Who can/can’t say what

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - GLOBE FOCUS -

It seems Steve Ladu­ran­taye was re­moved from what must have been a dream job as man­ag­ing edi­tor of CBC’s The Na­tional be­cause he had an opin­ion and he ex­pressed it (CBC Edi­tor Re­as­signed Af­ter Cul­tural Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Blun­der, May 18).

No doubt Mr. Ladu­ran­taye is in­tel­li­gent enough to know that when his role is “re­assessed” in the fall, his job prospects will de­pend on his hold­ing only those opin­ions that blend seam­lessly with the group-think that sur­rounds him. The essence of Mao’s re-education camps is alive and thriv­ing in the heart of the CBC. – Jeff Fairless, Kanata, Ont. We en­joy the ben­e­fits of many rights in this coun­try. Whether we should act on those rights is an­other mat­ter (The Con­ver­sa­tion About Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Is Im­por­tant, But It’s Also Fraught With Irony, May 16). We have the right not to give up our seats on a crowded bus to an el­derly per­son. We have the right to talk on our phones in a crowded place. At least for men, we have the right to walk around down­town with no shirt on.

Writ­ers have every right to speak in the voice of a com­mu­nity of which they are not a mem­ber. A straight writer can in­ter­pret the life of a gay char­ac­ter. Black speaks as white and white speaks as black. It has al­ways been this way. No big deal.

Now, it seems that a non-na­tive writer, or artist for that mat­ter, can­not write or paint from the per­spec­tive of the First Na­tions com­mu­nity with­out be­ing open to crit­i­cism or, in the case of the painter, hav­ing her ex­hi­bi­tion yanked from a stu­dio. We have hit a nerve. Per­haps, at least in this in­stance, a lit­tle sen­si­tiv­ity is in or­der. Given this coun­try’s his­tory with its First Na­tions peo­ples, is it too much to ask the arts com­mu­nity to give up their seats on the bus, stop talk­ing on the phone and put their shirts on when it comes to their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the lives of In­dige­nous peo­ples?

Just be­cause you can does not mean you should. – Mike Win­ward, Hamil­ton

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