Monday, October 01, 2012

Use and abuse of history

Last week in the Toronto Star Rick Salutin, who is white and interested in Canada's past, pondered the anglophilic gestures the Canadian government has been making lately.  "There are few votes in anglophilia," he guesses, and he ventures a possible explanation:
There may be actual nostalgia too, but less for Britannia than for an earlier Canada that seemed to belong to white guys (leaving aside those folks in Quebec and the native ones) in those days. The more irretrievably the former Canada appears to be slipping away, the keener is that nostalgic yearning. Ian McKay and Jamie Swift write, “The application of ‘royal’ to institutions left and right may seem comical, but one would be ill-advised to minimize the extent to which the British sovereign is a deeply meaningful symbol of whiteness, hierarchy and authoritarian rule. 
Kelly McParland, who contributes to the National Post, thereupon reframes this as:
If I’m white, and I’m interested in Canada’s past, I must be a racist who hankers after the good old days when I could abuse natives, discriminate against gays and treat women like dirt.
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