Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear Editor: Thoughts on Racism

In response to this article about a despicable act of racism that happened to a family near us, I wrote this little piece and submitted it to our paper. Pass it on.

Dear Editor;

It was gratifying to read of the outrage of my neighbours and fellow citizens in the face of the racist slurs and violent attack against the King family in Forest Grove. I myself heard comments like “disgusting” or “how could they” or “I had no idea this could ever happen in this day and age”. Righteous indignation rising up against what was truly a despicable act of racism towards a family that happens to have African-Canadian members. Most certainly they deserve all our support!

As Canadians, we often consider ourselves beyond racism because overt acts of prejudice like this are rare but I honestly wonder how many of those same people who expressed horror at this attack have laughed at a “black” joke? Commented on “Chinese drivers”? Forwarded an email or two that attacks immigrants as not being Canadian enough? Ignore the woman passed out on the sidewalk and justify it to themselves that it’s “Just a drunk Indian”?

I want to challenge my fellow community members that were horrified by this overt act to take a stand as well against the little acts of prejudice that happen around us every day. Do you know that your teenager calls his friends “Nigga” on Facebook? Do you let your child imitate an Indo-Canadian neighbours’ accent? Do you stop jokes, or sweeping generalizations about our friends and neighbours when you hear them? Do you stop yourself from making assumptions about the people you see at the park or at the mall?

It’s not ok to steal a little, or drink and drive a little and it is not ok to be “racist a little”. ALL prejudice and ALL racism hurts, and sometimes the little things hurt more because they are not acknowledged by the community.

Some will say that their prejudice, comments or jokes are justified because a certain group is prejudiced against them. My response? Be responsible for your own house! There is never an excuse to do something wrong just because someone else is doing it too. My children deserve better and so do yours, no matter the color of their skin, their language of birth or the composition of their family.

If you are not part of the solution on ENDING racism you are part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution so that we are just as horrified by the racist jokes as we are by the spray painted home.



mama2roo said...

Great letter! Do you think they will publish it?

Unknown said...

Great article, Jen. I look forward to it coming out in our local paper as this happened 20 min from our house.

Unknown said...

The article was printed in today's paper. Yeah.