Girl jokes about being ‘whitest person ever’ after winning Indigenous scholarship, faces outrage
Social media users expressed outrage this past weekend as Instagram posts surfaced showing what appeared to be a young white student celebrating her scholarship intended for Indigenous youth. The girl’s family says they have a legitimate claim to Indigenous ancestry based on genealogical records, but Indigenous leaders are still skeptical.
Ainsley Whynacht, an 18-year-old still in high school, was announced as the winner of the 2019 Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) scholarship. The scholarship required applicants to submit an essay. NSGEU states in a Facebook post that Whynacht’s looked at “how the lack of access to public services has negatively affected the lives of Indigenous people.”
On her private Instagram, Whynacht makes light about the scholarship, calling it a “random essay on treatment of indigenous kids in school” and jokes about how the scholarship selection committee didn’t notice she was the “whitest person ever.”
In another post, Whynacht is seen holding up a bottle of tanning lotion, posting “its time for ya girl to fake tan or else that’s gonna be embarrassing.”
As backlash began to pour in after her private Instagram posts were screenshotted and distributed widely on the wider social media world, Whynacht was confronted with angry responses and demands to NSGEU to rescind the scholarship she had been offered. Whynacht responded by posting that she had “said I’m sorry already” and “all I did was write an essay.”
Later, in a conversation posted to Facebook, Whynacht attempted to demonstrate her Indigenous heritage by presenting a status card from the Woodland Metis nation, a highly controversial Metis nation that has been at the center of a debate about whether their claims to Indigenous identity are legitimate.
The Woodland Metis have been contested by various Indigenous scholars and groups, having no official Government recognition or recognition by the Métis National Council. The Nova Scotia-based Eastern Woodland Metis, of which Whynacht presented status from, no longer has an active website. The Grand Chief, Mary Lou Parker, passed away in summer 2019 and there appears to be no attempt to maintain the group.
After a Supreme Court decision in 2006 expanded the scope of who could claim to be Metis, the number of people self-identifying as Metis surged by over 125 percent by 2016, with new self-described Metis groups springing up in eastern Canada.
Cheryl Maloney, a Mi’kmaq activist and Professor of Political Science at Cape Breton University, notes the Eastern Woodland Metis have no connection to the cultural heritage or history of the recognized Metis of Canada. “The Metis in Nova Scotia are not actually tied to the constitutionally protected Metis. And if they are, they would be people who come to Nova Scotia and bring their status with them.”
Maloney says the creeping “raceshifting” of non-Indigenous people self-identifying as Indigenous is reflective of an “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality. Maloney says Wynacht’s story is rooted in racism, fraud, and entitlement.
“Nobody wanted to be Indigenous when there was so much racism, and [the Government] was stealing your kids, and the odds were against you—no one was aspiring to live that reality,” Maloney says.
Maloney said she doesn’t know about whether the scholarship can legally be rescinded from Wynacht, but hopes NSGEU learns from this mistake and consults the local Indigenous community in creating future criteria for the scholarship.
“They need to include Indigenous people in these deliberations,” she says. “If they did, they’re likely to get a young person from the community who everyone is looking up to as a future leader. We know who they are. We see them. We have young people who are destined for great things if given the opportunity.”
The Post Millennial reached out to Ainsley Wynacht, and received comment from her mother who called the outrage a “non-story”.
“Ainsley is Indigenous and has provided proof,” she said. She claims the family has documentation from the Universite de Ste. Anne demonstrating their Indigenous heritage.
Ainsley’s mother says the document, a genealogical family tree, demonstrates Indigenous heritage from the Mi’kmaq nation on her mother’s and grandmother’s side.
“It confirmed that we are indigenous. We had to provide baptismal certificates for the three latest generations. We went through the church, sent the baptismal information to the university and they did the rest of the research.”
When asked to see the documentaion, Ainsley’s mother said they would provide the document to NSGEU and The Post Millennial upon the family’s return to their home from their cottage.
