Spice of Life

Can’t know another’s pain, but can examine our own feelings about them

Brenda writes with a heavy heart about the civic unrest unfolding in the USA

Many have asked me how I manage to come up with another topic after so many years of writing my thoughts to you. This very week I thought I would tell you about all the uses I have for black gorilla tape. What a frivolous topic for these times! I could of course write about the weather. I could, if I felt so inclined, tell you how my very old dog, Shea, mourned the loss of her friend and mine — River. None of these topics seemed right for these troubled times.

Just now the news came on in the other room. The protests continue in many cities in the USA and other cities around the world. The protesters are trying to get the message out after the videoed death of George Floyd while being detained by the police. They do not protest about this one racist act. They stand up and march to try to make a difference to erase systemic racism. Just this very minute I can hear you saying how terrible the protesters are. They are all the same you will say. I am all for protests as long as they are peaceful without the looting and destruction. But if I take a few minutes and think for myself, I will understand. Decades of racism suffered by people of colour have come to a boil. I understand. I will never know the pain of being black in America, but I did have a small window into the racism issue many years ago. In 1961, in San Francisco, I was removed from a restaurant along with my mother. Why? I had dark skin, curly hair and they did not serve people like me. Times have changed, but not the sentiments of many.

As you look at the unrest south of the border, take a step off your high horse and think about racism in this country. Think about the young Indigenous women who have died along the Highway of Tears. Check your preconceived idea about our First Nations people when you turn away without a good morning or a smile. My old Al was a Metis of the Cree nation; a best friend was Cree. Friends I can remember went to the residential school in Port Alberni.

I am getting a bit annoyed at my own words. I won’t feel like the man who died before our eyes and say, “I can’t breathe.” But I will leave, go outside to lighten my heavy heart, and hope you take a few minutes to understand the cry for justice and remember the cries of, “I can’t breathe.”

I will never feel the heart of another person, but I hope you can understand your own thoughts about others.

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