Letters to Iskra Editor
RE: Douk is a negative word to my generation.January 14, 2007
Yesterday when a friend of mine from the Kootenays pointed out that an article in the December 14th, 2005, issue of Iskra was ‘for the shits’, I took notice. I guess I missed reading ‘How Miss Grinchoff Stole Christmas’.
Indeed, the article in question was of bad taste. The repeated use of the word ‘Douk’, ‘Douk-Ville’ and ‘Douk-borshch’ is derogatory and belongs to the dustbin of history.
Years back in the late 1950s, as editor of The Inquirer, the Vancouver Sun challenged me to do a study to show that sensational headlines and careless handling of news had been the cause of discrimination to minority groups such as the Doukhobors. After looking at 34 daily and weekly newspapers in BC, I discovered that the use of the word ‘Douk’ was used in 15 percent of all the headings in the sample and in most of these cases the referent was inaccurate and often prejudiced by innuendo. The December 18, 1957 issue of the Vancouver Sun, for example, had a glaring front page prejudicial headline ‘Douk Bomb Blasts Peril 4 Officials’.
I also found that CBC in 1957 had forbidden the use of words that like ‘Douk’ are considered to be derogatory to color, nationality or religion. Among these words are “Yank’, ‘kike’, ‘coon’, ‘dago’, ‘wop’, ‘limey’, ‘Jap’, ‘Chink’ and ‘Bohunk’. Surely, Iskra should avoid these derogatory titles and follow good journalistic policies. After all, you are part of the public trust that sets a good example.
Happy New Year to you and your staff.
Koozma J. Tarasoff, Ottawa, Ontairo
Ed. Note: We are sorry that anyone would take offense to the story mentioned in this letter. However, the entire message in that story was clearly completely missed by those who were offended by a single word. Please see the editorial in this issue.
Lisa Poznikoff, Editor
Iskra, Castlegar, BC
I would like to again remind Iskra readers about the care we need when we use words.
The word ‘Douk’, for example, is analogous to the thought ‘you fool’ and carries its own ill-defined vibrations that continue to reflect negatively on all Doukhobors. To use it is disrespectful. In fact the trauma of this label persists and tends to be used as a diatribe against any form of cultural variation such as that of the Doukhobors. As Spirit Wrestlers, we need to avoid this truncated use, even for so-called low-brow humour purposes.
If you need support for the argument that ‘Douk’ is offensive, you need look no further than that of world famous Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto and his best seller The True Power of Water: Healing and Discovering Ourselves (1995). Dr. Emoto has discovered that negative words carry their own vibrations in deformed manner. In contrast, positive words such as ‘well done’, ‘peace’ and ‘love’ emit beautiful and well-formed energy called ‘hado’.
If you or your readers do not agree with this conclusion, then here is an issue that deserves meaningful discussion.
Koozma J. Tarasoff, Ottawa, ONT.