EDITORIAL: Black History Month offers an opportunity to learn

Greater Victoria residents encouraged to ask questions as a way to better understanding

In Canada, we pride ourselves in not being a part of the rampant tribalism and racist attitudes that are increasingly being displayed by a segment of the American population.

We can be a bit smug about our culture of acceptance and inclusion of minorities; but it’s a dangerous assumption. We recall low points last year when some UVic students created social media posts ridiculing the First Nations community and in November, when anti-Semitic posters were found on campus. While racist actions don’t hit the media often here, they do still occur with some regularity.

As Black History month begins, we’d do well to recall that, while Victorians were generally accepting of the “Black Migration” of 1858, there was racism then as well. When the steamship Commodore arrived that spring and Bishop Edward Cridge welcomed some of the migrants into his church, he faced backlash from some who complained about “crowding negro men into the same seats with white and respectable women.”

Racism is a complex issue and a single cure for the fear, ignorance and hatred embodied in that term has yet to be found.

But Pulcherie Mboussi’s comments in today’s feature on Black History Month are instructive. The founder of the Victoria African Cultural Society urges people to take time to talk to others, particularly those of a different ethnicity than one’s self. Find out about them, she advises, because it’s only through learning more about people that true understanding and acceptance is possible.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t realize that not all black Canadians’ descendants came from Africa, a continent as diverse and varied in culture, language, history and heritage as any on the planet, you should.

There’s no shame in not knowing, but there is in letting ignorance breed discrimination.

Make Black History Month a time to start to learn about other cultures and people, and extend your knowledge about the broad tapestry that is our region’s population.

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP seizes more than $16,000 worth of drugs

Suspected cocaine, pills and cash seized from a Greater Victoria home

Emerald Gloves boxing brings fights to Langford

Langford’s Matt Daniels dropped weight for debut

Team Canada to hold junior selection camp in Victoria

22 players from camp will make roster for 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to Victoria goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Victoria City Council directs staff to proceed with Central Park for new Crystal Pool location

Save-On-Foods Memorial parking lot still up for discussion as a location

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Dead killer whale discovered on Nootka Island

“This is very concerning to our people.”

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Protected bighorn sheep killed in B.C. Interior

The sheep are considered a species of concern because of their low population in B.C.

Missing-persons list tops 600 in fire-stricken California

Disaster escalates as officials raised the death toll to 63

Missing hikers on Quadra pull search teams from all over the Island

Two women, aged 69 and 70, did not return from what was supposed to be an hour-long walk Wednesday

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Deer carcasses don’t belong in green bins, says B.C. city

City of Nanaimo issues reminder to residents, saying fur isn’t compostable

Firearms and cocaine seized from Vancouver Island residence

The file remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Most Read