Everyone poured their morning coffee? It’s time to sit back and perhaps become a little uncomfortable as we confront the issue of systemic racism. We hear some statements where people don’t even equate their words as being offensive. No it is not meant to be, let us first examine a few things and then just maybe we can all think of a solution to some of them.
Ever heard “I never did any of the nasty things that were done so why should it concern me?”
You were not here but the entire society benefited from, was predicated on the disgraceful behavior of those who came and took what they wanted. We can’t say the land didn’t belong to anyone either. Think of it this way, the wilderness was a supermarket, it was a clothing store, it was an energy source for water and heat. The land base belonged to various tribes by virtue of societies.
The European Migrants came and over ran the land, changed the laws for their benefit and brushed the inhabitants aside. The next step in Canada was cultural genocide through the residential schools. The rightful owners of the land were put on Reserves often on the land of least quality. Even today the end has not come. Corporations feel they should be able to cross the lands in question. The second problem is some of these lands are where the resources are.
A friend of mine summed it up in a way that made me stop and think when he said “It’s like a pimp saying he never had anything to do with prostitution. Maybe he didn’t engage in the wrong doing directly but he did benefit from it.”
We have a litany of bad behavior, the Chinese exclusion act the purpose to deny people citizenship. The inhumane treatment of the first Indo-Canadians who tried to make Canada home.
The truth is we have statues depicting greatness. The problem does not belong to you and I alone. Our institutions of society, from church to governments fed us as skewed view of the truth. Yes, Sir John A was the father of Canada and forged our place in the world. He also gave license to some very corrupt people to build the national railway. At his feet we also lay the shame of the residential school system. There are a host of bad actors that got themselves a name plaque or statue. The question is not, should they have the honor, or a statue.
The question is, how do we tell the whole truth in our school system? How do we make all those living in today’s Canada aware of the truth about the characters in our nations historical binders?
We must all ask those hard questions and acknowledge these things were done. Ask ourselves how it is that we are silent or in a few words brush off what was done while at the same time knowing full well we would be denouncing such acts today.
No we should not rewrite history, we have already done that, what we need to do is write the truth. As for the statues and monuments we should debate their fate. They may in the end serve an educational purpose.