The Grim Reaping
Patterns of Racism in the Prairie Region
Publisher: Prairie Christian Training Centre, Canada
Year Published: 1978
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX808
The text of an address given originally at the institute for Christian Life in Canada. It discusses the ways in which racism is embedded in the politcal economy of the Canadian praries.
Abstract: This is the text of an address given originally at the Institute for Christian Life in Canada. It begins with two specific human experiences of racism. 1) A Metis chid is ridiculed for her food and dress by her classmates in the 1940's. She turns her anger against her parents, 2)a Hungarian boy is hired by an English lady in Winnipeg in the early 1900's and learns to admire her "high arrogance." The purpose of the talk is to "disclose some of the features of racism through a historical structural analysis of selected moments of prairie social history". what it underlines throughout is the way in which the vested interests of government and capital were able to manipulate the majority of the people of the west (native, Metis and white ) out of a share in the economic order often by setting them against one another buying off one group with promises or hand-outs. Havelock quotes Becket (in the play by J. Anouilh), " A good occupational force must not crush: it must corrupt,"
The process of underming a basis for resistance is one of making the primary conditions of the situation seem inevitable and natural - even divine. The example of what has happened in buying off native leaders and demeaning community councils in the Nelson River power project is cited as a case in point. For Havelock, this has demonstrated the bankruptcy of prairie radicalism in the New Democratic Party redistribution of wealth is not the root of the issue; rather, it is the victimization of the poor who are both dispossessed and disempowered. A racist society has decided Native and Metis people have nothing to say and so have preferred to instill in them a "social life " by giving them possessions and a spirit of acquisitiveness. This racism is inherent in the political economy of western Canada in all its politicial parties. Its final consequence is smoldering, unfocused quilt among the victimized and the reformers alike.