The controversy over Calgary band Viet Cong has flared up again as the calendar days tick closer to the Polaris Music Prize gala and the chance the newbie quartet's debut album stands to win them $50,000 purse and turn infamy into acclaim.
Exclaim magazine writer April Aliermo eloquently argues that the band's name is racist.
In part she writes: "The Vietnam War only ended 40 years ago. The Vietnamese diaspora is still dealing with the aftermath of this war and the Viet Cong. It doesn't matter if the band's music is good or if they are nice guys; people who organize our concerts and who attend our shows are deeply hurt and affected by these young men naming themselves Viet Cong.
"While nobody is getting beat up or visibly excluded, there are several other kinds of racism happening here. Instead of trying to exercise a little bit of empathy, a lot of people are quick to make "intellectual," derailing arguments. These guys can name themselves whatever they want, but they should know that by ignoring a marginalized group of people and taking something that isn't theirs to take, they are ultimately excluding people because of race."