Who can/can’t say what
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