Regarding "The rights stuff" letters to the editor in last week's issue, I find it disingenuous that Brian Jessop and "Ben" take exception to the title of Michael Lightstone's article, "Nova Scotia is still far too white." While they offer the well-worn, white-privilege platitudes about "respect" and "everyone being equal," their letters ignore reality and serve, merely, to defend the current state of affairs.
Regularly denying there is a problem, claiming "colour-blindness" or suspending any desire to think from the perspective of another for the common good have long been the stock-in-trade of white privilege. If Mssrs Jessop and Ben really believed everyone was worthy of respect, then they would have talked about creating a shared space where ALL can prosper, recovering the notions that we can act in concert for the broader good and that we are all our brother and sisters' keeper.
The majority of immigrants to our province continue to be from the UK—the majority of those being white—and the letters read like a defence of the status quo. They really aren't interested in a space where EVERYBODY belongs, but rather use their claims of colour-blindness as an excuse to avoid talking seriously about current inequities.
Mr. Jessop's assertion that the racial composition of prospective immigrants has nothing to do with it, and Ben's assertion that The Coast has succumbed to the idea that some groups of people are now "more equal" than others, are simple-minded given the treatment of blacks and native persons in the province. We have problems with racism, equity and diversity. Treating those things like they don't exist is the same mentality as the five-year-old who believes no one can see them when their eyes are closed. —tldrkhnsm, Halifax
So I walk over to Scotia Square on my lunch break to mail something to my cousin in BC and line up at the post office. To my delight, the postal clerk is patiently and happily explaining the different stamps to the cutest little cotton-headed old lady at the start of the line up. She then proceeds to assist the second person in line, a young Middle Eastern student who is mailing several books. She gives him brown paper she was about to recycle and some tape instead of the pre-packaged mailing to save him some money.
As I watch this unfold around me, a woman with three small children shows up. I urge her to take my place in line, as I'm not in a rush. She lines up to mail a package to Ireland, home probably, given her beautiful thick accent. Her children are happy but busy, so the sweet clerk gives them each a colourful paper leaf she had taped up over the ceiling. They leave with the paper leaves on string, giggling.
I mail my parcel and walk out onto Barrington Street and pass a man sitting on the sidewalk with a cup for change. I give him half of my turkey sandwich. As I walk back to my office I think what I love about my province and my country: the patience and kindness but also the big issues that need to be fixed—nobody in this country should be hungry. I think this right HERE is the Canada I want to live in. If I had to, I would fight tooth and nail to protect what we have, this beautiful, diverse country. I only hope other people feel the same way. —Shelagh McCorry, Halifax