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‘How’d They Do That?’ – Racial Manipulation – Can it be Stopped?
June 13, 2006

Op-ed by Catherine Whelan Costen

Canadians are being manipulated by the oldest weapon on the books.

Fear has been used for generations to move the masses! Fear is behind our liberty stripping anti-terrorism legislation. Fear is what prevents many people from speaking out against the torture and abuse of prisoners charged with terrorist activity in Toronto. Fear is what prevents Canadians from demanding all the facts in the Caledonia situation. The greatest fear societies have is fear of losing their lives, lifestyle and the safety of their families. We know that fear was used in WWII propaganda. What I was taught as a child in school regarding the history of WWII could likely be written on a napkin, but the fear concept I did understand. Examining why we didn’t have the racial tension in Canada as compared to the U.S.A. or other countries revealed that we didn’t have many other races, therefore little racial tension. Canada’s history had been edited by well meaning authors leaving mostly the feel good stuff and omitting things like, our ‘all white’ policy for immigration. How shocked I was to learn that not until Prime Minister Defienbaker did we address this ridiculous policy (in part because of what our soldiers saw during the war). Later we embarked on a new policy called multiculturalism. We have not adjusted to it in part because we and the new immigrants are uneducated. Government promoted the concept, but did very little to educate about what a ‘multicultural’ society looked like or how it would function peacefully.

WWII seems to offer the most visual reminder of society gone wrong. The majority of civilized society acknowledges Hitler and his Nazi regime as the perpetrators of the most horrific crimes against humanity. In an effort to distance ourselves from these human beings, we attempt to demonize them and turn them into something inhuman. If we acknowledge that they were not aliens, not monsters then we must accept that they were anti-social criminals, but still human. Many were contributing members of their society; they were fathers/mothers, brothers/sisters and husbands/wives and without a doubt they were ‘white’. We must then accept that a human being can and did commit these horrific acts. There have been others from various ethnic backgrounds, also human, who committed crimes against their own people and others in their lust for power. These heinous beings committed sick, despicable acts against other human beings. We can accept that, but what we cannot seem to examine is ‘how’d they do that’. How did they manage to get the people to join their parade? None acted alone. How did they get good and decent people to look the other way? The answer is fear. If you join this bandwagon, you and yours are promised protection. If you don’t join us (and make no mistake, we are on the move) you will be considered the enemy. With us or against us!

Racism seems to be the easiest and perhaps most popular prejudice to manipulate. I suspect it is due to the overwhelming ignorance of some people and the protectionist survival attitude of others. If you do not reveal anything about yourself, your customs or traditions then others will not be able to criticize or take them from you. So we keep our cultural traditions secret, within our families, or larger communities, but only those who ‘belong’ are able to really know the inner workings. When we create one group that belongs, by default we create another that does not belong. Therein lies part of the problem. The outsiders begin to suspect, begrudge and fear what they do not know, especially if someone is reporting as if they had inside knowledge about that particular group. Canada is experiencing the results of being denied the true spirit of a multi-cultural concept, simply because we have promoted keeping each race, each religion, each tradition and culture to itself.

The Jewish religion and community kept to themselves out of a protectionist nature due to many centuries of prosecution, contempt and criticism. They became an easy target for Hitler’s regime. The propaganda machines could say anything at all. The people had no one to refute the stories. The most troubling fact about the rise of Nazi Germany’s regime, agenda and fulfillment of it, was the story that all of these horrific acts were going on right under the people’s noses, but they did not see it! How’d they do that? How could ‘good’ people not see their neighbours being rounded up? How could they not smell the stench of burning human flesh? How could they not wonder what happened to all those people – men , women and children? Didn’t anyone wonder what their neighbours had done to warrant arrest, or detainment? Didn’t anyone wonder when the neighbours’ possessions were removed? Most people accept that people were just too fearful to ask questions. 6 million Jews, it is reported, were exterminated along with millions of others from various other blood lines who were considered expendable, useless or unwanted, those who disagreed, as well as handicapped people. That’s a lot of missing persons! As long as the people believed the propaganda, that this was a matter of national security and that they would also be removed if they dared to disagree, the machine worked. Once the machine gets going it is hard to stop. Prevention today will save the next generation from making apologies for our mistakes.

Something created this atmosphere of silence then and something is changing Canada today. That something is fear. ‘How’d they do that?’ is the question which troubled me as a child and it is reportedly troubling today’s children. The adults are out of control. The adults are killing all over the world while they keep telling the children that killing is wrong! Adults are making trade deals that impoverish other children, they’re selling arms to people who kill children, they are making us hate each other because we fear our freedom, our liberty, our way of life is on the line. Adults are buying the propaganda and feeding it to the next generation. Do they hate us for our freedom, or do they hate us for freely invading, bombing, killing innocents and demonizing their society? Do they hate us for imposing democracy on them or occupying their nation and taking away control of their natural resources and impoverishing their people? Furthermore do they actually hate us? It is a well known fact that hate is a by-product of fear. We are told they hate us, but do they or do they fear the administrations that are waging these wars?

