in the loathsome sea of their racist rancor.

The obliviousness of Canadians to their continued acceptance of racism stares a great many of them right in the face every Saturday night.

Comments (93)

  1. True as a mixed Canadian this pisses me off beyond

  2. Totally ridiculous.

    Just out of curiosity (I don’t watch SportsCentre much), is it common for the hosts to rotate day-to-day? Was it just a coincidence that these two were the hosts?

    • They tend to stick to the usual suspects for their time slots and fill in vacation/weekends with random others.
      I.E. Jay and Dan tend to get the weekday mornings, etc.

  3. The only thing more tiring than your apparent idea that you have the need to call out any bit of “miscreant” activity you find on the net is how you generalize the whole country as the same type of people: Ignorant racists.

    • Parkes did no such thing. He simply pointed out the uncomfortable fact that too many Canadians seem willing to tolerate racism, or (worse) to pretend that we’re somehow past it. We’re not, as last night showed.

      • Read this line again:

        We’re a country of ignorant and stupid morons who discriminate against people with differences just like every other nation on earth.

        Stereotyping is only bad when others do it, apparently.

        • I’m sorry. I felt as though because the entirety of the piece was about stereotypes, I didn’t have to add a caveat that I was writing about a particular element every single time. I still believe you’d have to stretch thing fairly far to imagine I mean that every Canadian is an ignorant and stupid and discriminating moron. The element exists, and we pretend that it doesn’t was the point I was apparently failing to convey.

          • When you say “we” in that last sentence, who do you mean? You’ve shown about 12 ignorant tweets. You’ve also linked two stories denouncing it and wrote one yourself. Doesn’t seem like “we” are pretending a damn thing.

          • Maybe its the people who voted Don Cherry the seventh greatest Canadian. Read the article again if you’re having trouble.

          • How can you honestly accuse Grapes of being racist? Was he not just on coach’s corner the other weak gloating about Jordin Tootoo and how he is one of his favourite players? One of the few aboriginals in the NHL. Was he not supporting Evander Kane throughout the whole controversy of him holding wads of cash in Vegas? I would love to see you call Grapes a racist to his face. I think it would be hilarious to see a 80 year old slap you around.

          • Cherry is not really a racist so much as a xenophobe.

          • People make some racist jokes about brown SC hosts and it’s Don Cheery’s fault. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. Not only has Cherry gone to bat for Tootoo and Kane recently (as has been pointed out), but he’s been Kadri’s biggest fan for years.

          • I think folks like Voodoo_Matt are just proving your point. They feel like, because THEY don’t make racist statements, that any discussion of pervasive racism in Canadian society is intolerable: it’s only on the fringes of society that those racists can be found, and we shouldn’t talk about it any way else (or at all). Of course, the inherent defensiveness and desire to discredit anyone who brings the issue of racism (or ethnocentrism) up, is peculiar. If you’re not overtly racist yourself, great – yet why not champion the cause of anti-racism until it is truly eradicated from Canada? Probably because most of us (and I am referring to white Canadians here) all know that it still exists, and don’t want to have to change.

          • Thanks, yeah, I’m a bit exhausted at defending my position, but I was wondering the same thing about the “well, it wasn’t that bad” arguments, and how enraged the dissenting opinions are. I got a tweet last night calling me everything that’s wrong with blogging/journalism/etc. I’m offering an opinion and a bit of commentary to support that opinion. I’m completely open to disagreeing, but a lot of the “it couldn’t possibly exist” seems to prove my point of acceptance to racism.

          • Id just like to comment on how much Grapes supports Nazim Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs and all throughout his career and, Kadri in case you don’t know is a man with brown skin. Grapes is far from a racist.

        • Exactly. If saying we’re a country of ignorant racists isn’t poor generalizing in your eyes, you need to open them.

          • The Cherry supports Dark-Skinned Player A excuse is right up there with “I have plenty of black friends.” Anyone who read this as Parkes saying everyone in Canada is a racist is doing so purposely to avoid what Parkes is really saying: A good portion of Canadians are more accepting of racism than they want to admit. The fact that you’re arguing so angrily against this thesis helps support it.

