Friday, November 25, 2016

For What It's Worth

Unfortunately, bias and prejudice are an ingrained part of human nature, and as much as we might wish to deny it, there are demons that reside in all of us. The only honest way to deal with them, in my view, is to admit to and confront them as the first steps in overcoming them.

Like many Canadians, I have long wanted to believe that we occupy a higher moral ground than, for example, the United States, when it comes to racial, ethnic and religious equality. Of course, both history and recent events, including what was covered in this podcast, show that to be but wishful thinking. The internment of Japanese-Canadians and Italian-Canadians during WW11 is a historical rebuke to such notions, but there are other, lesser-known blots on our collective conscience.

You may have heard that a Canadian banknote set to circulate in 2018 will feature the first woman who is not the Queen. While the top five finalists are all worthy choices, my preference is for this woman:

Most people have heard of Rosa Parks, but how many know about Viola Desmond?
A business woman and beautician, Desmond is best known for her stand against racism as a black woman in Nova Scotia. While attending a movie in 1946, Desmond daringly took a seat on the main floor of the theatre rather than the balcony — reserved for non-white customers — after being refused a floor seat by the cashier. She was convicted in court for her actions, but was posthumously granted a pardon in 2010.
And this video conveys the situation she faced with such courage and conviction:

Historical injustices can never really be atoned for. However, they can be acknowledged and used to educate all of us, with the hope they they will never, ever happen again, however fond and unrealistic an aspiration that may be.


  1. We like to think that we've never had separate facilities, Lorne. Of course, that's not true.

    1. We should all be humbled (in the real sense of the word), Owen, by such knowledge.