Jarvis Googoo, a non-practising lawyer in Halifax and a Mi’kmaq from We’koqma’q First Nation, says connection to the Mi’kmaq community is more important than simply having an ancestor or two.
“I know I am distantly Irish, but this does not make me Irish.” he says, “I know I am Mi’kmaq because that is all I know, it is all my family has been.” adding that the Whynachts, or anyone else who believed themselves to hold claim to Indigenous ancestry, needed to approach the Indigenous community—not the government.
“Some claimants say they have one ancestor from the 1800s [so that] makes them Mi’kmaq or Metis. For me, what makes me Mi’kmaq is my mother was Mi’kmaq, and my grandmother was Mi’kmaq.”
Googoo says he hopes NSGEU rescinds the scholarship, “That is scholarship money that should and could have went to an actual Mi’kmaq Indigenous person instead. And if it can’t be recinded, then going forward the NSGEU, or any other organization wants to try and ‘help,’ they need to engage with us and we can teach them how to do it right.”
The NSGEU Facebook page issued a response Friday to the online outrage in a now-deleted post.
“We are aware of the social media posts circulating about the recipient of the NUPGE Scholarship for Indigenous Students, this information has been passed on to the National Union, NUPGE, who administers this award, so they may investigate this matter further,” read part of the statement.
“It’s unfortunate that people say offensive things on social media that they end up regretting,” read the rest of the NSGEU statement.
Prior to the interview with The Post Millennial, Ainsley’s mother said she was unaware of the controversies surrounding the Woodland Metis and had enrolled her daughter and herself with them in an effort to participate more actively with what she thought was a legitimate local Indigenous group.
On her daughter’s comments, she says she knows they were “in incredibly poor judgement,” stating that she had been very upset when she saw them. On her daughter’s reasoning, Tanya says that “she was being bullied for looking ‘too white to be Indigenous’ so she posted that she’d use fake tan to not look so white.”
Ainsley wrote an apology to NSGEU late last week.
“I would like to sincerely apologize that these pictures and their captions were so grossly misinterpreted and I assure you that I meant no disrespect towards the union nor Indigenous people,” said Ainsley in her apology letter.
“The colour of my skin does not erase my heritage, or my anger towards their treatment that I wrote very passionately about in the essay that won me this scholarship,” the apology continues. “Even the suggestion that I would fake my ethnic background is truly insulting for me and is just another example of people not taking my ancestry seriously just because I do not exactly ‘look the role’, as I have been told.”
The $1,500 scholarship goes to the winner of an essay competition who is entering their first year of post-secondary education.
Ainsley’s mother also sent The Post Millennial a sample of some of the death threats Ainsley received as a result of her comments, which ranged from wishes her “family dies in a house fire” to Instagram users messaging her to “eat sh*t you useless wh*re.”
Jarvis Googoo says the threats made against the Whynachts are “plain horrible,” adding, “there is a great and peaceful way to discuss this… Our treaties were based upon peaceful friendship and that is how I like to discuss this and educate.”
The Post Millennial reached out to NSGEU and NUGPE but did not receive comment from them by the time of publication.
Don Cherry was trying to make a point about patriotism, loving our country, and honouring those who sacrificed everything so we could be free.
Cherry had clearly seen a lot of people not wearing poppies, and as the public figure who has perhaps done more than any other to show support for our troops and encourage respect for Veterans, Cherry was obviously pissed off.
In remarks that—if people weren’t afraid of offending the cancel culture cops—most Canadians would admit to agreeing with, Cherry said that people who enjoy the freedom of coming here and living in Canada (enjoying freedom not enjoyed in many other nations) should at the very least wear a poppy to show respect for Canadians who fell in war.
Of course, any hint of patriotism or nationalism makes the elites go absolutely crazy, and that’s what happened.
