Of all the places one would expect all races and creeds to be treated equally it would be a museum dedicated to Human Rights, yet that supposedly august institution is, shockingly, the very place instituting racist admission policies.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, racism is defined as
- poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race
- the belief that some races of people are better than others
The "poor treatment" is applied to anyone who cannot prove First Nations heritage. The "belief that some races are better than others" appears to be that First Nations people are better than the rest of us "mere citizens", since only First Nations citizens are entitled to free admission.
Everyone else must pay full freight.
Giving preferential treatment to one race and excluding all others is the very definition of racism. Why Canada's Human Rights Museum would institute racist policies boggles the mind, and it won't be long before the very institution that is supposed to promote racial and cultural equality for all will find itself the subject of a human rights complaint.
The Winnipeg Sun carried an article by Tom Brodbeck that made an interesting, if disturbing, observation.
They can't really tell us why they have this policy. When asked why one group of people has free access to the facility based solely on their race and culture and not others, museum officials were unable to provide a coherent answer.
"The admissions policy at the CMHR was developed, in advance of our opening, to align with that of other national museums such as the Canadian Museum of History, where Indigenous Peoples are also admitted at no charge," museum spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry wrote in an email. "It is intended to help ensure Indigenous People have access to expressions of their culture."
That's not really an answer.
Brodbeck then pressed Ms. Fitzhenry for a more coherent answer and this was her response.
"This policy is one way that we are striving to foster a respectful relationship between the Museum and Indigenous Peoples that acknowledges Indigenous rights relating to cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions."
Creating a negative stereotype based on race is a horrendous precedent to set for anyone, let alone Canada's Museum for Human Rights! Saying that Aboriginals have no ability to pay and therefore should be allowed free admission is both hypocritical and condescending, plain and simple.
I can't see how condescending to Aboriginal Canadians in any way advances Human Rights, nor do I comprehend how advancing racism in the name of equality makes any sense at all.
Neither does Canadian Human Rights Museum spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry, which is why her answers are so absurd and disingenuous.
Equality means treating all people equally regardless of race, not treating one race as "more special" than others, be it better or worse.
I expect far better than hypocrisy from our Museum of Human Rights.
For reasons I do not fathom this institution is thoroughly unwilling to correct its racist policy. It cannot even admit its hypocrisy let alone change it.
I refuse to support racism and hypocrisy at Canada's Museum of Human Rights. I, for one, will vote with my dollars and they will never see a penny from me.