Okay, let’s settle this business once and for all.
When Europeans came to this continent, and as their settlements crept west, they discovered the land was already occupied. Seeing this – and had they been as ‘woke’ as some of their descendants are today – they’d have immediately got back on their boats and looked for an unoccupied continent to settle instead. But they weren’t that woke. And so they had to consider their options. Corral them, exterminate them, assimilate them, dilute their blood, a.k.a. fuck the indigenousness out of them … What was decided upon? A combination of all of the above. What was the result? What we have now.
Some people think it didn’t have to be this way. I’m sure that’s true, in the modal sense of could-have-been-otherwise. But what exactly would one of these counterfactual histories look like? And to what end would we be conjuring them up in our heads?
Take, for example, the residential schools, a.k.a. the reeducation camps. The alternative, I suppose, would have been for the colonizer to send a teacher into each village and hope that, “If you build it they will come.” That would have resulted in something very different from what we have now. Better or worse, it’s hard to say.
The colonizer could have taken the South African route, and outlawed conjugal relations between the races. That too would have resulted in something different, but not very. The colonizing nations could have dealt with these people as nation to nation. That would have resulted in something different, but in name only. And so on.
So some people – the much reviled Frances Widdowson among them – have set themselves the task of answering, So what do we all do now? She has one set of answers. Others have others. But calling one set of answers ‘racist’ and another ‘woke’ has proven singularly unhelpful. The problem on the table just is racial. And touting other people as ‘woke’ just begs the question of who’s awake and who’s still sleeping.
I have no solution, final or otherwise, to the race relations problem we’re all facing here in Canada. What we have now is ugly. It’s being made all the uglier by these second-order salvos of mindless name-calling. Francis Widdowson is no more racist than my cat is ‘woke’. He spends twenty-three hours a day sleeping, and the other hour perched on the fridge, his pedestal, looking down on his inferiors. His woken-ness doesn’t seem to be contributing much to the peace and prosperity of the household.