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There's nothing funny about an Angry Indian

The first thing when considering the news media is that it's just entertainment.

What brought this on?

Well, I heard an interesting podcast on Canadaland called Trained to Ignore: The Media and First Nations that mentioned an article by Neil McDonald at CBC about the difficulty of writing stories about Indigenous people.

Back in my college days, I took a comedy writing class.

The first assignment was to write a five-minute classic standup comedy routine using the set-up followed by punch line.

Kenton Larsen, an affable and capable instructor, gave some classic examples of comedians mining areas as self doubt or even coming across as angry.

I shot my hand up right away to say,"There's nothing funny about an angry Indian."

Surprisingly, at least to me, that got a laugh.

Built a few more lines around that but as I sat at a bar one time, a fellow performer came up and asked me if I truly hate the Whiteman that much.

I was perplexed because there was nothing directly about the larger culture of European immigrants in my bit.

Then it hit me that people don't like to be challenged by Indigenous people in any manner and it's threatening to be challenged.

When you view news media coverage as entertainment then it all starts to makes sense.

For instance, the day the first Idol No More movement had a day of action across the country. The lead story many in the news media was a monkey in a fur coat outside IKEA.

With the monkey story, you don't need to know about the history of how Canada was settled, the outstanding obligations owed under treaties, the Canadian Constitution or how many court cases Indigenous people have won in the last 40 years.

As the owner of a small cog in the news media, the bottom line is your biggest obligation. It's not about informing people or challenging misconceptions. 

It's about entertaining readers, in my case, so people will read and notice the advertisements.

As an owner/ publisher, I am so grateful to my clients taking ads out.

Over the years, I've had people send me emails or have left voice mail or comments after stories.

I thank those who have left complimentary or offered constructive criticism.

The majority, however, are about how it's not racist and then point to a few examples of stereotypes, as if that proves the point.

Or tell me, the comment should not have been deleted because it negatively impacts freedom of speech. 

Well, in Canada it is Freedom of Expression.

But what the people really want is Freedom of Consequences for using Freedom of Expression.

And here's something else those people should know that Freedom of Expression is a limited right.

Speaking of stereotypes and challenging them, that's what I am trying to do in this publication.

Jordan Wheeler and his wife Kim are avidly into sports. Here's something else you might not know. Because both live and work off reserve, they pay all the taxes same as anyone else.

The young people behind Red Rising Magazine support the publication through their own efforts. No handouts there.

When I speak about colonization, treaties or court cases then I am only talking about the facts, I'm not angry.

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