Rant Time: Crazy Neighbors

For much of 2020 it has felt like the world has gone completely mad, as if an unchecked fire was slowly burning our outdated social institutions to the ground. Unfortunately for my American neighbors, this isn’t just a poignant simile, but an actual reality in the wake of widespread protest and rioting…

While I am usually doggedly vocal in the sharing of my views on international issues, politics, ethics, and social justice matters, for perhaps the first time in my life, I have remained mostly on the sidelines of this issue. Let me be absolutely clear though, this is not because I have any question as to which side I am on, the core of my personal ethical code is one of humanism; the ecumenical equality of all humans, regardless of genetic circumstance. I have been struggling to join this fight for the most foolish of reasons, whether true or not, I feel like my opinions, wisdom, and support are not wanted because of the colour of my skin…

Whether it’s even factually correct or not, I am judged by others to be a ‘white man’. Personally, I identify as an ethnic Canadian, my maternal heritage can be traced backed over three centuries in this country to a union between a French fur-trader and a native Algonquin. In a time before black slaves were even on this continent, those of mixed french-native heritage(Metis) were the socially disadvantaged race, not accepted into either society fully. Unlike our neighbors to the south, the roots of the systemic and institutional racism in my country have always been aimed at the indigenous peoples…

It’s sometime difficult for me to imagine the true depth of the racism that is part of the American culture, because it’s so foreign to the culture that I have lived. I was born into a great societal experiment, in the heart of the multi-cultural utopia that is Toronto. Under a doctrine born in the tenure of our current prime-minister’s father, the children of my generation were literally educated and programmed to be tolerant of racial, gender, and sexual differences. Immigration was increased to the point that during my life-time, ‘white-people’ have become a visible minority in the city(and many of those are 1st or 2nd generation European immigrants). As alarming as those measures may sound to your average right-wing, white, asshole, the truth is they worked…

Growing up in the city meant being one of a handful of white-Canadians in the class. My friendships were formed on the basis of shared interest rather than shared ethnicity. I’ve had friends of just about every race, nationality, or religious affiliation. I tolerate no prejudice in my personal circle, and have passed those values on to my children. I know the last thing anyone wants to hear right now is another virtue-signalling white-man, so I stay silent. It’s not that I even care to be perceived as virtuous, preferring instead to live an unheralded life of walking what I talk…

The only solace I can offer my loud, sometimes rude, and often misguided neighbors is that there is a way to integrate a vast array of people with social, ethnic, and philosophical differences into a cohesive society, and it starts with the children. The unfortunate reality is that America is a generation or two behind Canada and some western-European nations in this regard, but it’s not too late to start making changes.

I’d like to use the example of my eldest daughter, whom when left to her own devices has never had a white-Canadian friend. A few weeks ago, she had been chatting with a neighborhood friend and invited her over to our home without even asking permission. I was naturally, quite upset with her considering the social distancing rules of the corona-virus pandemic. My wife however interceded after speaking to my daughter privately and allowed it. Later she took me aside and explained the situation…

My daughter’s friend is mulatto, she had been having a tough time during the lock-down because she is the only non-white in the household and confided that she is often treated poorly by her mother’s family because of this. My daughter, a mere nine years old, was moved enough by compassion that she offered the girl refuge immediately. The fact that my home has always been a place where people of all ethnicities’ can be free of hate says all that needs to be said about the values of my family. As heart-warming as knowing that my daughter is well on the path to becoming a good-person is, it was equally saddening to me, that such racism-driven injustices should still exist, even so close to home…

I’ve seen enough ‘stay in your lane’ warnings from BLM to be sure that while my vocal support is not required, as the only-thing worse than ‘man-splaining’ is ‘white-man-splaining’, I will continue, as always to be an ally in spirit, and in action…I learned long ago that I only have the power to change my own small tribe, so that’s what I’ll be doing over in my lane…

One Comment Add yours

  1. Misha DawaiOser says:

    Your “crazy” American internet friend thanks you for being a calm voice of reason. It’s refreshing to see so many Canadians ally with the fight against oppression and social injustice. Yes, it’s not exclusive to my country, but after 600 years of this barbaric behavior and infantile thinking, it’s deeply-rooted into the fabric of daily life; which is disgusting. I swear often that if America becomes “too much”, I will move to Canada. 🤣🥳

    Liked by 1 person

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