Saturday, August 18, 2007

Local paper apologizes for racial slur

Nerene Virgin, the former kid's show host (Today's Special) and CBC journalist is hopping mad after the group of local "community" papers here in Hamilton ran a column using a certain racial slur made famous by the long-suppressed Disney film Song of the South. (Maybe "hopping" isn't quite the word I want to use -- the line comes from an argument between Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox.) The columnist, who was arguing against Dalton McGuinty appointing her to the district, is pleading ignorance.

I don't buy it -- any more than I buy the story the college student who "wasn't" aware of a slur used to demean North American Indians.

After reading the item I can understand more why Disney has been so reluctant to release SOTS on DVD in North America -- although I do think it should be, it remains to this day an artistic masterpiece and should not be subject to the victimization of political correctness even if it is racially incindiary.

That's no excuse, however, for someone to use that expression in the real world -- especially against someone as accomplished as Virgin. Note too, that the Hamilton Community Newspaper Group only publishes on the "Mountain" and the suburbs; conveniently it misses a fair chunk of the inner city that happens to fall into the district where Virgin is running as a Liberal candidate in the upcoming provincial election. That inner city portion has a more racially diverse population than in the areas where the papers are distributed -- and one of those areas is also part of the same district.

Interesting. Did the paper think it was going to be not read by those who wouldn't notice or pay attention? This is their most grevious fault since another columnist from long ago -- in fact their then editor -- made Desmond Tutu's name rhyme with the sound trains make in cartoons. (This was during the apartheid era, in a clumsy attempt to argue why Canada should not have imposed sanctions against South Africa.)

While she may not have wanted it, Virgin has suddenly gotten a lot of publicity again and likely the election. And in his attempt to argue against the appointment process (which I agree is wrong, there should be an open caucus or primary vote among party members in the district to name the candidate) the columnist completely undermined his point.

And ... I might add ... added fuel to the argument we need proportional representation.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a story is not as simple as one might think. Really, why would a newspaper go racial on a candidate? What is the gain? Was Virgin really appointed? Was she really parachuted from Toronto? Maybe before the 2011 election people should read this: Be sure to have a look at the first comment.