The outrage mobs and cancel culture cops went into overdrive, and Sportsnet (a company that is apparently fine with letting communist China-controlled Huawei sponsor Hockey Night in Canada) fired Cherry.
And they fired him on Remembrance Day of all days, which is a huge insult and totally disrespectful to Cherry considering how much he has fought to stand up for Veterans and those who lost their lives for Canada.
By giving in to the outrage mobs, Sportsnet has disgraced themselves.
Cherry’s colleague Ron MacLean also threw Cherry under the bus, after nodding along with Cherry and giving a thumbs up to his remarks, he then acted like he didn’t really get Cherry’s comments.
Peter Mansbridge also wrote an article for CBC with the subheading, “The notion that Canada’s veterans were all white is dangerously wrong and an insult to thousands.”
Yeah, bro, that would be “wrong” and “offensive,” if Cherry had actually brought up race.
But he didn’t.
Cherry didn’t mention race at all.
So CBC pushes an article by Mansbridge that skews the facts to make it look like Cherry was talking about race?
Also, how about the loyalty of CBC throwing Cherry under the bus after all he’s done for them – including the millions of Canadians who only watched CBC for Hockey Night in Canada?
So now, this is where Canada is:
The Prime Minister wore blackface so many times he can’t even remember how often, and he’s still in power (after getting a big assist from the media), while Don Cherry—a man who does everything he can to bring attention to our veterans and honour our troops—gets fired for saying people should wear poppies.
It’s total hypocrisy, as the examples below make clear:
“Kellie Leitch: “Values Test”
Quebec Government: “Values Test”
Cherry: “Wear Poppies”
Elites: REMOVE HIM!!”
What the hell is going on?
This is a disgrace, and it shows once again why the establishment media and political elites need to be defeated. Their priorities and judgement are broken beyond repair.
Canadians have made it clear that they are outraged over Don Cherry’s firing. After the news broke, Sportsnet released a statement explaining why they had chosen to boot the Canadian icon.
In a statement, quite clearly written by some Bay Street PR firm, the media organization said that “Sports brings people together—it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussion with Don Cherry … it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down.”
Although Sportsnet desperately attempted to limit the damage, the vast majority of reactions to their post was negative. In the statement’s comment section, thousands of tempestuous hockey fanatics (some of whom would’ve grown up with Cherry), made their feelings known.
Some respondents labelled Don Cherry’s firing as a symptom of cancel culture, while others thought that Cherry’s removal was long overdue.
As well as this, some Twitter users vowed to never watch Sportsnet again. One man even declared that upon hearing the news he called his service provider to cancel his families subscription.
There has been much commentary over how Cherry is preferred by the older generation, rather than the younger. Indeed, many young hockey fans did not comprehend the older generation’s reverence of the pundit. One young Canadian made this point tersely.
All in all, Sportsnet’s decision has already proven to be deeply contentious for Canadians. Although the goal of the petition, cancellations, and public outrage is to get Cherry back into Coach’s Corner, it seems unlikely to occur.
A prolific Title IX activist and former Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California (USC) alleges that his school retaliated against him for his activism and that they “did all they could to sabotage” his chance of earning a Ph.D.
Now, he’s fighting back.
Kursat Pekgoz, 31, was relatively unknown until about two years ago. He studied Molecular Biology and English in Turkey and worked as a translator for some time. Five years ago he applied to USC in hopes of earning a Ph.D. in English.
By all accounts, Pekgoz was a standout candidate.
USC was smitten. Though Pekgoz received offers of admission from Tufts University and Rice University, USC wooed him away with an offer of the highly coveted Provost’s Fellowship, which covered his tuition and gave him a living stipend.
“Everything seemed fine during my first few years,” Pekgoz told TPM from his apartment in Los Angeles earlier this year. He conducted research, presented at conferences, and even taught one class a semester for three years.
But by 2017, Pekgoz noticed that his fellow male students had fewer scholarship opportunities than women. He wasn’t concerned for himself— Pekgoz received a full scholarship from USC—but for other male students.
