Stereotypes don’t always fit
After thinking about the way things are in the city I live in at the moment regarding race-relations between Anishinaabe and non-Anishinaabe people, I still feel it is important to try to work together or at least keep your head up and continue to live your life.
I see this in a lot of the people I know or encounter. As bad as things may get here, this city is still a very nice place to live. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be living here. If it was really so awful, a lot of students would not choose to come here for school. If it was very terrible, people wouldn’t choose to raise their families here.
Yes there are still issues that need to be dealt with and trust in local law enforcement needs to be established or re-established as soon as possible. I myself try not to view the local police force undesirably because I don’t want to walk around carrying that negativity.
It is very exhausting to resent for no real reason, and it steals all of your positive energy.
When I visited Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, I was happy to see that for the most part, the students were very happy and so were the staff. It wasn’t as gloomy as some news outlets painted it out to be. There is lots of good that goes on there and the students love their school. Sadly racism is something that the students have to deal with but they are completely resilient and they stick to their guns; they are here to get their education and to have a good life.
I think stereotypes are the worst, and yes we Anishinaabe people will at times stereotype others. I recently talked to an acquaintance about her run-in with a police officer and she admitted me to me that she was afraid because of a pre-existing notion on what any encounter with a member of Thunder Bay law enforcement would be like. Fortunately for her, the officer she encountered was very helpful, kind, and understanding. She now tries not to hold any negative feelings towards officers in general and won’t judge a whole group of people on the actions of a few out of a hundred.
I recently attended a hip-hop show put on by an upcoming record label in the city, and the owner of the label chose Newfie’s Pub as the location for the show. This choice was immediately met with disdain and skepticism from a lot of people, including Anishinaabe folk. Most people thought it was going to be a violent disaster and some said they wouldn’t go.
Newfie’s Pub is known as the bar of choice for Anishinaabe people; it’s nothing new and is also nothing to be ashamed of. There are plenty of other bars and clubs in the city frequented on a regular basis by non-Anishinaabe people, so Newfie’s isn’t all that bad once you do the math.
It is a good place to go to meet friends, play pool, and listen to music, like any other social establishment in any city.
The show itself went off quite successfully. I loved the turn out, and the performers were amazing. It was also the first time I had seen that many non-Anishinaabe people in the pub – not that I frequent that place. I’ve been there a few times in the last four years and have never had any real trouble while there so the belief that Newfie’s and its patrons are violent is unfounded as far as I am concerned. Any occasional violent incidents that may have taken place, I guarantee they have taken place at the other 15 bars or so in the city with non-Anishinaabe people. Just take a drive out to one of the local clubs at “bar rush” and witness some of the obnoxious behavior by the patrons for yourself/for a laugh.
The success of the hip-hop show just proves that you can break stereotypes and that Anishinaabe-people and non-Anishinaabe people can work together especially when it comes to something like music and supporting artists here in the city. A record label that caters to both Anishinaabe and non-Anishinaabe is definitely a good and creative way to bring the city closer together and help demolish pre-existing stereotypes.
While the city has its issues, its problems, its “bad side,” I don’t think I would ever want to leave. It has become my home, and no matter how rough the road may get at times, I won’t be scared out of it.
But seriously, check out any club at “bar rush” and bring some popcorn.
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