Let’s level the playing field

“All animals are equal, except some are more equal than others.” George Orwell.

I was a recent victim of racism.

I saw a sign in a gas station on the reserve in Kamloops advertising two packs of smokes for $7.98 and thought I’d buy them. The lady at the counter asked for my status card which I, of course, don’t have. She said she couldn’t sell them to me. I said that this was racism because the store discriminates by charging different prices for different people based on their race.

“Were there different prices for Asian people or East Indian people?” I asked.

“No, just for First Nations,” she said.

I left empty handed but wondered why this was happening in this day and age of ethnic squeamishness.

The Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman episode, tragic as it was, seems to show that age-old stereotypes and prejudices exist, and may be getting worse. The fact that a wannabe gang member with a growing (albeit relatively minor) rap sheet got into an altercation with a Hispanic fellow and was killed ignited a debate about race in America, and given our multicultural world — everywhere, on how people should get along by judging a person on the conduct of their character rather than by the colour of their skin.

The attempt by aggrieved minorities to paint Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic” shows the absurdity of the debate in that some people want to blame all the problems on colonialism, white supremacy, and old guys who own too much of the economic pie. One would think that after all these years most ethnic groups would realize we’re all human and that life can be a struggle for everyone. To blame others for one’s poor choices and trouble is a foolish thing.

Our Canadian government, as is its wont, is not listening to logic. There are now some diktats going out that, in the federal civil service, phrases like “oh my god” and “cheers” aren’t to be used because they might offend non-Christians and teetotallers. It’s no wonder I don’t work there because, after a week or so, I would have offended everyone. That’s OK because at least I would have treated everyone the same, i.e., like dirt just before my probable firing.

The beautiful thing about getting older is that honesty is easy to grasp. If someone is cruel, unreliable, dishonest or just plain stupid, we old folks understand this isn’t because they’re white trash, unscrupulous gypsies, greedy businessmen or whatever; it’s because of their actions. One only has to look at the misdeeds of Anthony Weiner (sexting while married), senators (claiming many principle residences), corporate directors driving companies into bankruptcy while getting huge severance packages and so forth, ad nauseum. The average person who gets along with everyone is never mentioned.

One way to solve all these petty grievances, to level the playing field, would be to bring them to Sun Peaks. Here we look at the colour of your ski suit, the effectiveness of your golf swing, how well you catch fish and if you pay your share of the bar tab. Everything else is irrelevant.

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