Canada has been stuck in perpetual adolescence…unprepared to face the next step…growing up. I hope these painful days will be seen as a ritual moment when we were faced with our country’s true self and when we began to grow ourselves up.
Remember when you were a kid and you heard your parents whispering in the other room. You couldn’t make out exactly what they were saying. If they caught you listening they shushed you away and said that they talking about things that weren’t meant for kids’ ears.
Remember the first time you heard your parents swear and then you realized that they probably swore all the time, just not when you were around.
Remember when you thought your parents, and especially your grandparents, were perfect and then found out your grandfather was an alcoholic and your grandmother still met up with her old boyfriend.
That’s us Canadians. We are grown-ups now. We are old enough to hear grown-up stories—the nasty ones everyone knew but didn’t want to talk about. We are old enough to know that our ancestors weren’t always the nice people we thought they were.
Hopefully now we will stop whispering. Hopefully we will believe the stories that are being told, especially about Canada’s particular racism against First Nations people.
Nothing has changed except our perception. But with that there is hope. Now we are coming face to face with the racism of our past we are better able to acknowledge the racism of our present and, with effort and determination, with everyone working together, perhaps prevent racism in our future.
That’s the challenge, Canadians…for all of us.