  4. The next person to show me how what Don Cherry says is racist will be the first.

    Xenophobic? Maybe. Probably. But racist? Nope

    • Agree 100 per cent.

    • Oh well I guess that’s ok then…

    • Racism and xenophobia are not two separate categories. They cross at several synonymous points. I think you could make a fairly easy argument that Cherry’s pro-Canadian stances combined with anti-Russian stances are rooted in racism. “He’s a tough guy.” “He’s a softy.” I’m sure that inherent racism has been at work in criticisms of P.K. Subban as well.

      • Don Cherry saying he prefers a North American style of play is about as far from racist as it gets. I hate how often the term “racist” is just tossed around these days. Fits right at home with this generalization of an article….

  5. “We’re a country of ignorant and stupid morons who discriminate against people with differences just like every other nation on earth.”

    Exactly. I think it’s good to be reminded of that every once in a while.

  6. It’s not just the racism. You also implicitly, whether intentionally or not, draw attention to the sexism/misogynism that is all too prevalent. It seems the two go hand in hand with some sports fans.

    I actually think they do not believe it is good behaviour. Anytime it is pointed out to them they immediately make excuses or become very defensive.

    • Ill bite….what sexism is present in sports?

      • I hope this is a sarcastic comment. Surely you are aware of how difficult it is to be a female near sports, whether it be as a fan, a career or *gasp* a player?

  7. Calling Canada a nation of arrogant, ignorant racists based on some dipshits on Twitter rings false to me. Canada obviously isn’t some sort of post-racial paradise, but totally racist it is not. At the risk of further generalizing though, I wonder how many of these tweeters reside in urban areas and surrounding suburbs where one typically finds a significant immigrant population. The few I’ve looked at seem to be located more rurally.

    But yes, as a sports fan, it’s really fucking annoying to have to be lumped in with other shitty, ignorant, moronic, racist sports fans that rear their ugly heads on Twitter.

    • Statistics show that there’s actually stronger support for immigration and cultural diversity among more homogeneous communities in Canada than those in very diverse communities.

      As someone who’s grew up in one of those diverse communities, I can tell you that comments or jokes about race are extremely common. If anything, people learn to be discrete. How to foster racial tolerance is a lot more complicated than simple exposure.

    • I think Parkes supplies enough evidence to not base his claim mainly on the dipshits. He’s saying that the dipshits exist because we allow them to exist. Heck, we celebrate a dipshit and tune in to hear what he has to say every Saturday.

    • Calling the US racist is just as crazy. Canadians try and act superior when comparjng themselves to others about immigration.

      They say that Canada allows immigrants to b themselves while the Us encourages them to be part of the melting pot.
      I would argue that integrating minorities makes them l part of the countries can still be indian, hispanic, chinese, eastern european and still be how racist is the United states when the have 20 million illegal immigrants in the country for many years.they school them offrr welfare and medical care.
      Both countries are very accomodating. But America has a biracial president and have two east indian Governors so any disapparaging remarks is displaced.

  8. Great piece Parkes. I look forward to a day when we don’t have to read or write about this shit, if that day ever comes.

  9. Plus One.


  10. Great piece Parkes.

  11. So what you are saying is that people that watch sports are more likely to be uneducated and bigoted… If the tweets ignorant people post are used as the measuring stick for our countries “Racism Scale” maybe we have a bigger problem than we realize.

  12. country of 30+ million people is not perfect???

    what a ground breaking, prolific thesis, by a white knight who has come to save us with his literary genius, on a high horse.

    Everyone here can take the high road as much as you want, mostly because you’re white and trying to hide your own discriminate ways, but if 2 white guys ended up on an indian sports channel talking about cricket, there would be similar outrage, or twitter jokes.

    actually scratch that because, white people are the only people who have to conform, because somehow we’re all linked by to outrageous leaders of britains monarchy, so we should all have to pay for the sins of our forefathers, even if we aren’t of british decent. who’s the racist now?

    • You do know what Caucasian broadcasters regularly commenate and analyze the IPL cricket league in India…

      • Whoa… profound thoughts dude…
        It’s sort of like how it’s so hilarious when a black guy talks about hockey. You know, because the idea of a black guy playing hockey is so absurd because hockey is a ‘white man’s game’. Whoa, does that make me sound like a racist? Cause you sure fucking do.

