What is Winnipeg?

FortGarryToday we spoke at great length as to what was and is Winnipeg on both 1919 and 2015. If you can, reflect on our discussion today, the articles of the past week, including the infamous MacLean’s Magazine article, and your knowledge of the Winnipeg General Strike.

How has Winnipeg stayed the same? What issues does Winnipeg face? What are potential solutions?

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6 thoughts on “What is Winnipeg?

  1. Canada – especially Winnipeg – is a highly progressive and multicultural city for me. When I moved to Winnipeg in September 2014, I felt warmly welcomed and accepted by the city´s inhabitants. I therefore was shocked to read about the MacLean´s Magazine article, which declares Winnipeg to be the most racist city of Canada.
    I, as a German girl, was well accepted in Winnipeg, although I´m an immigrant.
    But why is there such a huge discrimination against Aboriginals, as the mentioned article claims?
    The problem seems to be a social conflict between Canadian and aboriginal people. During the past years many newspapers reported on aboriginal people´s life and difficulties in our modern society. Also in Winnipeg many sad incidents occurred. A Kelvin High School teacher posted controversial statements about Aboriginals on Facebook, a teenage aboriginal girl was found after she had been beaten, another aboriginal girl was found dead in the Red River and an aboriginal man died in a hospital emergency room after waiting there 34 hours…
    All these events are referred to discrimination against Aboriginals and Winnipeg admits their racism. However, not all of these incidents necessarily happened because of discrimination.

    People nowadays have many prejudices against Aboriginals. These developed from indigenous stereotypes of our society. There are warnings of Aboriginals who come out from prison. They were sentenced because of sexual abuse or thievery. When you drive through Winnipeg downtown you often see homeless and drunken aboriginal people and when I go to school aboriginal children are walking alone along the streets crying.
    Because we often see such situations we think that this behaviour refers to every Aboriginal. But this is definitely not the truth…

    We need to confront ourselves with the past, present and future!
    In 1869 Louis Riel fought for Métis rights and helped to achieve equality between all races. Also during the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 immigrants and people from all over the world, who had the same opinion concerning fair labour, fought together and supported each other regardless of their race.

    So why does discrimination arise in the 20th century? How can we work against it?

    Nowadays Winnipeg faces racist issues. Canadian people prejudice Aboriginals and Aboriginals feel discriminated very quickly. To prevent discrimination we need to refresh our minds. When we meet new people we should focus on their positive characteristics. Most people only want to see the bad parts of people. But when we would be more open-minded and would ignore negative aspects of foreign races, we could work on a peaceful living together where everybody is equal, accepted, all with the same human values!

  2. Racism is undeniably a problem in Winnipeg, as it is, all over the world. Many of the articles that we read in class explained how people felt about Winnipeg’s new standing as the most racist city in Canada and what their responses were. Rather than determining what the most racist province or city is and how we feel about it, why don’t we treat all racism as an inexcusable problem? Why do we have to be labeled as the worst city, in order to have a discussion about the impact of racism? For the victims, it doesn’t matter whether or not they live in the most or least racist city. What matters is that they can’t walk on the streets everyday without being harassed and judged.

    I think that part of the reason why Aboriginals are discriminated is because the topic is so uncomfortable that it rarely gets raised. Part of that is guilt. We can see Aboriginals in Winnipeg living a poorer quality of life than us and even though we try not to, sometimes we give them judgment based on what we assume is their background is, rather than on who they are as a person. When that happens, we feel guilty and that makes their issues difficult to discuss. It’s a hard problem to fix because the mentality of Canadians has to change, but if we could find ways to give Aboriginals more status (giving them more access to schools and post-secondary education etc.) this would gradually have an impact.

