Earlier this week the Flin Flon Post It Facebook page was removed by its administrators after racist, violent and hateful comments were shared across it.
Frankly, it’s been a long time coming – the page has been a gathering place for people to vent their unfiltered anger. It was even listed as a threat to the community’s success during the branding session with Travel Manitoba.
The posts and the magnitude of the response that led to the page being removed are indicative of a repulsive current of racism and hatred that runs through Flin Flon.
It’s one thing to be angry and want justice when wrongdoing has occurred - that’s a fairly common and human reaction.
It’s entirely something else to incite violence on an entire group of humanity because one person or a small group committed a wrongdoing.
Recently local residents have come to council with concerns over the safety of Flin Flon’s uptown area. There have been complaints about loitering, public drunkenness and fighting on the street. These discussions often include a preface that the complaints are not about race, but inevitably race enters the conversation, despite the discussion centering around behaviour.
What has been said in those meetings by both members of council and by concerned residents is that what we are witnessing are the symptoms of a problem, and that’s true enough - the problem being the longstanding, ongoing, widespread, disastrous, generational effects colonialism has had on our country’s indigenous population.
Arguably, what many witnessed on the community Facebook page over the weekend was also a symptom of a problem - the problem being a mass ignorance or misunderstanding of those same effects.
It’s strange that a group of people that have been a deep-rooted and integral part of this community can be so easily marginalized by it.
Obviously, the crime and mischief Flin Flon experiences is not okay. It’s not okay when someone’s property is damaged, or when someone is harassed, or when someone raises their hands against someone else. These behaviours are unacceptable and should be dealt with accordingly.
But a call for violence in response to wrongdoing is equally unacceptable, and furthermore, frightening. Is what happened to Colten Boushie and how that situation affected a community and beyond already gone from our minds?
Comments meant to debase indigenous people as a whole only serve to debase those who make the comments and the community they live in.
Those looking for a solution to issues of safety in Flin Flon say it will have to be a community solution if it’s going to work. In order for a community solution to truly exist, and in order to truly relieve local tension, the apparent culture of racism that exists in this area must be addressed and eradicated.