    • Did you just imply that TSN is a white channel?

    • Cricket is played by Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, and a ton of other countries. There are plenty of times you have 2 white ex-players commentating on an Indian broadcast. No one thinks anything of it

  13. Anyone who followed Idle No More knows racism is alive and well in Canada.
    Ezra Levant, Don Cherry, Kevin O ‘Leary… this country has real problems.

    • Agreed. The anti first nation racism is if anything more horrendous, because it seems more ‘socially acceptable’. The racist TSN tweets were met with a swift deluge of condemnation, and many of the tweeters quickly apologised. The deluge of hate against the Idle No More people and Chief Spence went largely unchallenged.

  14. Stop whining so much, most of the top tier funniest comics in the world do racial humor and while some tweets may just be ignorance most appear to be in jest. I dont consider myself to be racist or discriminatory but i can find humor in silly stereotypes. Politically correct soapbox heroes like you are just awful to listen too wish i could get my 2 mins back and not have read this drivel.

    • “I dont consider myself to be racist or discriminatory but i can find humor in silly stereotypes.”

      Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude. But your post says you ARE racist and discriminatory. If you find that sh*t funny and don’t see the damage it causes, you’re part of the problem.

  15. Your point is valid ,however to go after Grapes as the culprit due to his rants on HNIC is a stretch.

    Free country and people have the right to post opinions/jokes … -right or wrong

    • Free speech has nothing to do with being protected from criticism. The allegedly racist tweets are perfectly acceptable, and it is perfectly acceptable for people like Parkes to give them shit about it.

    • Frankly, I feel no urge to ‘go after Grapes’ for his xenophobic, homophobic, racist rants. He’s a crazy old coot who hasn’t had anything worth saying for years. His job is to be a troll who tries to rile people up into a frenzy, and he’s damn good at it.

      My complaint is that our national broadcaster, which lives and dies on the taxpayer subsidies that are afforded it by our Federal governments (and to lesser extents, our Provincial, and Territorial governments), would grant a soapbox to someone like Cherry. Someone whose projected worldview and understanding of the Canadian makeup is caught in the 1960′s (if not earlier), and who routinely says inflammatory and insensitive comments that are hurtful, if not hateful, to people of other races, nationalities and creeds should not be given a 10 minute pulpit to deliver their sermon during the most-watched weekly broadcast of our public broadcaster.

      It’s a blight on Canada that Cherry gets that opportunity, and that the CBC is complicit in his bigotry by condoning what he says, time and again.

      • Please find me one homophobic or racist thing Don Cherry has ever said.

        Ill give you a year.

        • This took seconds.

          Possibly racially motivated hypocrisy?

          Talking about not wanting europeans on the Ice dogs:
          “They call me a racist because I don’t want any Europeans coming to play for my Ice Dogs. If a kid comes over here and becomes a Canadian, I’ll put him on in a minute. But I will not parachute him in so that he can grab the money and run.”

          Talking about the CFL
          “The best thing about this game, there’s no Russians or Swedes playing.”

          Can’t decide where this qualifies, ignorantly tolerant?

          On his real thoughts about immigrants to Canada:
          “When I come into an airport at 2am, guess who takes my ticket? They work hard, and they’re alright in my book.”

          If you don’t think him using the ‘pansy’ voice for any dissenting opinion isn’t homophobic I don’t know what to tell ya.

          Not hard to find lots of references and not the words of someone who should be one of the faces of our national network. Let him go and let the Sun News Network pick him up,. They’re the ones trying to bully the CRTC to force all carriers to make us pay for a network we don’t want, he’ll fit in perfectly and can whine there about pinko liberals all he wants.

    • If the most that can be said in favour of Don Cherry’s opinions is that he cannot be legally arrested and charged over them then he probably ought not be put on the pedestal that he is.

  16. Doesn’t surprise me at all, racism is pretty natural.

    Most of human history consists of one tribe wiping out another.

    Societal conditioning has been shown to weaken it, but tribalism is much stronger in some than others and no amount of societal conditioning will change that.

