The exchanging of ideas and opinions, even on public forums brought to us by social media, can often be a good thing.
With open, constructive dialogue, we can often reach a compromise which makes for a better solution in the end, or, at the very least, gain a better understanding of the other’s point of view.
It’s a slippery slope in our modern era, however, due to the number of people empowered by the anonymity of the keyboard, offended by every viewpoint other than their own, or who have become close-minded disciples of entitlement.
I became aware of a few threads making their way around the cyber galaxy this past month and was quite disheartened to see how heavy-handed the empowerment disciples were with their responses, while the comments of some others bordered on racist – and they were speaking to people of their own culture!
The topic being discussed centred on the comments of three Inuit concerning employment in Nunavut; with two being students in high-profile programs and the third a college graduate who dabbles in politics from time to time.
And, while the three received plenty of comments supporting their stance, they also received more than their share of negativity, some of which was quite personal.
The three expressed their thoughts on gaining employment in Nunavut, especially jobs with the Government of Nunavut or the regional Inuit associations, etc., that come with big paycheques, substantial benefit packages and generous pension plans for those golden retirement years.
To their way of thinking, no one was entitled to these jobs for the simple fact they’re Inuit, and Nunavummiut should get out there and gain more post-secondary education and skills training in order to qualify for these positions.
When that happens, Nunavut will move a lot closer to its goal of 85 per cent Inuit employment at a much quicker pace.
Throw in a healthy dose of work ethic and there you have the plan for a bright future right here in Nunavut.
I fully support what these young folks said as the absolute truth of the matter, so I had a difficult time understanding some of the harshness and resentment that was sent back their way.
The exchange did, however, lend credence to the doubt I’ve harboured for a long period of time over an opinion I’d heard expressed many times by many different people.
To their apparently accepted way of thinking, it is useless for non-Inuit in Nunavut to preach about the way to a better life through the pursuit of education, the nurturing of a solid work ethic, and the adoption of ambition and the will to succeed in order to provide a better quality of life for one’s family.
That message, they claim, has to be delivered by an Inuk to have any hope of being heard.
Well, these were three Inuit trumpeting the benefits of personal ambition and higher education; two of whom are bright young students with promising futures and one of whom is already enjoying a fair amount of success, thank you very much.
In any race, creed or culture, for a message to be heard and accepted, its people must first want to hear the message.
And, in any race, creed or culture, you will have those who don’t want to hear the message, and will do anything to keep others from hearing it so that they can keep making excuses as to why they’re still part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Here’s hoping more young, inspired Inuit will join in beating the drum of taking responsibility for the path in life one chooses, and that the rewards are out there if you’re willing to work to obtain them.
And, hopefully, they won’t allow themselves to be shouted down by those who feel they deserve the rewards without putting in the effort or making any positive contribution to society.
In fact, it’s a positive message that more and more are going to hear and follow on their way to a higher standard of life for all Inuit.