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Editorial: Standing up to the haters

BY OTTAWA CITIZEN EDITORIAL, OTTAWA CITIZEN

Sore losers dealing in sour hateful grapes — that’s how to characterize the kind of slurs and anger that have been directed at Ian Campeau by some anonymous online cowards in the wake of his successful campaign to get the name of a local football team changed away from the appallingly racist nickname Redskins.

Campeau, also known as Deejay NDN of the electronic band A Tribe Called Red, filed a complaint against the team name with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Bowing to public pressure, the team finally did change its name; it will now be the Nepean Eagles. Campeau and others who spoke out about the name did all of Ottawa a service; overt racism in its institutions tarnishes the whole city. But Campeau has been the target of racial slurs and other insults on social media.

It’s not surprising that people would say this sort of thing, sadly. The resort to the keyboard is all too commonplace for low-browed haters like the person who turned on the vitriol this past weekend.

Campeau was having none of that nor of the other abuse that he’s been receiving — some of which has come with a hint of violence. And he brought a complaint to the Ottawa Police Service as a result.

Good for him. He has courage and he has conviction. And he should be treated with respect.

But more than that, the benighted corners of Canadian society had better understand that the new generation of Aboriginal leaders, and the spirit shown by the Idle No More movement, are not going to back down or fade away.

Ian Campeau belongs to a band from our town that is starting to break big on the world stage. Joseph Boyden, the Metis novelist, is about to see one of his books turned into a Hollywood movie, even as his work is read in dozens of languages worldwide. Wab Kinew, the musician, broadcaster and educator, is emerging as a force for positive achievement in his media work with CBC. These three are just a few examples of the growing cohort of young, hip and smart Aboriginals in the arts whose leadership seems likely to influence Canada’s culture and politics. Get ready to be challenged. Get ready to be confronted. And get ready to watch some institutions change or crumble as these folks turn the tables on the system.

It’s about time.

Ottawa Citizen

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