    I’ve even read a study showing new born babies show preference to babies of similar appearance.

    • Read up on those baby studies. They have been debunked, many times now, and the journals who published them has apologized.

  17. A strange sort of arrogance? Really? How is it any different from the American sense of superiority over everyone or even that of other countries like Great Britain. Go to Asia and you see it there too. You think Hispanics or those of middle eastern decent get picked on here in North America, ask a Filipino what it’s like working in other Asian countries. I’ve traveled a fair bit in Europe and in Asia and believe me you’ll find it everywhere you go along with racism too. It’s far less a regional thing and more of basic human flaw than anything else. As others have pointed out already I find it silly that you make the same mistake of those that you are ranting about by lumping everyone else in with those posting the racist tweets. Generalization of that sort is a failed opener for any argument. You were better off attacking the tweeters and leaving the rest of Canada out of it.

    • I think Parke’s point had to do with the self-perception of Canada as extremely not racist when Canadians are as racist as everybody else.

      • Indeed I got that part fine but he said it was a “strange sort of arrogance” like it’s uncommon to other cultures. In my opinion that is in fact not the case at all. What person or country actually thinks they are a bunch of collective racists? The exact opposite is usually the standard belief. Most countries think their culture and people are the epitome of class and enlightened thinking.

        • I think Canada is different because multiculturalism has become such a powerful aspect of the modern Canadian identity.

          • While I agree that multiculturalism certainly has become a powerful part of our identity I really don’t think it’s all that different than how other countries see themselves when it comes to their views on racism or cultural equality. We simply have an overt term for it in cultural mosaic or multiculturalism while the American’s have their own in melting pot. While there are differences in the two, the fact is both are about equality at their core.

  18. As a brown skinned man that has been discriminated against more than a few times over the course of my life in the GTA, I am saddened to see the number of posts writing this issue off as irrelevant.

    Just because Parkes chose to make a bad generalization about Canada doesn’t mean it’s ok to ignore the people that spout racist crap every chance they get. The issue here is that racism is present and very visible here in Canada despite what we like to tell ourselves.

    This is sports for fuck’s sake. Why the hell does someone’s skin colour matter?

  19. Well written piece, and much of it true. Don Cherry’s elevation to some sort of national hero is an embarrasment (or should be) to all of us. However, your line “We’re a country of ……” is wrong, and insulting. It is as true as saying We are a country of hockey fans, or a country of bicycle riders, or a country of pot smokers, or a country of short people. How dare you say “we are a country of ignorant and stupid morons …..” when , in fact, only a minority are.

  20. Give it a rest my friend.

    You are being just as ignorant. Just because you aren’t being ignorant based on race doesn’t mean you aren’t ignorant. You are lumping all Canadians together. So its not okay to make general statements based on race (which i agree with)… but in your opinion its okay for you to make general statements based on nationality. The point you are trying to argue against is the same point you are making.

    Furthermore… to think all those tweets are racist is ignorant as well. Sure it is a joke in poor taste but to say all these people are racist….

    Between Gurdeep and Nabil they have not played 1 second of competitive hockey. Do not take this as a racial comment – However when I watch two “analysts” on anything… I prefer it when they have some sort of experience in the field in which they analyse.

    P.S. Don Cherry is the man. People make it their business to get offended these days. Easy solution. Don’t watch CBC if you don’t want to hear him…

    • Hockey isn’t the only sport around…

    • They haven’t played one second of competitive hockey? What counts as competitive hockey? Do you think every other person hosting sportscenter has played ‘competitive hockey’? Please tell me about the extensive NHL careers of James Duthie and Jennifer Hedger. Your whole point is irrelevant anyways because they aren’t analyzing shit – they are doing highlights because its SPORTSCENTER.
      Do you really think Parkes called every single person in Canada a racist?
      You think Don Cherry is the man? God have mercy on your soul. Have you ever noticed how he is wrong about everything?

  21. Is Don Cherry racisct? Or do his prejudices fall along every other country being less than Canada? I’m not sure I’ve heard him be racist before.

