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Opinion Nov 12, 2019 9:40 AM EST

A response to Don Cherry’s firing from a daughter of immigrants

A daughter of an immigrant family explains why she doesn’t think Don Cherry’s “you people” comment was offensive or racist.

A response to Don Cherry’s firing from a daughter of immigrants
Jessica Swietoniowski Toronto, ON

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

One evening our neighbours came over for dinner. They asked my parents, “Where are you from?”

My father’s response, “We are from Poland, but now we are Canadian.”

A proud patriotic daughter moment right there.

My parents raised me with Polish traditions but moved to Canada–nay, fled to Canada–to give my sister and I a better life. In Canada, we have freedoms and a great quality of life that not everyone around the world is fortunate to have.

Political correctness and cancel culture have taken leaps forward while moving us, a free society, backwards.

People are scared to speak honestly or have different views. Even the slightest amount of patriotism can be construed as racism or white supremacy.

Don Cherry, 85, has just been fired from Sportsnet where he has been hosting Hockey Night in Canada for 38 years. This may qualify him as a Canadian treasure–but not even a beloved Canadian sports host can escape the outrage culture we live in.

His recent on-air rant about the lack of poppies worn around Toronto in which he used the term “you people” has gotten him canceled.

What’s even more crazy is that he was fired on Remembrance Day, for defending the poppy and our veterans.

In 2016, shows that 47 percent of Torontonians are immigrants. And let’s not forget immigrants come from all over the world.

Context is important. In this context, Cherry’s use of the term “you people” is about people coming to Canada because they love our way of life but don’t show support with a poppy.

Every Remembrance Day we remember the sacrifice and blood spilt by our service men and women that fought for the very same freedom that many immigrants, including my parents, fled for.

Personally, I’m not a huge hockey fan. I’m a little bit ashamed as a proud Canadian to admit that. But even not being a huge fan, I know who Cherry is: He’s a legend.

I won’t forget his speech when Rob Ford was being sworn in as mayor of Toronto. Wearing a bright pink suit and referring to liberals as “pinkos.”

Cherry ends his speech with, “Put that in your pipe you left-wing kooks.”

Come on, are we really outraged by him? Or is he a brass old man with such a huge personality he can hardly wear a simple black suit.

People will search for any miniscule thing to be outraged about so they can shut down anyone that doesn’t follow their PC rules.

Even then, no one has taken it very seriously–with intention to hurt someone.

Also, for anyone who knows Cherry well, knows he uses the expression “you people” in his colloquial way of speaking.

“The war is over, we forget about it now. All you people out there [showing your support this week] that’s terrific. If you think anything of it, you’ll do what you should do,” said Cherry in Oct. of 2014.

Again, my parents are immigrants–and they’re white as snow. The most spice they use on their food is salt and pepper.

Not once did Cherry mention race or colour in what has been dubbed his “anti-immigration rant”.

When I first heard the clip, I didn’t even flinch until someone paused it and said, “He’s in trouble for saying ‘you people’.”

Not only did I roll my eyes I went on my own little rant.

You people means you people. “You people” meaning the people that come to our great country and don’t assimilate, meaning respect the customs and traditions of this great country.

The people who want our freedom because they didn’t have it back home yet won’t give a dollar to help our veterans who fought for that freedom.

The people that love our democracy, our free speech, our freedom to practice their religion but won’t honor the soldiers that made all of that possible.

Cherry isn’t wrong. What’s wrong is when a Canadian–born or immigrated– doesn’t show the respect that our veterans deserve.

I can proudly say my immigrant parents wear a poppy. They love this country and are grateful to be here.

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