It feels good. When there’s a big fiasco—a kerfuffle, if you will—and we’re not a part of it. When we can watch the squabbling from the outside looking in and shake our heads at how worked up people can get. For most of us, talking about the latest headlines at the water cooler can be interesting, but we’d rather not engage on much of a deeper level than “Man… Weird stuff, eh?” This is especially true when it comes to national and international politics. It feels better to just shrug and say, “Yeah, I don’t concern myself too much when it comes to that stuff.”
But do we resort to this kind of socially acceptable aloofness a little too often? Are there events going on with cultural and historical importance that we’re simply shrugging off as drama?
Honestly, I believe we should be holding each other more accountable on this. I mean, when it comes to the national budget, party leader races, trade issues, and other such subjects, I suppose we can be given a pass. We should care, but it’s ok if we’re not vocal about these things or if they don’t take up much thinking space in our brains..But what about when people’s welfare, rights, or their very lives are at stake? Do you speak up?
Here in Canada I think we’re having a big problem with this. For years we have condemned the actions of people in the southern US who had treated minorities as second class citizens at best, and as animals or property at worst. Yet in our own very recent history similar atrocities have been done by Canadian men and women against indigenous people. So recent that people my own age are telling horror stories from their childhood of mistreatment by the government, school, church, or other such institutions. But do we even care? When is the last time you’ve talked about this with someone? Doesn’t it sound like something that we should not only be vocal about, but be very vocal about?
And do you think it’d be any different for you if it was people your same skin colour, language, etc. who endured such things?
I wonder how I’ll answer a young person thirty years from now who says, “I can’t imagine living in a world where that behaviour is tolerated” and follows that up with, “They say many Canadians did nothing about this. What did you do back then?”
So, at times, go ahead and say it. “I’m not political.” But then there are times when we don’t get to do that and still claim to be decent, honest, and loving people. No. We don’t get that privilege. Either you care about your fellow countrymen and your fellow human beings, or you don’t.
And most importantly, I have to insist that this is not a scolding from me to you, the reader. It is a self-reflection and a soul-searching being fleshed out on (electronic) paper. I’ve weighed myself on the scales and been found wanting. I have a voice and need to make it heard more often. Maybe it’s in a letter to an MP, maybe it’s in a conversation with a neighbour.
No more standing on the outside looking in when people’s welfare is at stake. No more avoiding discussions about things that matter greatly to people who are different than I am. I may not be able to solve the world’s problems, but I do have a voice.
And everyone’s voice matters.
Congratulations Mississippi Burning. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in Selma.
Best Actor: Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in 42. And yes, that’s Black Panther.
Best Quote: “It is unacceptable that they use their power to keep us voiceless.” — David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.
I would love it if you would take a few minutes to click on this link and scroll down to the heading “Resources on Reconciliation” on the third page. You can choose not to, though I hope it’s because you have another source from where to start. If, on the other hand, you don’t care, please be honest and real about it and do not complain about any unfairness you may have experienced from the government, school, church, or any such institutions.