One of the best methods of fear-mongering is religion. Unless you belong to a certain faith or study it, you will not know the teachings. Canada is said to be founded by two religions Protestant (British) Christianity and Roman Catholic (French) Christianity and many want to keep it that way. The interesting fact is that Christianity by its very name means following the teachings of ‘Christ Jesus’. (Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus a Jew, son of God, but also son of Mary, a Jewish woman). He came from the Middle East, but if he were in Canada today he would likely be arrested for inciting the mobs! He would be condemning the warmongers, the oppressors, those who attempt to modify our DNA and food supply. He would be chastising us for polluting the air, water and soil but he would not say destroy another race before they destroy you! He would not be impressed by the human carnage, torture and brutality waged in his name! Nothing in Christian teaching tells us to hate; on the contrary, it teaches us to love all of our brothers and sisters, regardless of race, creed or colour. It teaches us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend to the sick, reach out to the widows and orphans. Nothing says we must eradicate other religions or beliefs. In fact it says just the opposite. It does not promote conversion of others to the Christian religion. It says, ‘here is what we believe, you are welcome to join us’. If we are attacked for being Christian we are told to walk away or turn the other cheek. Christianity teaches that human beings (all) are created in the image and likeness of God, so how could any race be inferior to another? All countries and all races seem to have a preference for a ‘look’. This doesn’t come from religion; it comes from marketers. The preferred look is marketed through media, advertising and so forth. If you have the ‘look’ you are more likely to be successful. Colour is not the issue, but it labels me as belonging to a colour group. Customs and religion are not the issue, but the secrecy behind them provides the ammunition to use in fear mongering. Generalizations are propagated in the media. Stereotypes are reinforced with jokes and untruths.

Two major factors allow racism/prejudice to grow. The first is lack of education (not to be confused with indoctrination). The second is fear of those we do not know. Hitler used both. Fundamentalist radicals use both. Leaders who fear their popularity is on the edge, or who need to increase support, or want to control the masses will pit one element of society against another and play on their fear. This tactic would never work if we knew each other. Hitler’s tactics are one example of using ignorance of others to place blame for the ills of the country on one group of people rather than admit his administration had failed. As people stood by with their racial insecurities intact, they allowed their neighbours to be rounded up without question. They were told it was a matter of national security. Who could argue with that? As the military grew to protect the nation, a police state developed. People had jobs and security, and were caught up in the movement. By the time people began to see that they, too, were losing their freedom, it was too late. Are you willing to sacrifice your neighbour if there is a promise for a better life for you? Are we any different today? When we hear the mantras of this day, such as, ‘with us or against us’, do we question who is ‘us’ and who we are against or why? When we hear generalities like ‘they hate us for our freedoms’, do we question who ‘they’ are and whether they really hate us?

We have two racially tense situations growing in Canada today. Both are based on fear. Both are fed by media that does not provide all facts. By not settling long standing treaties with our First Nations people, several governments have allowed fear to grow. Fear is developing on both sides of the issue. Some people fear losing what they feel is their land to the First Nations people if the government ever settles the treaties from the past. Ignorance of the issue prevents us from knowing what is right. Do the people of Canada care why so many people living on reserves today are living in abject poverty, decaying housing, with no potable water and often no medical care? How can we understand the whole story if we do not listen to the victims? Reserves today, in fact, are something quite different from the promises made. For many Canadians even listening to the complaints is tiresome. When you are not the victim it is easy enough to say, ”Get over it.” Few people feel the same way when they are the victims. First Nations people are acutely aware that our government failed them, that their families were destroyed, for example, when their children were taken from them and returned to the Reserves without proper preparation for living in that world. They were indoctrinated in one world and expected to live in another. Again there are exceptions to the rule. But in general, lack of factual information has allowed the untruths to grow and spread like a disease infesting the nation. It is the racist element that allows some Canadians to ignore the use of force on our First Nation’s people to keep them in line.

We cannot undo what has been done, regardless of how hard some of try to keep living in the past. We cannot keep apologizing for the mistakes of our predecessors (as many, many Canadians continually remind me). But, by the same token, we have to learn enough from the past to make us stop repeating these mistakes!

There is a real purpose in keeping racism alive. Every society has had slaves, and we are no different. If you keep people uneducated they will only be capable of doing the menial jobs that others do not want to do. By keeping an attitude of superiority over certain other races, we can keep a large portion of society serving the rest. If people accept their roles there is no chaos. It is only when someone dares to believe they are equal to other races that hostility takes place. History has shown this repeatedly.

