That this issue is never far from my mind lately, it's no wonder that William Faulkner's "Dry September" struck a chord. It begins with a scene in a barber shop where the men plan to take the law in their own hands. It is unclear what exactly happened that has them worked up so much, but there has been a rumour going around about one of the town's white women and a possible attack, possible by a black man. As people are wont to do, many fill in the blanks themselves and it becomes their truth. If you want a sense of the ugliness exposed by Faulkner, consider how far this line, "Do you claim that anything excuses a nigger attacking a white woman?" is from the line, "Do you claim that anything excuses one human being from attacking another?"
I wasn't a fan of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, the only thing I've read by him until now, but I loved the complex layers in this story. Biases and rumours: two things which are definitely bubbling under the surface in Yellowknife right now. Fear sucks, no doubt about it, but if there's anything good to come from it, let's hope it's self-reflection.