Despite the celebratory mood in downtown Winnipeg yesterday prior to the Game 1 of the Winnipeg Jets’ opening round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, there are some people who aren’t exactly enamoured with Winnipeg’s infamous “Whiteout Party”. The reason? It marginalizes people of colour, or so says Winnipeg’s Black Space advocacy group.
According to Global News Winnipeg, Black Space Winnipeg founder Alexa Potashnik told Winnipeg radio station 680 CJOB that she drew attention to the issue online after seeing a headline that referred to turning downtown “white again”, and a photo of four men wearing all-white, hooded costumes.
Shortly after her radio segment, Potashnik’s social media was full of Jets fans who chastised her for politicizing something so innocuous as a hockey tailgating party. The Whiteout has NOTHING to do with skin colour or any other racial matter. It has to do with a hockey tradition. Nothing more.
“Obviously folks are feeling really defensive because they think we’re attacking something that is a Winnipeg thing – that we’re attacking our home, that we’re attacking the Jets culture,” said Potashnik.
“We’re not doing that. We’re getting people to think critically about it. If it’s primarily white people coming downtown wearing all white, painting their faces white… I’m sorry, that’s very concerning sometimes and you have to look at it from all perspectives.”
You know what? Fair point… but if anyone truly feels concerned for their safety based on their skin colour then they’re simply missing the point entirely. The fact is that you can be any colour, race, creed or gender and the Jets fanbase and the Whiteout will welcome you with open arms. This isn’t about race, it’s about the JETS, baby! Let’s keep it that way.