  3. When I think of Winnipeg, I think of a place full of polite, well mannered people who over use the word “thank you.” The term “racist” does not immediately pop into my mind but taking into account the articles that we have read during the past few weeks, and the class discussions that took place today, I could see how people would consider Winnipeg a racist city. Since the General Strike in 1919, Winnipeg continues to struggle with racism towards First Nations. We continue to face this problem due to the fact that we have people in this city who don’t use filters. These people feel entitled to saying whatever comes to mind because they think they have the right to do so. They do this because in some cases, the Aboriginals we see on the streets reinforce this stigma. It’s no lie that we don’t see this, but it would be a lie to say that Aboriginal people are the only ones doing this. Therefor, many people become immune to the use of inappropriate language because they use it, their friends and colleagues use it, and they see people who are examples of this stereotype on the street.
    A solution to this could be an Aboriginal awareness training. They do this at Manitoba Hydro which benefits both sides. Another solution would be that people need to become more aware of what they are going to say, before they say it. It’s like bullying. Many people are bystanders in bullying situations but it only takes one person to stand up and say “this is not okay” for others to get the message. We hear people using racist remarks about Aboriginals and we need people to start standing up for them in order to make this society a better place, and to get unnamed the most racist city in Canada.

  4. I personally believe that the city of Winnipeg is primarily structured upon its own societal history. In a recent article published by Maclean’s magazine, Winnipeg was named the “most racist” city in Canada primarily due to its poor treatment of Aboriginal peoples. Although Winnipeg frequently experiences instances of racism, we must look at the possible factors that have led to this result.

    It is common knowledge that indigenous peoples have generally received poor treatment from the Federal government. Whether it be from unfair treaties, residential schools or the neglect of reserves, many aboriginal people (specifically in Manitoba) have been left in poor socio-economic circumstances. Experiencing such poor living conditions, a large percentage of Aboriginal people have been involved in unfortunate situations such as crime and substance abuse (both of which receive negative publicity). It has become a societal trend globally to have racist tendencies against a race of people that are in the lower class of society. In Winnipeg, Aboriginals are typically thought of as being this “lower class”. It is very common for society to be inconsiderate of peoples historical background when it comes to being racist and making judgements. From what I have witnessed personally, few people take the time to actually think about why so many Aboriginal people might be experiencing such poor circumstances. Winnipeg has the largest urban Aboriginal population in Canada. As a result, it is no surprise to me that Winnipeg experiences so much racism towards indigenous people.

    That being said, I don’t think it’s fair to call us the “most racist city in Canada”. If any other city shared the same demographics as Winnipeg it would most likely share equally as much racism. Moving forward, we as Winnipegers must accept our large societal divisions with an open mind to our history. If we can accomplish this, our attitudes towards the aboriginal population will change drastically.

    *I noticed that Mr. Henderson shared a link to the song “One Great City” by the Weakerthans which despite being a great song, ironically portrays the cities negative qualities. I thought I’d join in on the fun and share a link to another song that talks about Winnipeg and its identity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxOLMjJnR8w

  5. “Winnipeg is the most racist city in Canada.” This argument is from the MacLean’s Magazine article which I think it’s neither correct nor wrong. Winnipeg is a racist society, I think racist exist in everyplace in the world. It can’t be judge as “most” or “least”. There is no judgement criteria for racism. Racism is a appearance, it can’t be separate to level.
    In this world, I think everyone has racism. When people face someone that has different race, he will see this man differently, treat this man differently. I think that is some kind of generality, the character we have when we were born. If two man in different races want to treat each other equally, they have to mention themselves a lot that ‘I should treat them equally even we are not the same.’ This appearance clearly shown the people seen different people differently. People separate them into group.

    Animals that belong to same species are living together, same as humans. However, now the species called ‘human’, are separating people to different group: white people, black people, Asian people; good people, bad people, normal people. That is for the people can easily choose the different treatment for different kinds of people. We ignore a important thing is we are all human being, there should be no difference, no matter who we are, the first thing is we are the same.

    We think we should treat those ‘vulnerable groups’ distinctively, use tolerant way to see them. But tolerance is a word with overlooking. A girl likes a boy will never get people’s tolerance, but if two people have same gender like each other, there will show two different voices. One is against, the other is tolerant. Actually, tolerance only give to the group that need tolerance. Only when people don’t have to forgive others, the real freedom and equality will be achieved.

  6. I am new in Canada and I just started learning Canadian History. This limits my understanding in the comparison of present and past Canada. But being a foreign helps me understand some things that people normally ignore about their behaviour. I am very interested in how people treat each other in Canada and a defend the idea that people in Winnipeg are letting aside the important fact of their fortunate lives. Even if it looks like people have trouble dealing with each other, we should still appreciate having the open mind enough to tolerate each other. Not only focus on our bad characteristics.

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