Monday, October 13, 2008


Journalists have made a big deal of Obama as the potential first ‘black’ US President. Aren’t you weary of this? I have lived long enough to recall when TV ads first began to feature African American actors. I remember when bilingualism became a source of chronic national complaint in Canada as all product labeling appeared in French and English. People of different racial backgrounds still look suspiciously at one another. I’m white so I know that Caucasians carp about cross cultural, multi-lingual relations all the time. I have been guilty of it myself sometimes. I’m not proud of it. Like you I have found myself in a confusing phone conversation with a service person for a major Canadian company like Telus or National Car Rental only to learn that the person lives in Karachi or some other distant location.

One of the most enriching experiences of our family life was our move from Peterborough to Toronto when my two children were entering their teen years. The communities in which we lived and the schools they attended were rich with ethnic and racial diversity. Each member of my family enjoyed friendships that accepted this fusion of peoples. We worked and played with people from Asian, Jamaican and European personal histories. When I moved to B.C. eighteen years ago my new network of acquaintances was all white and I was uncomfortable. I missed the racial mix of God's people who I had learned to love as brothers and sisters. During these two decades in BC the people landscape has changed with immigration. My life and work has enabled me to meet and to appreciate French speaking Quebec residents and the Chinese community in Richmond BC and a few Indo Canadians.

My sensitivity quotient has heightened as I have aged. I cannot express how it hurts my spirit when my friends, some Christians ... please forgive us God, even some missionaries I have heard speak pejoratively about other races and language groups. Hurt? No, I find it offensive that people who should know better and love larger as God loves, would denigrate His creation with careless words, with irresponsible attitudes. What kicks my butt is my reluctance to speak up and challenge this prejudice.

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