April 24th, 2018

Ad’s holiday greeting lacked inclusion

By Letter to the Editor on January 14, 2018.

Oki, hello! I was starting to believe that racism is just an illusion, and if you think of racism then it will happen.

However, that mental stronghold of turning a blind eye towards racism, especially in a subliminal method, took a hard hit during the Christmas holidays for me. I would call it a reality check.

Over the holidays, I caught an advertisement from a popular car dealership from the City of Lethbridge. The advertisement focused on different ethnic groups, as they gave their holiday greetings to the public in their respective languages. The advertisement focused on ethnic diversity. I was in shock to notice that they didn’t include the Native peoples’ greeting in their advertisement. I felt that particularly the (FNMI) First Nations, Metis and Inuit people were excluded – why? I don’t know.

The first thing that came to my mind was exclusion. My reasoning for this claim is based on the fact that we were here on this land first, and that we should’ve been acknowledged because, after all, is this not traditional Blackfoot land that we live on? Second, does the car dealership realize that probably (approximately) 50 per cent or higher of their business comes from Native reserves that surround Lethbridge County?

For instance, I believe many residential school survivors used their financial compensation funds to purchase vehicles from this establishment. I see the dealership’s stickers on back windows of many vehicles on the reserve, and many hard-working Native people, who work hard to better our communities, utilize this dealership as well. And you have the hard-working Natives who live off the reserve and pay taxes, who, in my guess, have bought vehicles from this particular dealership in the past.

To add on to that, how does this situation from this dealership support the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on inclusion for Native Canadians? In my mind, we have to work together to overcome this problem.

Therefore, in my opinion, this is not inclusion, it is exclusion; in fact, it is covert racism. There you have it: my allusion that racism is in the eye of the beholder was snapped over the holidays, with that “Happy New Year everyone!”

Marvin Smith


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17 Responses to “Ad’s holiday greeting lacked inclusion”

  1. Fescue says:

    Fair observation. Good points.

  2. already extinct says:

    Mr. Smith, I’m sorry you observe the dealership advertisement as racism.

    You might be comforted to know you are not alone experiencing race based apartheid.

    I experience it daily/monthly/annually as I pay tax on gasoline, the car, my booze, drugs, my education, plowing the roads on your “nation”, my house, the $600,000 dog park down the road, ad infinitum!

    There’s some privileged folks among us who because of their race receive a very fine discount on many things – a lot of them paying nothing for (a lot of things I pay through the teeth for) because they have been granted special status. If that’s not the definition of prejudice & racism, what is it.

    But, back to your complaint with the dealership and my take on it. A quick internet search, tells me you as a native man are one of 60 aboriginal language groups from about 600 tribes identifying as Indian.

    I think you might agree anyone attempting to please 60 language groups of one race group in a car ad or anywhere else might be in some difficulty pleasing everyone, there’s always going to be someone offended by an exclusion.

    In fact although I didn’t see the ad, I’m pretty sure the dialect of my German/Hungarian ancestry was excluded too, but I’ll continue on as happily as if it had been included!

    • IMO says:

      Hearsay and faulty logic do not contribute to a valid argument.

      In this regard, it is false to assert that 60 different language groups can be associated with the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy.

  3. Jersey44 says:

    Questions. Were the people in the holiday ad people from the community or were they employees of the dealership? If from the community, was every single ethnicity that exists in our community represented? I doubt it. It would be a 20 minute ad. If employees, maybe this particular dealership just happens to not employ any First Nation individuals at this time and the person in charge of putting the holiday ad together simply had all the employees that wanted to give an on camera holiday greeting in a way that reflected their own heritage. Or maybe they do employ some First Nation individuals and they weren’t interested in being in the ad. I doubt very much that a person high up at the dealership said “Lets put a holiday greeting together that shows the public all the people and cultures that work together here at our dealership. You think that’s a good idea? Great. Get on it. Oh, one more thing. No First Nation people! Let’s show racism and insult and alienate them! We’ll sell them cars but in no way will we show their culture respect! Again,I kind of doubt it. If this upsets you so much Mr. Smith, I suggest you go and ask the person responsible for the ad how it was put together. I doubt any hint of racism went into it.

    • IMO says:

      Jersey44, are you familiar with the Ralph Ellison’s book, The Invisible Man, published in 1952? Or Rendered Invisible, by Frank E. Dobson?

      Whether intentional or unintentional, does rendering an individual or group of individuals as invisible not seem like a racist gesture to you?

      Makes me think about the racially insensitive Dove soap ad last fall and just recently, an ad from H&M clothing. Who, in the ad agency and in the advertising department at H&M, thought it was OK to put a black child in a hoodie with the phrase, “coolest monkey in the jungle”, emblazoned across the front of it?

      Have you, personally, experienced being perceived as invisible because of your race, religion, ethnicity or gender?

      “I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone…I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me…They see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination–indeed, everything and anything except me.”~Ralph Ellison

      • Jersey44 says:

        Talk about mountains out of molehills. A dealership expressing holiday greetings can do what it wants. They would be extremely stupid to do anything that could be perceived as racist and alienate a large group of potential customers. His letter and all our responses are extremely pointless. What would have merit is if he went and talked to them and found out if they were callous in omitting a First Nation holiday greeting, or if, as I believe, there aren’t any First Nation people connected to the dealership and there was no way to include them in the ad.