  22. Though I largely agree with your premise, Dustin, I’m not sure if Don Cherry is clear evidence of rampant racism amongst Canadians. Our culture of letting implicit racism unfettered, such as the disturbing amount of articles about Nazem Kadri’s Muslim heritage when he was drafted, presents more of a problem in journalism.

    Judging by the amount of negativity and outright dismissal of Don Cherry’s views about matters outside of hockey, I’m not sure the biased and network skewed Greatest Canadian vote proves that Canadians fully endorse the man.

    • Unfortunately, I think Parkes has taken Cherry’s continued popularity as a proxy for Canadian’s views in general on the subject.

      • Right. Xenophobia and the “white male” privilege is the real issue here, which Nate Seager pointed out in his article. Of course, not to take anything away from Dustin from an otherwise solid take on the subject in hand.

  23. Great article and I agree almost 100%. I also believe that Canadian’s have this false sense that were are above racism or that we are so much more accepting of people of different colours. Its the same bullshit that gets spewed when some of us talk about slavery and how Canadians weren’t nearly that implicit in it. As a country we have this identity of being accepting but in reality, there are millions who are not like that. Now I am not even counting those who are explicitly racist, but those who also find it acceptable to make racial epithets or jokes and brush off anyone who condemns them as being “overly PC,” as though being politically correct is a negative thing. And this happens ALL THE TIME. Its like people think wanting to follow a set of rules that stop people from making insensitive jokes is a bad thing. And this may be directly attributed to the fact that they don’t understand the connotations of what they say or that they just cannot relate having never having to feel the effects of racism or xenophobia. Either way this has become a huge issue and one that needs to be fixed.

    Secondly, I wouldn’t call Don Cherry racist. He loves Nazem Kadri and Jordin Tootoo. However, he is a xenophobe and if you aren’t Canadian or don’t want to be Canadian he takes issue. Xenophobia is no better than racism. Its just a way to hide your insecurities as a person that you believe your defining quality in life is where you were born, as in the complete fucking randomness of such an event really makes you better. This is bullshit. I am a third generation half black half caucasian Canadian and am extremely proud of where I live and was born. However, to think less of other people for being born a few hundred KM south in the USA is a stupid reason to think I am in someway superior, or to look at my half brother who is a citizen of Barbados as being somehow less of a person is completely idiotic. Borders as a whole are just restrictive measures that stop us a species from being able to get along or be compassionate with one another. An example of this is Mexico and the USA. If someone in the USA is having a troubled time, people will sympathize, however, if a Mexican jumps the fence without the proper papers in an attempt to get a better life, the same people want to hunt them down, throw them and their family out, and send them back to a place where they can live out their days in poverty, all because they weren’t born in the right place. This is sickening.

    Thirdly, as direct proof that Canada isn’t the amazingly accepting country we think it is, look at Jason Kenney, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. The man wants to deny refugees from certain countries that he labels “safe.” Apparently, he knows the inner workings of every country and if your country is “safe” then you shouldn’t fear for your safety and therefore should not be allowed in Canada. Well, as an example a man applying for citizenship from the Czech Republic could be denied because it is safe. However, the man could be in legitimate danger because he is a Roma and the old communist blocs have several communities that hurt Roma. But our government wouldn’t accept them because their case isn’t legitimate….

  24. Don chery is racist and a bigot

  25. If you’re going to get picky about Canadian spelling, might as well spell ‘behaviour’ correctly.

    • He used the American spelling throughout, as he’s almost always done, going back to his previous work. What’s the issue?

  26. What you all really need to be asking yourselves is:

    “Is Dustin Parkes really the person who is most qualified to address racism in Canada, or is he just a sports journalist bringing the issues to the forefront with his opinion strapped on?”

    The answer to that question makes this entire comments section look reallllyyy ridiculous.

    • I think Parkes would be the first to agree with this. He wrote something similar in an introduction that this blog would try to bring up important issues through sports and offer commentary to bring up more questions. I’d say that given the comments, he’s succeeded.

