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The Winnipeg Jets statement is not good enough

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Black Lives Matter Movement Inspires Protest In London Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The Jets released a statement on Tuesday and it is essentially using Blake Wheeler as a shield and spokesperson instead of their own words.

In 2015 Macleans Magazine called Winnipeg Canada’s most racist city. I am not going say whether Macleans was right or not, but the immediate reaction for some people was “no, we’re not” instead of actually looking at why that accusation could be made. It came down to the treatment of Indigenous people here and there are other minority groups who have also spoken up about the racism they face.

So what is inadequate about the Jets response: it does not address the specific issue that is being protested right now (racial inequalities to Black people including racialized policing), it fails to call out George Floyd’s death as a murder, it fails to address the police violence that is being perpetrated, and the Jets hide behind Blake Wheeler’s words. Wheeler spoke at length yesterday about him needing to do better and be a better ally. But that is Blake talking about Blake. That is not Blake speaking up for the Winnipeg Jets.

The Winnipeg Jets statement barely touches on the topics at hand, and while the Jets concede that they have more work to do, they also ignore the specific nature of the protests being about Black people facing racism and police violence by not stating their specific community.

Words are some of the most powerful tools we have. The words we use speak volumes about how we are thinking. When we use vague words and fail to acknowledge what people are saying, we are failing to acknowledge that we hear them. When someone fails to use specific words like racism, protest, inequality or inequity, and murder by police officers, they are failing to hear what is being said. The Winnipeg Jets can stand against racism against all minorities, but by failing to acknowledge the Black community in this moment, they are failing to acknowledge them at all.