Nope, you didn't wake up in an alternate reality – this is a real headline that ran in the Globe and Mail on December 29, 2016:
Lynching? pic.twitter.com/YTLVTJ6cbm— Steve Ladurantaye (@ladurantaye) December 29, 2016
On the same day that a new poll reports two-thirds of Canadians agree Indigenous people in Canada face discrimination, the Globe and Mail decided to publish a column comparing the unfolding controversy surrounding well-known Canadian author Joseph Boyden's Indigenous identity – sparked by an investigative report by award-winning investigative journalists at APTN, no less – to a "lynching."
Globe columnist Konrad Yakabuski, who points out he once read Boyden's The Orenda and found it personally fulfilling, claims Boyden is the victim of a "confederation of aggrieved minorities":
"In the age of Idle No More and Black Lives Matter, grievance is the glue that keeps groups such as these together."
And after worrying about what this "angry mob of identity politics" is doing to "Western democracies," Yakabuski concludes:
"Mr. Boyden's lynching should set off alarm bells in this regard."
The Globe later edited the headline on the newspaper's website, replacing "lynching" with "attacks," although the online version of the column still concludes with Yakabuski comparing the author's identity crisis to a "lynching."
Here's a sampling of how Twitter reacted:
I reported it as a typo/spelling error. "This article uses lynching in a way that reveals that the author does not know what lynching is" pic.twitter.com/BFiwN7qipj— Eve Tuck (@tuckeve) December 29, 2016
@konradyakabuski Was a bunch of malcontents and you can tell us exactly why you're right and we're wrong? We've been waiting.— RedIndianGirl (@RedIndianGirl) December 29, 2016
Oh, right, they dont care what Indigenous people are saying about it, they just want to rail against their fave nemesis 'identity politics'— Genrys (@GenrysG) December 29, 2016
So much vile in this & white people, being "lynched" is nothing like "being the subject of some rather contentious conversation at brunch." https://t.co/CGdgiMCaLz— Tabatha Southey (@TabathaSouthey) December 29, 2016
In 2017, can we resolve to make more judicious use of "lynched"? Unless there were weapons and a length of rope involved, pick another verb.— Gillian Hnatiw (@gillianhnatiw) December 29, 2016
According to Globe & Mail, politely asking a white man questions is "lynching" & Black Lives Matter protesting police violence is foolish.— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) December 29, 2016
Sad, @konradyakabuski, you have failed to read Indigenous opinion or honour knowledge before spouting typical settler platitudes. Ugly.— Ian Capstick (@iancapstick) December 29, 2016
@EmmMacfarlane Agree. There's an important discussion of identity to be had here. Casual belittling only generates anger.— Dan Gardner (@dgardner) December 29, 2016
There are lots of smart folks--Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike--who are also offering important, well-informed insights. Seek them out.— Daniel Heath Justice (@justicedanielh) December 29, 2016
“So, K-Y, are you REALLY sure you want to describe the mere reporting of facts as…”— Colby Cosh (@colbycosh) December 29, 2016
“IT. WAS. A. LYNCHING.”
“…Your funeral, buddy." https://t.co/t3s6HbG5ik
On the other hand, if Globe and Mail readers want to inform themselves with something a little more thoughtful and rational on the topic, here's a column by Indigenous academic Hayden King:
Photo: B. Aarsteinsen. Used under Creative Commons license.