Presently, the Muslim community is experiencing the ugly side of racism, and stereotypes as well. Our government has opened our doors to a ‘multi-cultural’ society, but did very little to ensure that that society was educated and capable of accepting these ideals. When new immigrants enter Canada without proper preparation, or their job skills are not accepted, or they are discouraged from learning the language, the customs and laws, we end up with pockets of isolated communities. Would you not be angry if you came to a new country with a promise of work and found that after you sold everything at home, the new country would not allow you to work in your trade? Immigrant communities left on their own will recreate familiar ideals. How could they do anything else? They are dependent on someone who knows the language, customs and laws. They are not free. We see this in the ethnic communities with the rise of youth gangs who prey upon their own members. We will continue to see turbulence in our communities as the youth attempt to fit into a society that their elders do not understand. Furthermore, their parents are ill equipped to assist them with the transition to adulthood in the new environment. Once again it is basic human fear that can be manipulated. People who are moved from their familiar surroundings and placed in a dependent position with others from their native land feel a sense of security but also are vulnerable to coercion, extortion, and other crimes. Fear prevents people from realizing their full potential. Arrogance in our own belief that we know the whole story contributes to people remaining impoverished. Many successful people will point fingers and say, ”If they did this or that, if they were not so lazy, if they were more like us, they would be successful.” What they fail to see, or perhaps refuse to see, is that fear is paralyzing many members of our country. We fear each other. We fear immigrants’ success because if they are successful somehow we will not be. They fear this new country that they do not understand and which we do not want to explain. We are all buying into the notion that there is a very small piece of pie and that only the righteous will receive their fair share of.

That term ‘politically incorrect’ means exactly what it says: if there is no political gain, or if it will cost them in their political careers then it isn’t something they will say or do. Opening the doors to a world that is foreign and different and then saying, “Fend for yourselves”, has resulted in the tension we have today. The mixed messages are everywhere. Rather than promote multiculturalism, our government has instead promoted tolerance from a safe distance. People will tolerate something at a distance for only so long. Rather than tolerate we must learn about each other. Canadians embrace the many ethnic food outlets we have in Canada. Many enjoy the music of different countries and the opportunities to travel to different countries. But we still don’t want someone who is different living beside us. That is part of the reason we have ethnic ghettos, which harbour resentment and hate. We can prevent history from repeating itself by not allowing fear to take hold and ignorance to motivate us.

We need to ask ourselves some hard questions. Is there any concrete evidence to support hating any race? I have seen none. Some people will tell you they don’t need a reason, they just hate, but there is always a reason behind our feelings. Maybe it is what someone else taught you, or a stereotype you accepted, but the question is whether there is any truth in it. If we want peace, we are going to have to examine the reasons behind the violence we are living with. Why would a new Canadian citizen share a bond, a feeling of belonging to a new country so much that they would be willing to fight for that country’s cause, even against their birth country? Or conversely, why would they align themselves with those who would target Canada? People need to belong. Cults understand this basic human need and it is why they flourish. Isolating people because they don’t fit will create in them a need to belong somewhere and have meaning in their lives. We all need purpose and acceptance. Young immigrants or second generation immigrants who are rejected by their new country will become isolated. We know it is the root cause behind criminal gangs, but yet we ignore the danger.

We must prevent racial profiling. We must prevent fear from taking hold, by educating ourselves, getting to know our fellow Canadians and encouraging them to learn about Canada. We can help to encourage real Canadian values, by walking the talk. If we say we stand for peace, than let us make sure our government reflects those values in our foreign policy. If we say we stand for equality then let us ensure that our social policies reflect that thinking. If we say we want to stop globalization and the disastrous effects on countries around the world, let us stand together to make certain our government adheres to our wishes even if the corporate giants disagree with us. If our immigration policies are not clear, or do not address educating new immigrants to the values, laws, language and traditions that Canadians hold dear, we need to change the immigration laws. We do not make new laws to strip all Canadians of civil rights to make up for the lack of foresight in planning our immigration policy. Building internment camps, work camps and holding people on security certificates will do nothing to promote peace. Unless our goal is to live in a police state, where our freedom is dependent on our looks or our ability to produce and uphold the ideals of a regime, we had better start considering the effects of being manipulated, today! The majority of immigrants coming to Canada today are seeking the same things immigrants sought over 200 years ago. They are searching for a better way, civil rights, human dignity and freedom.

As more and more countries suffer under the new world order, headed by the corporate multinationals, more people will be displaced. When Canada becomes enslaved like so many other nations and there is nowhere left to go for any of us, perhaps then we will wish we had stood together as one race! If we all made an attempt to learn about the human race, rather than accept the stereotypes about each other, we could stop being manipulated to act against one another. While the old poem goes something like this, “When they came for the Jews… I was not a Jew, so I did not stand up…when they came for the Muslims… I was not a Muslim, so I did not stand up”….it could very easily be changed today…. “When they came for my neighbours, my fellow Canadians, I did not abandon them because of the colour of their skin, the shape of their eyes, or their ancestral origin. I stood tall with my neighbours and together we changed history!”

 

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