“The injustice is obvious,” he told me.
To try to fix this, Pekgoz filed a federal complaint against USC in 2017, arguing that USC’s “women only” programs violate Title IX, a federal law that threatens to penalize schools if they fail to treat men and women fairly.
Women are the majority of undergraduate students, graduate students, and academic employees today. Despite this imbalance, many colleges offer massive scholarship opportunities and exclusive programs to promote their success.
The complaint was unprecedented. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) agreed the concerns might be legitimate, as I reported last January.
Noting his success, Pekgoz filed complaints against other colleges. Some nonprofits and attorneys followed his approach; 15 other colleges are now under federal review, according to exclusive documents provided to The Post Millennial.
Pekgoz’s unorthodox strategy catapulted him into the spotlight; both on campus and nationally. Outlets including NBC News, The Daily Wire, Refinery 29, The Chronicle of Higher Education, FOX News, USA TODAY, covered his activism efforts.
As fame graced Pekgoz, USC soon caught wind of his activism efforts. It is impossible to pinpoint exactly when his professors, dissertation committee, and fellow students started to catch on to Pekgoz’s activism.
But it caused him trouble, fast.
“I was on friendly terms with professors before they began shunning me for my stance on gender politics,” said Pekgoz. Two professors—Hilary Schor and Margaret Russett—“sabotaged my dissertation,” Pekgoz claimed.
“Hilary Schor vetoed my dissertation in secret right after she discovered about my Title IX activism, even though she gave me an A and praised my writing before.”
“Margaret Russett, a feminist professor who went to Yale, terminated my Ph.D. student status even though it was her pressure which led me to turn down offers of admission from Tufts and Rice” he added.
Neither professor responded to a request for comment.
In February 2019, Professor Emily Anderson emailed Pekgoz recommending “continuous enrollment for year 6” and noted that “that [USC] can absolutely provide a tuition/health award” if Pekgoz wanted to stay in the Ph.D. program.
But just one day before his sixth year, his dissertation committee changed course.
“I am writing in my role as Director of Graduate Studies to inform you that you will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program in English Language and Literature and the University of Southern California, effective immediately,” wrote Anderson on August 28.
She claimed Pekgoz failed to make “satisfactory progress” towards his Ph.D.
However, Pekgoz disputes the assessment and is fighting to get back to USC.
In an appeal letter submitted on September 27, Pekgoz claims USC officials singled him out, refused to grant his leave of absence request, and gave him an “arbitrary deadline” to submit his first thesis chapter which he claims no other student was subject to.
He also argued that there was “no formal precedent” for the deadline and that the stipulation that the thesis chapter be “viable” was “too vague and arbitrary.” Further, other students routinely take up to eight or nine years to finish their Ph.D., he wrote.
Pekgoz submitted an appeal on September 27. The process is ongoing.
“They were willing to honour me with distinctions before I started my advocacy, but they singled me out for persecution after my advocacy became public,” said Pekgoz. “This has a chilling effect on academic freedom and political discourse.”
“There’s no doubt my expulsion was politically motivated,” he added.
Thankfully, Pekgoz is currently employed. While he says he loves his work, he still hopes to return to USC and finish his Ph.D. Whether that will happen remains to be seen. USC offers three stages of appeal for dismissed graduate students.
The first stage, which involves a meeting with the Chair of the English Department, was denied. The second stage—which involves an appeal letter to Dean Finkle—was scheduled for November 4, but Pekgoz hasn’t heard back.
The last stage involves a formal hearing with Provost Sally Pratt. There is no date set for this hearing as of right now. “There is no date scheduled for this phase as of today. Still, [the situation] involves University employees, so I am going through the motions before taking it to Court.”
Toni Airaksinen is a columnist for PJ Media, The Post Millennial, and a digital strategist for kosher restaurants in Brooklyn, NYC. She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University, and has also contributed to Quillette, USA TODAY, and The Daily Caller. Follow the author on Twitter: @Toni Airaksinen.