  27. I agree with every word of this article, but I don’t think it’s right to demonize Cherry and bring him into this argument which has absolutely nothing to do with him. You make it sound like Cherry encourages such behaviour when I don’t see that as the case at all. Sure, Cherry has said some pretty loaded statements about Europeans and Quebeckers, but to suggest that Cherry espouses racist beliefs? I don’t think that’s right or true at all. Often times when Cherry is “telling it like it is” he’s not making social commentary at all, but rather, he’s making poignant hockey comments that have nothing to do with race or creed.

  28. I think bringing morality into professional sports is a slippery slope; Concussions in hockey and (especially) football, multi-million dollar salaries for players, tax breaks for billionaire owners, the amount of attention devoted by sports fans to our teams (myself included) in lieu of other opportunities…. there are many reasons for us to stop and consider just how okay with professional sports.

  29. As Canadians we love to talk about how Americans are incredibly racist, and closed minded toward other cultures.

    As Canadians we are no different than Americans when it comes to these viewpoints.

    The loudest most ignorant fuckers are those who are heard by the rest of us, and it doesn’t matter which side of the border you live on, this is the case with both Canadians and Americans.

    As Canadians we collectively need to realize this, move past it, and do something to help remedy the situation.

    People like to say that racism is going away, but in my opinion it isnt, i feel like its actually getting worse. Call it what you want; racism, xenophone, whatever, its a case of “same shit, different pile” and it needs to stop.

    Upper-Middle Class White Calgarian

  30. From


    1. a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.
    2. a population so related.
    3. Anthropology .
    a. any of the traditional divisions of humankind, the commonest being the caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negro, characterized by supposedly distinctive and universal physical characteristics: no longer in technical use.
    b. an arbitrary classification of modern humans, sometimes, especially formerly, based on any or a combination of various physical characteristics, as skin color, facial form, or eye shape, and now frequently based on such genetic markers as blood groups.
    c. a human population partially isolated reproductively from other populations, whose members share a greater degree of physical and genetic similarity with one another than with other humans.
    4. a group of tribes or peoples forming an ethnic stock: the Slavic race.
    5. any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.: the Dutch race.

    • Based on this definition, which seems reasonable to me, it’s pretty clear to say things like “I’d prefer there were more Canadian players on the Canucks, or fewer black players on the yankees, or more French Canadians on the Habs is essentially the same thing. You are expressing an opinion that is based on a perceived superiority or inferiority of a group of persons related by common descent or heredity. You are suggesting a preference towards a group of people that are united by a common history, language, cultural traits, etc.

      This is racism.

      The fact that this is a bad word that we can all point to other parts of the world and call them racists without facing the reality in our own backyard. Parkes isn’t trying to call every Canadian a racist or a bigot. He’s trying to tell us to come down off of our high horse: we can be pretty bloody racist, too.

      The strong counter-argument to what Parkes is suggesting demonstrates underlying racism across the country – namely that these ignorant idiots exist and prove that we aren’t some utopian post-racism country so we should top acting like we live in a multicultural haven – is the response on Twitter to these idiots. The mere fact that there was overwhelming pressure placed on the original tweeters to recant their off-putting message demonstrates that in fact we are vigilant and active in chastising those who cross what we have defined as boundaries in terms of acceptable speech. The poor taste, ignorant jokes were called out for what they are. This shows our willingness to evolve, to progress as a society, and to even educate the ignorant among us of the inappropriateness of their ways.

      There is hope for us yet.

      • Actually, the vast majority of social psychologists, sociologists, cultural anthropologists, human systems behaviorists all agree, racism is not just a random word here or there, or even just a preference…it is a cultural ideology. It’s embedded into the psycho-social ontological fabric of European cum white reality. It’s in everything, it’s in the bloody air as a thought.

        Once people understand what it really means when we say “racism” there will be profound changes. Until society gets to that point of understanding, white canadians will continue to be as racist as they are and have the capacity to continue to defend the morally indefensible.

  31. Dustin Parkes, I hope Don Cherry sues you over this drivel.

  32. “While yes, ignorantly spouting off harmful opinions with little basis in reality that contain subtle digs at anything other than Cherry’s idea of the normal might be politically incorrect, the complete and utter lack of satire or any enhancement of perspective doesn’t make it heroic or valuable.”

