Friday, 31 May 2013

Birth of a Nation - Canadian Style?

Some folks really ought to do their homework.

In my mailbox today I have an offer to buy a commemorative ring with a custom engraving saluting World War One and the battle of Vimy Ridge. The good people at The Bradford Exchange want us to celebrate 'the Birth of Our Nation' in World War One. What's wrong with that?

There is the minor fact that for Canadians who actually fought in the war, it would have been either the Great War or the First World War. But American nomenclature tends to colonize this way...

But how about the engraving on the ring: 'Birth of a Nation'? Even putting aside the doubtful historical veracity of this claim (how the real birth of the nation is the commemoration of Vimy rather than the battle itself), there is the bigger problem of wording. Did these folks at the Bradford Exchange not bother to put the words 'Birth of a Nation' into google? They should try it. They might find out that even those who want to celebrate Vimy and its importance to the Canadian nation might be a bit alarmed at the use of wording identical to a horrifically racist film from the war years - a film that celebrated the southern version of the history of American reconstruction - a history that justified the Jim Crowe south with its brutal violence and systematic dehumanizing of African Americans.

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