Saturday, 19 September 2015

Colour Blindness

I often wonder about how I did as a father, how I was for my children during their younger days. I know I was absent a lot, at least emotionally; it was the best way to avoid fighting with their mother. On a great many days, hiding in my office and staying away from Carla was the best way to ensure peace in the home. In fact I often feel I abdicated in my role as father, leaving the complete field open to Carla, just so as to keep the fighting down.

There is, however, one area where I feel I did a really good job with my kids, the area of colour blindness. I have always believed in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., that a person should be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the quality of their character. I truly wanted my children to grow up in a household where race, creed, colour, ethnicity or sexual orientation had nothing to do in choosing friends or companions. Sometimes I had to work hard at this, building my own character. I wanted my children to strive for higher ideals.

Mostly I think I was successful. Certainly the model of my own life is a reasonable example. I have friends, people I love, of every possible ethnicity and religion. I have Christian friends, Jewish friends, Muslim friends, Hindu friends, Sihk friends, Wiccan friends, and even a few Athiest friends. I strive not only to respect but to support their beliefs whenever I can; where we differ, I do my darnedest to respect the differences no matter how strong that disagreement.

It makes me proud when I see my children reflecting that belief in their own lives. As youngsters and teenagers, friends of every background were welcome in our home. As adults I think, and hope, their catalogue of companions reaches far and wide. As adults, my dream for my children is a world where this kind of inclusion and understanding is universal. This is a dream which can only be built one child at a time, in homes where people celebrate the multicultural difference which make Canada a truly wonderful place to live.

I want my politicians and government to reflect this dream as well; none of this "old stock" Canadian nonsense. That's just a code word for "white". I have Chinese friends whose families have been here longer than mine; their Canadian stock is much older than mine. I have friends whose families left India before the turn of the 20th century; their Canadian stock is much older than mine. There are black families in Nova Scotia who have been there since before the US Civil War. And all of this says nothing about the natives of this land who have been here for millennia.

We, as a people and as a nation, can only win the battle for peace through peace. We can only win the battle for acceptance by accepting. We cannot expect our culture to be respected if we don't respect the culture of others. All that I ask is that those cultures strive for, and educate their children to, the same kind of standard as all Canadians; that we be judged not by the colour of our skin but by the quality of our character.

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