#MeToo had rules. At least we thought so. Culturally, societally, politically, we all tried to learn them, to internalize them, to understand just what types of incidents could get a person ejected from their life, tossed out of their social group, ostracized from friends, unemployable, unpersoned. The rules seemed almost clear—until suddenly those who seem to be in charge of them don’t even follow their own logic anymore.
Katie Hill had an affair with a junior staffer, another woman, who feels that she was victimized. By the rules of #MeToo, that would dictate that Hill loses it all, right? Only somehow, it’s being spun the other way, by the same publications that brought us diatribes against Al Franken. Hill, it turns out, can also claim victim status at the hands of her ex, who was the one who released the information about the affair. In her resignation speech, Hill echoed Franken’s sentiments, that it seems absurd that she should be resigning when a guy like Trump is in the White House.
To recap: the wronged party is not the spouse, not the junior staffer, but the powerful person at the center of it. While it is true that Hill was the victim of revenge porn, and that is not acceptable, the same principle did not apply to Anthony Weiner or Joe Barton. It does not immunize her from her own wrongdoing.
“The squad” of freshmen congresswomen supported her during her recent tribulation. Nancy Pelosi, and other senior members of Congress, apparently wished that “Hill had been more careful in transmitting her private photos.”
Hill was given far more leeway in terms of the vocal and press lashing that other members of Congress who have found themselves exposed for sexual misconduct have faced. It turns out that she is being supported, not harassed and harangued. A staffer for Rep Sylvia Garcia (D-TX 29th), said, “A lot of the show of support was done intimately and privately with Hill, out of respect for her. … People didn’t want to be adding to the noise. We didn’t want to make press out of the pain and suffering she’s been through. She had private images published without her consent that have caused incredible pain.” Weiner did too, but no one had any sympathy for him at all.
The thing is, and yeah, we hate to be those people, but we can so easily imagine the reverse scenario. Here it is: a dashing young first-term congressman has an affair with a staffer years younger. He takes drugs, advertises his sexual availability on dating apps, and drags his wife into a threesome with the junior staffer. When the marriage breaks up—perhaps as a result of this kind of rampant infidelity, after all, they weren’t openly poly or ethically non-monogamous—the wife releases the dirt on the congressman to the world. She wants people to know just what kind of guy this is, how he is a liar and a cheater, a womanizer, and abuser, unfit to be in Congress. What then? Why she’s a hero, of course, and he’s a villainous letch.
Haven’t we heard this story before? Why is it so different now? Is Hill really a victim of her own sexual dalliances? Are we to believe that a woman who is strong enough to run and win a congressional campaign is so easy to bully? Perhaps we’re looking at it all wrong, readers, perhaps we don’t truly understand the nature of abuse or something, but what we do understand, what is perfectly clear, is that we’re supposed to believe all women, even when she is the abuser. We’re supposed to imagine that there is some substantive difference in how the rules are to be applied to men and women in the same deleterious circumstances.
Now, we’re the first to admit that the rules are stupid. That this game of pointing fingers and shaming people is nonsensical and barbaric is not something we doubt. But if there are going to be rules that we are all expected to play by, ought they not be, well, adhered to?
If #MeToo is meant to be the new standard that we all must bow down to, and it’s a given that men and women are equal, then we must apply the rules fairly, and everyone who has a complicated sexual relationship that leads to grievances must be punished. Or, maybe, just maybe, we could do away with this nonsense and start to see the human beings for what they are: flawed, complicated, and capable of cruelty and kindness.
#MeToo may have been an effective corrective in some situations, but it should never have risen to the level of an era. As it stands now, we are living through a “cultural context where common vengeance writes the law,” and the hypocrisy is destroying us. If the rules don’t apply the same way for everyone, perhaps the rules are the problem.