    • already extinct says:

      Jersey 44, you express but in a different way my thoughts well, and I’m betting the feelings of a lot of people who turtle every time a discussion involving Indian’s come forward..

      I count among my most beloved friends a number of Japanese, Ukrainian, French, English, Peruvians and Native Indians ( my lawyer is a female Athapaskan Native Canadian ) not one you’d ever get a racist/ inclusiveness comment out of. They turned that corner a long long time ago joining hands as equal partners with the general population, working, enjoying the opportunities, the freedom they are blessed with in a country, that preaches to the general population equally of all races.

      Case in point. In Lethbridge we’ve gone to great public expense to build a fabulous multicultural center, a common place to promote human kindness, togetherness and inclusiveness.

      That some.among us don’t buy in, and probably never will is a lost opportunity to visibly demonstrate a wee effort on their part.

      • IMO says:

        A fallacious argument of association, known as pro hominem, together with a fallacy of distraction, otherwise known as a red herring, do not present credible arguments worthy of consideration.

  4. Fescue says:

    From the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report:

    “For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal government; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada.”

    Marvin Smith is correct to expose this insensitivity.

  5. already extinct says:

    Click and quote all you wish if you believe there’s much (if any) vetted truth coming from it, or will come of it.

    Racsim is mysteriously unidirectional for some folks plus it inhibits their ability to read what others have to say and respond intelligently to it.

    I guess I was in error expressing my grievance with the racism I face daily, monthly, and annually as did my ancestors, some who did not survive the massacres on the plains of America, when they struck out seeking to share the land and the bounty, with those living there at the time.

    It’s exactly what most of us are being asked to do today. and most of us practice with love.

    I now conclude my discourse with those who only see the insensitivities they’ve been programmed to see, for what ever the reasons!! Sad!!!

    • IMO says:

      Neither the logical fallacies of ad hominem attack, straw man or the fallacy of questionable analogy suffice to support the argument as presented. Indeed. This is what may be logically identified as “sad”.

  6. biff says:

    while it is unacceptable that racism/hate remains an issue here, and far and wide, not sure this is the issue. hey it’s just an ad and really seems to have disparaged no one – this is hard to not do given the heightened sensitivity everybody has to every split hair nowadays. and for cars/trucks. poisons. leth it go lol
    not sure why i am feeling so flippant, but willing to bet the ad did not include the visually impaired, recovering addicts, nor an obvious member of the lgbtq2etc community. the way this country is going, however, we are best to buy into an instant language translator app, because we will otherwise be hearing things repeated dozens of times to accommodate for an awful lot of languages and dialects so as no one feels hurt. while we are at it let’s take a moment to give everyone a champion ribbon and mvp trophy just for participating.
    just asking, but was there at least someone signing? if so, what race were they signing with? should have at least 15 different signers to cover the community….
    let me put it another way – i swam in the ocean and offended the lake

    • IMO says:

      Is it not rather challenging, and almost difficult, to attribute any merit to an argument that begins with a fallacy of pro hominem and concludes with the author taking his/her own argument to the point of logical absurdity?

      Don’t you think this resembles the old adage, “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot!”?

  7. biff says:

    i will take certainly sit with your feedback, imo. however, at this time i feel my reaction is hardly pro hominem. the writer feels racism is at play because a dumb ass commercial did not include a first nations rep giving a “holiday” greeting. i acknowledge racism is everywhere to be found, and that it is unacceptable. however, i feel we are too long stuck at the point where political correctness requires that every type of identifiable group be represented always, and even all at the same time. the unloading that followed my opening acknowledgement was not to obfuscate anything, but rather to illustrate that it is not possible to remain rational under the current expectations that everyone and every type be always and simultaneously represented and validated. cbc news could not replace mansbridge with one anchor – no, they went with 3, and even then they could be accused of offending the sundry races and ethnicities that were overlooked. moreover, they have forsaken the white male, but there will be no tears for that.
    meanwhile can we not place a positive spin on the ad? perhaps the dealership’s market research indicated that first peoples are not nearly as gullible as the types that were chosen to be represented in its ad. the way i see it, it is just another company that shamelessly tries to sell us something it does not really ever have in stock. if one is unhappy with a corporate entity, do not buy into it.
    if i have shot myself in the foot, it might be because i am now at the mercy of the angry lake.

    • IMO says:

      Again, another argument, initiated with a logical fallacy (appeal to emotion), moving quickly to an argument of distraction and concluding with arguments based on assumptions (false premise) and abduction ad absurdum.

      In accepting an argument, it is the responsibility of the reader to evaluate the soundness of said argument. When the argument does not stand up to sound logic, challenging both the claims and conclusions is appropriate.

      addendum: Did you know that spin is not considered valid in mounting a convincing argument?

  8. phlushie says:

    Years ago, I used to go to a little 4 foot by 4 foot shack a hundred feet from my home to dump my load. Now I only have to login to the lethbridge herald letters to the editor to do the same.

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