Another racist video from northwestern Ontario

Yet another cell-phone amateur video has surfaced from northwestern Ontario that features, not only lateral violence against First Nations, but the racist face of malicious youth.

The videos depicts First Nations people, some poor and homeless in Kenora, and also features a video of an inebriated man being arrested by Kenora police.

The video is tasteless and shows the underlying racism of the youth videographers and quite possibly, their hatred of their First Nations neighbours.  The videographers feel superior to their filmed subjects.  Plain and simple, the video is meant to degrade all First Nations people and humiliate and ridicule some innocent, vulnerable people.

The video was obviously made by youth as it features one of their stars, a teenage skateboarder doing tricks.  The people taking the video seem to be known to the community, due to the reactions they get from seemly normal folks on the streets of Kenora and outside the local shopping centre.  (They are ‘flipped the bird’ twice during the course of the short video.)

It brings to mind the Fort Frances video.  It was almost two years ago when a half-a-dozen, equally bright girls from a local hockey team, decided in their wisdom to upload their parody of sacred Anishinaabe dancing to YouTube.  The underage girls, drunk as skunks, were forming their version of pow-wow dancing for the world to see.

But this is much more personal for those people depicted in the video.

These people may very well be at lowest points of their lives.  Some are dealing with the demons of addictions – others are poor and homeless.  They needn’t be ridiculed or filmed without their permission.

But it isn’t just the homeless.  Some are just people walking down the street or hanging out together.

One Anishinaabe man is simply enjoying a bag of popcorn for God’s sakes.  But because he’s Anishinaabek, he is being ridiculed for no apparent reason.  That easily could have been me.  Would the video be so funny if it was a middle-aged white man was walking, content and carefree, eating his popcorn snack?  I don’t think so.

This leads me to believe that they weren’t targeting the homeless, they were targeting First Nation people.

This is infuriating.

There isn’t any question, we are dealing with racism.  Even the name of the Youtube member “like9jews” may be anti-semetic.

The authorities need to find the producer of this video and their cohorts and investigate them for any hate crimes.  Have these people gone further in their hate for First Nations people?  Should they be exposed so the community knows who they are and can protect themselves from this type of lateral violence.

It’s when racism become overt, like in the case of these YouTube videos, that it becomes concerning.  When does lateral violence become actual violence?  In addition to their cell phone, do they have firearms in their truck?  It is these types of people that will, more often than not, commit hate crimes.

The local First Nations should step in and take the producers to court, no matter their age, to hold them accountable for the hurt they are causing these individuals who are depicted and the pain they are causing the broader Anishinaabe community.

Racism is a learned behaviour and it isn’t taught at school.  Let me place the blame where it belongs – the parents.  Perhaps these parents need to know where their kids are and what they’re doing – just like the parents of the infamous Fort Frances girls.  However, these youth appear a little older than the teenie-bopper racists.

As I stated two years ago, this is a symptom and a greater problem in the Kenora and Fort Frances areas.  First Nations are subject to racism quite often.  To their credit, the local Council and First Nations governments have taken steps to raise awareness and counter these types of situations.  But there is a still a lot of work to do.

Racism is no longer socially accepted and very often lies dormant.  But it manifests itself in contemporary stereotypes, ignorance.  Believe me, I will get many e-mails and responses in defence of youth, the videographers and their parents.  Many will deflect the issue and even accuse me of racism.  All are symptoms of underlying, dormant racism.

It’s in those private conversations, at home, with their spouses and children, at the dinner table or before bed, where the real racism will show it’s ugly head.

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9 Comments

  1. Boone says:

    Sorry to ask but is there a link to this video?

  2. random hero says:

    I think you’re missing the point completely, it was not only native people but a white “bum” was also filmed. Do you think that if the homeless people were white they would not be filmed? Just because the majority of homeless people filmed were native doesn’t mean its a racist video. Racism does exist in the community on both sides, but using this as an example because someone filmed homeless people in the streets of Kenora, which the majority happen to be native, doesn’t make any sense at all.

    • Bob Goulais says:

      It’s you that’s missing the point. This is wrong no matter what.

      They weren’t just filming “the homeless” – they were filming some everyday First Nations people in a derogatory way. Remember the title of this gem is sarcastically called “Kenora’s Finest.”

      And why is it that when racism surfaces, there are always victims crying about “racism on both sides”?? Like anything you’ve suffered compares to the humiliation these people face or the racism First Nations continue to endure. Woe-is-you.

  3. bob says:

    if a native ever was racist towards a white man, its alright. but as soon as white man does it to a native, shit hits the fan.

    ps bob go fuck yourself

  4. shitty bill says:

    Have you ever noticed how in Dryden and Fort Frances how there isn’t a single homeless native person loitering around town.

    I think you should possibly be more outraged at the Town of Kenora and their lack of support, rather than a simple youtube video.

  5. Jenna says:

    Not only did I find the video disturbing and sad, but the racist comments that accompanied the video were appalling. I currently finishing a BA at Simon Fraser University, but I grew up in Dryden Ontario. The de facto apartheid-like treatment towards Aboriginal Canadians all over Northwestern Ontario is so sickening, and as a person from European descent, I am shamed to admit that the attitudes of many non-Aboriginal community members towards Aboriginals often stratifies and promotes racist attitudes. Instead of blaming, finger-pointing, and lamenting about the allocation of your tax dollars, how about opening your mind and learning about the struggles that another culture faces as a direct result of your ancestors colonial endeavours. The usual reactionary comments to this are: “that happened so long ago, it’s time to get over it.” No one, I repeat, no one who utters those words can call themselves well-informed on the issue of silent and salient racial oppression.

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