Ignoring racism is not going to end it

Let’s Talk About It

Lori Deets

I pride myself on being open-minded. I enjoy good conversation with meaningful context and feeling.

I want to be able to talk about the elephants in the room, and I want to always be respectful and open-minded when I do so. The great thing about respectful discussions is the possibility of hearing something new, which gives us an opportunity to learn something new. If we aren’t quite sold on what we are being told, we can do some more research.

Nowadays, the world is our oyster. We can find vast amounts of information at the click of a button. However, when it comes to another human being aggressively and forcibly insisting upon their dominance on a particular subject, like racism, I become a little less open-minded.

I’ve always loved this quote by Herbert Spencer:

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

This quote made me understand that my intolerance and denial, my contempt of a new idea, can keep me stuck in false beliefs. If I want to grow as a human being, I have to accept that I don’t know everything and at times I am wrong. I have to accept that sometimes being wrong is O.K.

I have written a lot about racism here in Moose Jaw over the past week. I knew that this is a sensitive topic and that my writing would likely not change the minds of the naysayers. But, I had hoped to bring to the surface some truths about the ugliness of racism.

I knew there would be some that wouldn’t understand, but I hoped that there would be those who would be willing to learn something new. I am not out to prove someone a liar or a racist. I simply want us to be open to the simple fact that racism exists. Pretending it doesn’t, won’t make it go away.

Whether you believe the restaurant incident occurred or not was never important. We have a problem with racism here. And it’s not just here; It’s everywhere.

I don’t want to call out and shame the people who may still be living in stereotypical views. I want to educate and show everyone how we can do better.

My experiences in life has taught me that we all deal with the same struggles: suicide, addiction, divorce, family violence and mental health. And these challenges are not racist.

They don’t care what colour you are or how much money you have. They affect us all. So why do we continue to beat each other up with racist stereotypes? We should be empathizing and supporting one another. And if you can’t or won’t help someone, then at least don’t hurt them.

Racism affects every facet of our lives, our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well being. Racism kills and it is killing our members of society everyday — Colten Boushie, Barbara Kentner, I could go on but that would take all my column.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work opened the door for conversations about the problems Indigenous people face and included 94 Calls to Action to address them.

There is much work to be done.

It is imperative that we learn and understand Canada’s true history of colonization and the resulting biases Indigenous people are up against. If you would like to learn more about our history here in Canada, please see the Moose Jaw Public Library for details of the next Blanket Exercises, Aug. 16 and 23.

There are two main points I wanted to drive home today. First, if you continue to deny racism and try to prove it doesn’t exist whether that be in general or a specific situation, you are part of the problem of perpetuating racism. Denial only makes this problem worse.

Second, we need to stop arguing with the ones who just want to argue. They will either fall in line eventually or not. As a community, let’s pledge to not allow racism in any form and as we work to address it in our community, let’s do it in a respectful and open-minded way.