    A Good Article

  33. Not a bad article. I believe the general theme to be correct. It could have benefited from some editing or a re-write to fine-tune some of the language and tighten up some of the ideas being expressed. Compared to most sports opinion pieces it gets a well deserved passing grade.

  34. If Don Cherry is the champion for the ignorant masses within Canadian society, then I feel like we’ve progressed since the 1990s. Cherry has made enough money in broadcasting that he could retire to life of comfort at any time. Every year he’s on the air, I feel like he’s got increased ‘I don’t give a fuck’ freedom to say whatever the fuck he wants regardless of the CBC’s likely increased efforts to make him multicultural-friendly. So I feel like Cherry’s xenophobic rants becoming less common and more reserved are a good measurement of ignorance in our country.

    Sure, it still exists and in large numbers, but it has been pushed away from our eyes. Does that mean that we have become more tolerant as a society or have we simply pushed the ignorant underground? I don’t know. I’m an optimist and would like to believe that we have become more tolerant (the twitter backlash at the offenders makes me think I’m right) but there is obviously plenty of work left to do until we can all hold hands and love each other.

    I think we’re moving in the right direction and if there are hiccups at this point, they’re not on the level of the far-right parties of Europe and I don’t think they ever will be. We should be vigilant to confront prejudice when it creeps out of the woods but I don’t think it’s quite as dire as Parkes portrays in this article. But that’s a good thing and posts like his remind us to ensure we keep moving in the right direction. Canada is ahead of the curve and we should be proud of that. We’re not perfect, but we’re trying.

    As for Cherry, I think you’d only rally the racists if you had him removed from Hockey Night in Canada. The CBC would also be broke if not for the revenue generated by their Saturday night hockey and would be unable to produce quality content that promotes tolerance. Unfortunately, I feel like Cherry is the only thing that keeps the CBC involved in hockey broadcasting.

    Keep the pressure on him to keep his act clean and if he’s really not softening on the inside, he’ll snap and say something so inexcusable that the ceebs won’t be able to continue carrying him. Otherwise, he’ll serve as a representative of the ignorant getting better and a rallying point for the tolerant.

  35. I’m a Canadian who has been living in the US for the last 14 years. There are four states that I haven’t been to. That means two things: 1) I may be out of touch with changes that have occurred in Canada 2) I can tell you the similarities and differences between Canadian racism and what goes on in the US. There is a stark difference. Go spend some time in the south. I read the tweets. For the most part, I think they were pretty benign and had the Canadian undertone of humour that I miss. There was an opportunity for some jokes and some jumped on that opportunity. Indians reporting about hockey… come on, it’s funny, laugh a little. Stereotype does not equal racism. Do you know how many hockey jokes and ‘eh?’ jokes I constantly hear down here? If I here one more Dydley Do-right joke, I’m gonna snap. But, the point is, it’s meant in fun. I’m an engineering manager and 4 of 8 of my engineers are Indian, one of them Canadian. They think it’s funny, too. I won’t say that anyone is wrong for feeling offended. I’m just saying that, speaking for myself, maybe this is being taken a little too seriously.

  36. Im guessing that you are a relatively new immigrant to canada.

    Insulting don cherry. Why, did he hit a soft spot with his hard comments?

    Like the rest if u dont like it, go home!

  37. By the way i change to sportsnet anytime nabil karim is reading the sports highlights.

    He is a terrible anchor to begin with and his appearance is only to draw indian viewers.

  38. This is yet another example of the squeaky wheel complex. I am a white Canadian. I have lived in Canada, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, and Colombia. The Caucasians of our country are no more racist than any of the countries I have lived in but Canada’s racism towards Caucasians far surpasses that of any of the countries I have lived in. We were one of the countries that pressed hardest for racial and gender equality, but we pushed so hard for it that we made it acceptable for other races to exploit our policies and get away clean with racism towards Whites. It is seen as okay for a white man to be called a cracker or to not be hired in a Chinese-owned mine simply because they’re white.

    In Surrey there is the Indo-Canadian Summer Soccer Association which allows no more than 4 white players on each team. They play on tax funded soccer fields and are subsidized by the government. If a White-Canadian Summer Soccer Association was started it would be immediately shut down and criticized nationwide.

