You ask where bigotry and intolerance come from. It comes from being different. Does what you are wearing define you? Does your language speak for you? Does your religion demand of you? The simple fact is being different can make you a target for intolerance and acting out.
I was very annoyed with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh the other day when he ranted against the racism he perceives in Canada. Rant against racism sir but do not rant against Canada.
Racism exists. It breeds in ignorance—even in a well-educated society. It is here but it is hardly systemic. It is like a weed on our well-cared for lawn. You dig it out when you find it and another grows in its place. You always have to keep weeding.
It is why we worry about those pitifully small-minded politicians in Quebec who feed off the tribalism of language with such impunity. They think they can deny people their religious symbolism. They are wrong. That is bigotry. Call it what it is.
And do not divide children in religious schools. Children need to feel accepted. They want to play, not hate.
I remember people being called ‘DPs’ after the Second World War. I was a child wondering what was wrong with being a ‘displaced person’? What was wrong with the Italian immigrants whose children had to translate for parents?
One meets racism in many ways, in many forms. It is in bad jokes that people send you. It is in careless terminology. It is in an unfriendly manner. It is the childish and ugly use of spray paint on the local synagogue or on the plinth of a statue. It is also in the type casting of races in movies and television programs. It surrounds us and it holds us back.
All we can do is keep on weeding.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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