Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada! Today’s podcast and blog post deals with the need for change because what we have right now is not working and the media is making it more and more clear. We see the results of racism, intolerance of all sorts daily in the media. If you are going to be offended by opinions on racism and intolerance in Canada, then I suggest you move on, you don’t want to hear this. I have to say this is my own author opinion and not affiliated with the opinions of A & J PEI Treasures in general or any other entity. This is purely my opinion. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned!
We watch horror shows and fear the monster under the bed. But, there is a monster more pervasive and darker than anything M. Night Shyamalan or Stephen King could ever come up with and it’s real, current and out in the open. It makes Lestat in Interview with The Vampire by Anne Rice look like a sweet gentle soul full of love and compassion. I have seen a lot of this type of monster in the news lately. I’m not a political person and I fail to see how caring for your fellow human could or should become a political move. I always thought it was the way human beings should function…not for popularity, nor for politics nor for religious fervor, but just good old human common decency. So, for those of you that want to make this a politically driven argument, go away! I’m not interested in politics nor popularity. I’m interested in the “Human Condition”, such as it is. The monster is not under the bed, but out in full view and is racism, intolerance and its effects.
Right now in Canada, they have found 215 dead children buried in a mass grave in British Columbia. Don’t fool yourself, these are NOT the only dead children they will find. It is heart breaking and a brutal look at a disastrous Government and Church plan to assimilate First Nations Children. Can it be made right? No, it can never be made right! What can be done, well if you are political minded, then go and bug whoever you can contact in the Government…in that way you might stand a chance at making it political. Sadly, we all know they will most likely find more dead children. Start pushing the church to release documentation or provide funding for the excavation and identification of these poor dead children to give families closure if that is what it takes for the victimized people. Go with what fits their needs…they’re the ones to talk to about what to do.
One of the hard history lessons we need to remember is that this country was settled by people who had different ideals and beliefs than we do now…at least that is my hope…that they had different ideals from us…that maybe we have come ahead some. The original settlers in North America believed that the white man was superior and this carried forward for many generations resulting in things like slavery and the residential school system. This was something that was mainstream thought and went unquestioned for a long time. They thought nothing of the people they were displacing nor of the people that were dying from their discovery and colonization of the new world because they were superior. I don’t say this to be nasty or because they were bad people. That was the overriding thought on life at the time. This was how it was. I can’t change it, I can’t change history. I can learn from it though and try to think about things differently than my ancestors. I can learn from the pain of the people involved. Their pain breaks my heart and I have been exposed to it long before now. I worked in a Northern town in Alberta for several years. I heard of the residential system and the horrors that students were exposed to. I heard about the poverty and the lack of proper housing and numerous other heart breaking stories.
The second incident that pushed me toward this blog post was that there was a Muslim family walking on their own side walk. They were run into by a car. People killed of all ages and one child in serious condition in the hospital. At first you think….oh what a tragic accident. Then the reality hits. You read the headlines and the article stating that a man was arrested and they suggest that there is evidence this was premeditated. Shock happens. They suggest it wasn’t an unfortunate accident, it may have been targeted. This is sad and makes one think about racism more and how much it costs humanity in general.
Where did this attitude come from? The one that allows people to harm others who are not of their race or religion etc. Well, dear readers and listeners…it’s not really a mystery it came from around them. This miasma fog of rotten misinformation and conspiracy theories, hearsay from family and others that allow people to feel justified in doing harm because they form an opinion on a whole group from information without evidence. This is wrong. We are wrong to allow this to perpetuate throughout our beautiful country! We allow people to talk like this around us and say nothing. Look at what racism has cost us. It has cost us lives, it has cost us trust, and it has cost dignity of some, loss of safety and lives. It has cost us dearly but it has cost the victims more dearly. There are good and bad people in every possible group.
So, now we see that we are not immune to racism. We are not immune to intolerance. It happens quickly and it lasts and like the monster in the movies, destroys all within its path. What can we, as people, do to stop this? Well, first of all, we need to take notice of what we say to our children. When we tell our children someone is bad because of their religion or their color or orientation or any other factor they have no control over, we are telling children it is ok to judge people on something that they cannot change. You are telling children it’s ok to mistreat someone because they are different. Your language tells your children that the ‘bad people’ are less than human and therefore not deserving of equal treatment. This is not going to improve the world around you. Tell your children about the damage that has occurred from hate and encourage them to learn more about their friends and other people who are from different cultures. There are many articles online that have suggestions on how to approach this. It’s not like you have no resources. If you want to, you can even check with the local library, they might have books that they can suggest to explain things to children or programs to help them learn about different people. When you start with the children, we have a chance of educating them and they will educate their parents and grandparents. If you hear someone putting down others based on being different, then have a discussion about what these attitudes have cost in lives and in terms of tax payer money. You see, every case that goes to trial because of this intolerance or racism costs tax payers as well. Who do you think pays the crown prosecutors, counselling the victims? Every case where people are harmed or killed, costs in terms of money, police are paid to investigate, lawyers to prosecute and defend just to name a few. If you don’t understand in terms of human suffering and it has no meaning for you, then understand in terms of it costs money and time and administrative stuff….and yes, you are paying for it. It doesn’t just cost lives, mental health and dignity, but also money for treating, prosecuting, etc. It is not worth the many costs that are incurred with this hate that is being grown and cultivated in creating controversial rhetoric about those different from you. Love or tolerance costs so much less than hate.
The situations I have pointed out are just two of the most recent ones. I would not have to look back too far to find different cases. This is the ugly side to the world we live in. We have to stop being afraid to admit that our history is rife with examples of intolerance and we need to be better as people. We have to stop hating based on someone being different. You do not have a right to bully, beat, kill, or maim people because they don’t suit you based on colour, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other criterion. We may have the constitution, but until we all believe it, all we have is a piece of paper that will result in maybe fines or jail, but it won’t result in people being treated with respect and dignity. It is our responsibility to provide respect for each other and others. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Those little children are now adults and one has died of heart condition. I think we have to stop dreaming and start doing if there is hope for his remaining children to be given the opportunity to do what their father dreamed of. Start taking action to make this a reality. We can do it, but we have to work for it. We need to do more to dispel myth, conspiracy and learn more about our fellow citizens. We need to speak up and let people know what harm intolerance and racism cause.
So, be unrealistically realistic and understand that the world was not created for you or your little groups alone. We have a variety of humans because that is what came with the world. Things haven’t changed. No true religion preaches harm your fellow human. I know what I would choose. I hope others would choose to make this a better world too! Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog posts and for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
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