    We have made a double standard in this country and I am going to be called a racist for even posting this. It is only racist if it is done or said by a white. It’s because of the paranoia the government lives with, thinking that if we don’t give minorities what they want they won’t get re-elected. “THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE,” right? Well it’s about time those wheels stop squeaking because they have more grease than the majority. Equality doesn’t exist because of this civil right-based greed.

    Millions of Canadians post daily about their grievances with whites, but when one white posts their grievances with a minority they are flamed.

    • You have hit the nail hard on the head John. As you will guess on reading further, I am a brown-skinned (by your standards) Indian, my skin does have its advantages, no body can accuse me of being a racist that easily ;). Most of what I am saying could be politically incorrect by our standards back home. If I have unruffled some feathers (I am sure I will by the end of my post) it was not intentional. And no apologies whatsoever since this is the plain truth as I have known it.

      Most communities in India have a color grading system which grades the human skin from fair to dark. The grading can be very subjective. There is also a “medium/wheatish complexion” for those stuck in between; mind you the wheat can get really dark around here. The bulk of marriages here are still conducted as arranged marriages via traditional match-making mechanisms between two families. The so called matrimonial ads for prospective bride or groom sound like “looking for slim, fair, good looking match for [caste/subcaste..] boy [height/skin-color/ age/ quals etc.. etc..]“. Here “fair” refers to the complexion of the skin. We also have “fairness” creams for men now named “fair and handsome” which in plain words promises to make your face (skin) whiter. Fairness creams for the fairer sex was existing since ages. Even the darkest-skinned boys prefer fair skinned dames. When I was in college, my darkest-skinned colleagues were the butt of sick jokes. No body considered it racist then and nobody really bothers about it now, notwithstanding the hurt it causes. In popular media like movies, dark skinned jokes “kallu” or “kalia” is common. These movies don’t have to worry at all about getting past the Indian Film censorship. Why ? Because racism doesn’t exist here..we are a diverse and colorful race..ha ha. There is no black and white here; simply numerous discriminating shades of gray !

      Sometimes when a person with the so called racist prejudices and warped thinking moves from here into a westernized setup for the first time, he may expect to be treated like a first among equals (many a times in spite of woefully inadequate social skills complemented with a terrible attitude) by those already there for a long time; just because he appears (in his own opinion) more qualified on paper and/or can speak a western language fluently.The same person will still look down upon an immigrant say from an African country like Ghana whom he perceives as inferior.

      I know a person who did did Masters from US and ultimately settled down there. He came down home on a visit and I could sense that he already considered the fresh immigrants from India as inferior and uncultured. He would refer to them as “Desis”; he would rant about uncouth “Gujjus” (from the Indian state of Gujarat) and smelly and stingy “Gults” (from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh) and suggested that the US immigration should be very strict about whom they allow. He also sounded worried about the the blacks whom he authoritatively certified as a criminal race.

      He himself was quite dark-skinned by the local standards but “selected” the fairest-skinned bride that his “profile” could get fetch within his own community; it was an arranged marriage. Recently he came back again to perform some religious ceremony for his 6 month old baby (the baby was born abroad and is a US citizen) and he was sulking about the cold/indifferent treatment he received at the hands of a white air-hostess on-flight in spite of carrying his baby along. It seems that she wasn’t as friendly with him as she was with his white co-passengers. On the other hand he was boasting that his baby was as fair-skinned as his wife was. I couldn’t help laughing ! If this gentleman will not treat his own kind as equals, what right does he have expect to be treated as an equal by members of another kind.

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  40. Canada is not ahead of the curve when it comes to racial civility. With only one border it very often exchanges taunts with it southern neighbour. If Canada had more borders and they were with more dissimilar societies it would find it self confronted with the world that other countries with feet closer to the fire have to put up with. Canadian bragging about being a multicultural and tolerant society is just hot air and bullshit self importance. I have seen and experienced a lot of racism in this country. We are no better here. I got used to the Don Cheery bigotry years ago. There are so many rednecks, white necks and brown necks who adore him who would punch me out just for criticizing the guy..

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