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Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
To Greg and David on 10/09/2009 11:15:40 MDT Print View

So as not to hijack the West Coast Trail thread I'm posting a reply here. I'm saying it in public and not privately because, for me, it is a very important issue. It affects my everyday life.

Greg, I think I was doing fine making posts relevant to the issue in the West Coast Trail thread. Then Dewey shows up and once again makes references to non-Canadians. Sorry, I think he is too intelligent not to be aware of what he is saying. I just don't think it is a coincidence that he posts something completely irrelevant to the thread right after my own posts about walking in BC this summer. I just didn't want to get into a flame war or even let myself get riled up again by his words.

If I read too much into it and mistook his intentions then this time I apologize.

However, I still stand by what I said in the other thread. I am African-American/ Filipino-American/ German. My family is half made up of immigrants to the States and Canada who've often been spoken to and of being "violent" and "something" should be done about us (including my German side... the father of a Jewish girlfriend once said to me that if he found out that anyone in the German side of my family had hurt any Jews... my family there was pacifist and actually helped, but failed, a Jewish family to try to escape... he would take out his gun and shoot me), but it was not always just "should"... members of my family have been killed by people who couldn't accept us.. This is not just silly, intellectual fencing for me. It's very real. We've not been able to get housing in certain areas of town because the white people thought we would ruin the neighborhood. A disproportionate number of family members are in prisons because of the image they have and how it affected them mentally (I'm not condoning what a lot of them did, but unless you've seen and experienced how they grew up and where, I don't think you are qualified to make statements about why they became the way they did. I've lived in the Bronx and the bad parts of Brooklyn during the 60's and 70's, when it was really bad, and in Boston in the Roxbury part of town. I've seen the shootings and the drugs and the run-down tenements. (This summer I stayed for a week in the poorer part of the Hastings Street area of Vancouver, too) I still can't travel to certain parts of North America without feeling unsafe because of my looks (I'm seen as Arab or Chicano, both with a bad image). A black friend of mine was beaten to a pulp right in front of my eyes by two policemen in Boston, just because he was standing too near them at a pedestrian crossing. I couldn't do anything, having no proof and with a prejudiced police department in a white neighborhood. In California I was stopped by the police while driving through a posh neighborhood and violently thrown up against the patrol car and interrogated for four hours by the two men in charge, only because they thought I was Mexican, as if that anything to do with anything. If I had been pure white they wouldn't have looked twice at me.

I'd like to respectfully ask, how many of you here have had to deal with any of that, ever? Have you ever had to avert your eyes from a police officer for fear that he might do something?

David, you and I have kept up enough dialogue over the years to know that I am not one to easily get riled up. I often try to quell the tensions here. I don't get angry or even offended easily. And I rarely make inflammatory statements. I try as much as possible to approach things with a sense of humor. If I say something I usually think about it carefully first. You know that. Don't you think I thought carefully about what I wrote earlier? I'm not the only one who saw what I did in the comments earlier.

I just don't buy the idea that somehow because the problems referred to occur in BC makes it all right to talk threateningly about certain groups of people. South African whites during the apartheid era used to love to tell the world to butt out because it was an internal matter and didn't concern anyone else. That didn't stop it from being wrong. The language used was exactly the same though when they realized they were being watched.

Sorry, such racial issues, and how people do seemingly innocent things like the way they guardedly speak, are something very close to my everyday life. I take big issue with it, because if I don't say anything it would mean that I'm okay with what happens to me and people I know, all the time. If anyone had said similar things about women, forum members would be all over them, but somehow racial matters are just part of our imagination? Only a white person would say that, because you don't have to deal with it, and unless you have non-whites in your family or among close friends, you won't even see it.

I think women know more about what I am talking about than men, too. People who don't have these things happen to them are quite often notoriously blind to what is going on around them.

Oh, by the way, Blacks and Asians and Arabs and Jews and whatnot can all be racist, too. It is not reserved only for one group of people!

Edited by butuki on 10/09/2009 11:33:02 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
To Greg and David on 10/09/2009 11:31:30 MDT Print View

Ouch. I did not realize that I offended you as that was not my intention. My comment about baiting was that honestly I was too tired this morning to see that he had, in fact, probably tried baiting. My point was only that I answered the question regarding fees from the perspective that there were fees attached and that most of those who I come accross are, in fact, from other countries and different races. Says a lot of what Canadian parks have to offer. Also, the fee comment that we all pay it was meant to quell any notion that locals should not pay and others should. The fact that I have done the trek 4 times and met such people should indicate that we (as in the general Canadian population) are far from racist. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms support the cultures that make up the vast race and religious mosaic we call Canada.

In other words, one person does not speak for a nation.

BTW, I thought you were Sottish? ;)

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: To Greg and David on 10/09/2009 12:09:57 MDT Print View

Hey David,

"Offended" isn't really the right word. You didn't offend me at all, really. I knew you were just trying to be fair and to look at things from the middle. But your comments made me feel I had to explain why I said what I did earlier. I, too, shouldn't just make offhand statements without explaining why it is that I say them. Before his comments, what would I have had against Dewey? I'd never even seen him in the forums before.

What really surprises me is having this kind of conversation with a Canadian! I've never met a Canadian who makes the like of those earlier statements in all my years working with hundreds of them here in Japan. Canada has always been a place of tolerance to me and why I am seriously considering immigrating there (and one reason I was there for a month this summer).

And if this can quell any bad feelings between Dewey and me, let me just say that though there are problems in Canada with the gang wars and such, it is really not comparable to such places as New York, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C. Vancouver is still VERY safe. Though the downtown area did very much remind me of Boston, with similar problems.

I believe gang war problems and such are very much curable. But you can't take the approach of "throw them all out." That doesn't solve anything. It didn't in New York. And yet now New York is becoming one of the safest big cities in the United States. A lot of it had to do with more opportunities for minorities and a better understanding of why the problems have happened. Those gang members in Vancouver don't live in a vacuum and just suddenly one day become violent gangsters. They live in conditions that make them that way. The anger, just like Dewey's anger, comes from somewhere and a feeling of not being able to do anything effective. Lots of young men and women turn to crime when they see no other way to improve their lives (yes, it is skewed thinking, but these kids don't have good role models and safe homes and prospects of good jobs.).

As to my being Scottish, well, I guess I didna knoew I hed the 'ole heather in me blood, aye. Guess I shoeld spaell it uht noew, being that I'm a McGill, doen't ye knoew. Aye. (pardon me to an Scots reading this, for my horrid Scottish rendition)