COLUMN: Living in an ultra-sensitive age

We are living in the offended era …

by Chris Foulds

We are living in the offended era, an age in which small segments of society may not be offended by anything, which has spurred them to find something that might offend them so they don’t feel excluded from the club.

Statues commemorating the Confederacy are toppling across the U.S. Deep South and even Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, has become the target of some who feel offended by his name being on buildings and his visage being on our money.

Why? Because Macdonald, along with being the father of our country by uniting it with the railroad, was also a hard-drinking man under whose policies Indigenous peoples suffered.

We can argue all day about whether Macdonald should be honoured and never agree.

But I have read enough books to know that if we scratched the surface of any person from any culture from any time, we will find enough disturbing details that would preclude all of mankind from being honoured in any way.

I am three-quarters through Hampton Sides’ book, Blood and Thunder, a fascinating tale of how the U.S. settled the West by the cruelest means possible, with various native tribes victimized horribly.

However, Sides also points out that the Navajo, Apache, Comanche, Utes and other tribes were slave-traders who would slaughter entire villages at will.

The point is: who are we, in 2017, to judge those from another time, who were living in a society we cannot even begin to comprehend now?

Meanwhile, as debates rage over Macdonald, Edward Cornwallis, Matthew Begbie, Robert E. Lee and others, a professor at Simon Fraser University has managed to take this age of being offended into the realm of the ridiculous.

According to The Peak, SFU’s independent student newspaper, philosophy professor Holly Andersen has started a petition to have the university’s nickname changed.

SFU is that rare Canadian university whose sports teams play in the U.S., as SFU competes in NCAA Division II.

Because SFU teams play squads south of the border, Anderson is calling for the school to drop the Clan nickname because some Americans may confuse it with the Ku Klux Klan.

Let’s be clear: The university atop Burnaby Mountain was named after American explorer Simon Fraser. The school adopted the Scottish roots of Clan Fraser, which today counts thousands of people all over the world.

The SFU Clan embraces a family with common roots. The Ku Klux Klan embraces racist nonsense.

Yet Anderson feels a name honouring family and bonding and love should be erased because a group of redneck bigots south of the border decided in 1865 to bastardize the King’s English by replacing a C with a K?

Here’s a suggestion: How about starting a petition calling on Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard Richard Preston change the name of his organization, which is sullying the true Clan moniker?

However, if Anderson’s petition has done nothing else, it has at least offended me to the core — and I no longer feel like an outsider in this ultra-sensitive age.

Chris Foulds is the editor of Kamloops This Week.

Just Posted

Council to hear $53 million plan to widen Fraser Highway over next two decades

City of Abbotsford staff have developed long-term strategy to address traffic backlogs

VIDEO: Burned Jeep matches suspect vehicle in two shooting incidents

Police discovered vehicle on fire overnight in Yorkson neighbourhood in Langley

VIDEO: One man suffers serious injuries in crash that closed Fraser Highway in Langley (updated)

One vehicle ends up in ditch after car and SUV collide, air ambulance called in

UPDATED: Gunfire erupts in quiet Langley neighbourhood early this morning

Police have 79A Avenue cordoned off after reports of shots just before 5 a.m.

Bringing the Quality back to Abbotsford

Bateman grad entering the All Star Wrestling ring on Thursday

VIDEO: Valley Vertikiller trail race

Highlights from the debut event on Saturday

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Most Read