Parker’s Facebook Post – a Quick Glimpse Into Differing Opinions on Boushie’s Trial
CBC full story, connected to my screenshot above. If you do one thing tonight after looking at this blog – watch CBC’s live-streamed video of reactions to the verdict. Sentiments of anger and of thanks to those who supported the family are both shared, and both incredibly emotional to watch.
Especially important is Boushie’s father’s word he shares (I won’t attempt to spell it), with media at around 6:40 in, which in English means “karma”. Powerful.
I also shared a comment – a public apology – which, to my pleasant surprise, still has no negative comments or reactions to it.
So… the jury made a verdict. They decided to let a killer go free. Race issues aside (which there are race issues) this verdict is a tragedy. A boy died, a man killed him, and the killer gets no punishment. What kind of pathetic justice system is that – white-biased or not?
More victims (the Boushie family and those in the car on that dark day) were victimized by the RCMP throughout the trial, have been further re-revictimized by this verdict, and will continue to be revictimized by the white privilege that is haunting Saskatchewan right now.
Back to my stance that there are indeed race issues here. I have heard from a lot of friends and “concerned local citizens” that “the race card is at play here” and that it has nothing to do with the fact that Stanley is white and Boushie is Indigenous. I have heard this sentiment from both white and Métis peoples and – while I feel that I cannot speak as strongly towards Métis perspectives as they have had their own unique experiences to deal through – I feel that this entire sentiment grows out of white privilege. They have the opportunity to say “you are pulling the race card” and get away with it, even though it is hurtful.
It does remain an unknown fact, that nobody can dispute and have a leg to stand on, that we do not know if Stanley shot Boushie (or on a spectrum, had any more or less inclination to shoot the boy) because he is Indigenous. I personally believe there is good reason to assume that the boy’s Indigeneity did affect Stanley’s judgement, but it would be an assumption made. I also do not care enough about Stanley as a person to determine whether or not he is a racist. I do not have that kind of time.
It cannot be denied that, if we look at the history of crimes against Indigenous peoples and white people, there is a serious skew here. White people are, in general, more likely to commit violence against “others”. We see it in the amount of recorded crimes, AND the amount of unrecorded crimes, like the filthy racist vile coming off of peoples’ fingers on keyboards as they write their Facebook comments against “Natives”.
One cannot argue that, if you are white and you are messing around on back country roads, you are more likely to stay alive than if you are non-white while doing the exact same stupid things that white kids do. If you try to argue anything else, you also do not have a leg to stand on.
It really does not matter what Stanley’s thoughts are. This trial became a symbol for white and Indigenous relations. So many Indigenous peoples and allies like myself were counting on this verdict to be made “right”, and to show that there is hope in reconciliation – that the justice system, too, is being Indigenized. I think that – moreso than the local farmer who made an arrogant and completely inappropriate decision – it is the justice system and the culture of Saskatchewan that is the “race issue”.
So yes, this trial has everything to do with race. And the verdict showed the whole world how flawed our system really is.
This is exactly why I am not the first one to say “He shot him because he was Indigenous!” BUT I am the first one to state my disagreement or shake my head in shame when someone says “But this isn’t about race!”
Both white people and Indigenous people in Saskatchewan have made it about race. This is akin to people in a room starting to throw food at one another while other people sit and go “this wasn’t supposed to be a food fight” and walk out instead of trying to figure out how to solve the problem. This would be fine – to just remove oneself from the situation – except that the proverbial “food” in question is literally marginalizing one side of the battle, even today. If you aren’t helping, you are hurting.
And, regardless of Stanley’s personal feelings that day…
My friend puts it best in his comment you can read above when he says “That he [Stanley] isn’t in jail for it [the murder of Boushie] is a testament to a system that makes exceptions to law for white people, and treats indigenous people as worth less than a quad” (Parker Houghtaling). That, again, cannot be denied, and makes my heart break.
BTW, my references to old westerns in my title (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly) are intentional. I reflected in passing in my ELIB class with Barbara McNeill that the entire genre of Westerns essentially perpetuate colonial mindsets. She didn’t disagree. Furthermore this Western saying has even more of a biting accuracy when we discuss this “showdown” that happened between Gerald Stanley and Indigenous kids.
Now, for some direction towards a country/western singer who focuses on important things – like social justice – and not on beer, trucks, and oggling ladies…
Check this guy out. I know I should have Indigenous-made material as well, but – as I am a white woman from a Western background – I feel like it makes sense to try to relate to treaty and reconciliation issues while bringing in some of my own culture as well, to the extent that it will educate and help.
Also worth sharing… (shared also by Parker Houghtaling):