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Letter: Embrace the culture, Mr. Short

Pearson Airport kitchen party, Toronto. — Screenshot
Pearson Airport kitchen party, Toronto. — Screenshot

I’m truly sorry about what Robin Short had to witness in the videos and articles about the Newfoundlanders playing music during a delay at the gate at Toronto Pearson. I’m sorry he feels that way.

He wrote that Newfoundlanders perpetuate their own stereotypes. I’d like to ask Robin how playing and singing traditional Newfoundland music makes us unintelligent, stupid, goofy or incompetent. Does he know what these people do for a living? Does he know what level of education they have? And even if one of them were on EI, living home, does that make them any of those things?

I think before writing an article like that, authors should check their assumptions. It’s like those mainlanders who think we’re any of those things — they, too, don’t check their assumptions, which is why we have these stereotypes applied to us in the first place.

The stereotypes won’t end tomorrow, but it’s a fight we must continue by showing our talents and intelligence, and resisting others’ ideas of who and what we are.

Now, I’m not saying anyone has to love the music or the scene of that group singing and playing at the airport. Everyone has their opinion, and even being from Newfoundland and Labrador, you don’t have to like it. However, giving into typical mainland beliefs and ways of thinking only makes you one of them.

Robin says he’s a proud Newfoundlander and sick of the stereotypes? Then he should embrace who he is and where he come from, even if he doesn’t like it. The fact is, he’s never going to stop anyone from playing or singing traditional Newfoundland music wherever, whenever. He’s never going to stop the few people who love to get up and dance to it. He’s never going to stop the young people trying to carry our culture into future generations.

With an attitude like Robin’s, unfortunately we’re never going to remove the stereotypes, either.

If Robin really wants to remove stereotypes, I think an easy start would be him not writing commentaries bashing his own people. Robin should stick to writing intelligent, thought-provoking articles like he has in the past, like the educated Newfoundland man he is.

The stereotypes won’t end tomorrow, but it’s a fight we must continue by showing our talents and intelligence, and resisting others’ ideas of who and what we are.

I really hope and trust that Robin takes the time to read what I had to say. It angered me to read about his experience arriving at Halifax. But what he said in his column made him just as bad as the person who said, “It’s just Newfoundlanders.” Whether Robin is a fan of our culture or not, he is part of it. Might as well embrace it.

I actually enjoy hearing about what some mainlanders and people in other parts of the world think of us sometimes. I find the thought of us living in igloos actually reflects their level of intelligence, when it literally takes 10 seconds to type “Newfoundland” in Google.

Please remember to check your assumptions. We should all make this a regular practice.

 

Angie Vokey

Grand Falls-Windsor

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