Blood and Guts

I went to see Blood Diamond; it left me cold. The story is ostensibly about conflict diamonds in Sierra Leon, and yet it still managed to centre around white people.

Surprise surprise.

The “hero” of the movie, played by Leo DeCaprio, is supposedly the one person whom we are to care about, as his “redemption” is the crux of the movie; I am supposed to care about this guy after watching him gun down dozens militia children with an machine guy so that he can get his hands on a valuable diamond? There is just no redemption for that. . .

What am I supposed to do with this information, that conflict diamonds are bad? I suppose I should not buy diamonds (something I don’t do anyway). I could go to Africa and help, but this film clearly showed “relief” workers as overrun and powerless. I could donate money, but as referenced in this film, how do we know the money is going to the right people? What am I supposed to do besides feel really shitty about how terrible human beings are?

I will do what I always do: nothing. Go back into denial tomorrow morning.

I was listening to CBC radio this AM, and Jim Brown opens up the phone lines to talk about the new cabinet that our new Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach (the “not Ted Morton” guy) chose; sixteen older, white men and two older, white women, all of whom (save for four) are from rural ridings. This is not a good thing, and Brown was doing a hell of a job trying to lead people into that direction. Instead, call after call came in with people supporting Stelmach and giving him the benefit of the doubt, and that we should “wait and see” what happens. That just because these people were all white doesn’t mean that they would not be good at their jobs, and isn’t it terrible that a white guy can’t pick a bunch of other white guys without the “Liberal Media” causing a non-issue out of it?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is pure bullshit.

Perhaps a result of these incidents coinciding, but I leave this lunar cycle feeling deflated, giving into my defeatist cynicism a little. I am surrounded by privilege (my own included), with mostly white people discussing their shoes and dresses and cocktail parties and making top ten lists (guilty) and shopping and worrying about stupid shit like karma and RA work and nonsense….

So I do nothing and choke down another latte.

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5 thoughts on “Blood and Guts

  1. The mantra of only four cabinet ministers are from the cities keeps being repeated – ad naseum – because if you say something often enough, people will eventually believe it.

    That statement is only true if you consider anyone not living within the legal city limits of Calgary or Edmonton to be rural. In other words, a complete falsehood. Point of fact, three ministers are from bedroom communities situated around Edmonton (Sherwood Park, St. Albert, and Stony Plain). People in their constituencies are not farmers (as if that were something bad), but suburbanites. These people do everything but sleep in Edmonton.

    A similar situation exists in Calgary. Foothills-Rockyview and Highwood are two constituencies which house a lot of wealthy bedroom communities for Calgary. Ted Morton – love him or hate him, actually lives in Calgary, despite representing Foothills.

    One point on the lack of “representativeness” in cabinet. If we are truly working toward a society that is gender- and colour-blind, should it really matter what gender or ethnicity the cabinet ministers are? Do we really need a token Chinese minister, or aboriginal if it means we can only pick from one MLA for each “quota slot”? The answer if you want more diversity is to get more people with different backgrounds to run for public office. Hw you go about doing this… well, I don’t know how to answer that one.

  2. Annon… that may be true (the rural thing), and to be honest, I am less concerned about that than I am the gender/ethnic makeup of the new cabinet. In a PC strong province, how many Women and/or Minorities did the conservative party run in Alberta? A handful, and thus the pickings for cabinet positions are limited to almost entirely White men.

    Yes, people voted for White men, and white men were elected, and then put into cabinet…

    See, I am working for a society that is gender and color blind by supporting parties (through more than just voting) that are working towards those goals. Clearly, this is not a concern for the Provincial (or for that matter, Federal) Conservatives, as shown by the number of Women and Ethnic minorities that they run in the first place. I have been involved in politics long enough to know that in every riding association that there are many people who would be great candidates, but it is white men who are often given first crack at running.

    The “tokeism” argument you are attempting is clearly a straw man; it fails to address the point that I was making. Secondly, why exactly would a woman or a “Chinese” person be automatically a token?

    This is part of the problem.

  3. In response to the above comment: I think the utopian ideal of creating a “gender and colour-blind” society was long ago left behind along with first-wave feminism. While that essentialist mode of thinking was necessary to push civil and minority rights to the forefront of social consciousness, it has become clear that rather than striving for universalizing, homogenizing “equality” across gender, ethnic and class lines, communities (and their governing bodies) must acknowledge and work with the differences within their populations. Trying to deny that the Conservative party has long been an “Old Boys Club” is as pointless as roasting chestnuts over a tub of liquid nitrogen. Stelmach’s cabinet choices have done nothing to better this reputation and if such actions continue he is well on his way to furthering Ralph Klein’s worse than abysmal legacy.

    I might be wrong. Maybe Stelmach’s white man cabinet will put funding back into education, health care and social programs, and Albertans of all genders, ethnicities and economic classes will receive adequate representation in their provincial government.

    I won’t be holding my breath.

  4. I recently saw “The Pursuit of Happyness”, and the only thing I learned was:

    “Make fat cheques from whitey or live in a subway bathroom”

    They don’t even have mass transit in rural ridings.

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