So I tend to keep my social presence deliberate and politically atheistic. It’s simpler that way. I see a LOT of dissenting views with it and have for the year since Trump was elected. Comic book professionals and authors say all kinds of things about this.
I’m silent. I like talking about ice cream and baileys or unicorns that fart rainbows.
But then Charlotteville happened.
So I have to state this disclaimer. I’m a single, white, heterosexual male. There are only two instances where in this country that has worked against me. Once when my father and I were the only non Chinese people in a mall. The other is in some of the less savory neighbourhoods in Detroit and Phoenix. Being white in some of those areas…not so good. But by and large yeah I’m usually in the privileged class. I don’t pretend to understand what people go through on a day in and day out basis.
This weekend was When Words Collide and I had the privilege of interviewing eight amazing people. Three different conversations ended up coming to the same topic of assumption and how people treat each other. I thought I’d bring this up in light of what’s going on today.
When I was very young I had a bias towards a certain culture. Part of that was my father coming from work. Part of that was media manipulation. Either way, it cost me a potential date. I vowed from that point on I wasn’t going to let that happen again. By and large I have kept that promise.
My podcast is the most visible aspect of this success. My podcast has featured people from many parts of the world with different genders, beliefs, sexuality, culture, and values. And every person has offered me a ton I have learned from.
My real secret? Nothing more than talking and listening. It doesn’t really matter who you are and what you do, you have something valuable to contribute. Think about it like this: No one has your perspective. 7.5 billion people live on this planet and not one person has the exact same point of view or life experience. If you think about it, that’s actually pretty amazing.
It’s the biggest reason I still do my podcasts. I get to talk to amazing people doing amazing things that have perspectives on things I’ve never considered. It makes my world simultaneously bigger and smaller at the same time. And it’s awesome.
If only the world shared my viewpoint more.
America has had a racism problem for a long time. It has had one ever since the time when they battled Native Americans as they expanded. Slavery has been a cornerstone of the foundations of the United States ever since the founding fathers. The Civil War didn’t end the problems; they were buried.
The first elephant I want to point out to people is that perhaps some of the issues of police brutality in the US have to do with what founded them. What do you think the slave traders became after the war in a lot of places? It’s not a surprise then that certain police forces are different to people of colour than others when you consider that foundation.
Factor in the emphasis on education and poverty in the US and you can see the treatment. Canada isn’t perfect in this either and I feel it’s something I’m going to close part one with my story.
One of my best friends in the world is a Metis living in Ontario. We’ve been friends since high school and he is one of the bedrocks of my life. Jon became a friend of mine after I stood up to him in a hall in high school, calling him out for some of same things he called me out for.
Turns out, we’ve had similar interests and hung out and been talking ever since. Jon is a shrewd dude and I’ve enjoyed my time with him. I can only imagine how he would have been treated if he had lived in Calgary
Calgary does some of the most brutal things I know when it comes to the native population. I still remember a story of me working for a grocery store about twelve years ago. I remember my boss, so furious at the native culture actually ordering me not to serve any of their kind.
This really did happen in Calgary.
We have a long way to go.
In all that has happened recently, I question sometimes if we truly learn anything. My own doubts on how we grow and can do magical things is shaken when I see people not given a chance for how they look like or what they seem to be.
The only true way to defeat racism is with understanding. And that only happens when we talk to each other. We can disagree, and even have a civil discourse about it. At the end of the day, we need to remember that we are all people who just want to be loved and understood by others.
That we are not alone.
One of my favorite scenes. I’m coming back to this in part two.
Because what happened in Charlotteville was not just a matter of racism. It was politics as well.
Something to think about.