Over the last two weeks I’ve been exploring resistance – specifically to immigration and to the accommodations we make (and/or are asked to make) for individuals who are new to Canada and who are bringing different beliefs and customs with them. If you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.
This all started because of a conversation I was part of a few weeks ago. In this conversation the RCMP and turbans came up as an example of our being too accommodating in Canada, and of what was suggested as the extremism of political correctness. Here is what came up when I googled “political correctness, definition”: “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”
The RCMP and the Turban
You may or may not know (or remember) that in the late 1980’s the RCMP began actively recruiting visible minorities. In 1988 there was a new recruit named Baltej Singh Dhillon who was Sikh and who wanted to wear his turban as part of his RCMP uniform. It caused quite a stir, to say the least – for many of the reasons I have written about. In 1990 he won that right, but not without a polarizing debate. You can read more about it here.
The debate continues…
That was 19 years ago, and it seems that debate is still raging around some dinner tables – in this and other forms. I have already shared some of the more pointed comments over the last two weeks. And I’m not going to rehash the conversation or the arguments here. These conversations are always heated, even long after the decision has been made and the landscape has changed (has it?). Plus, these debates always feel like there has to be a winner and a loser.
I’m tired of that; I’m tired of the ways we make each other wrong, don’t listen, get louder, shut down and the circle of ‘Us vs Them’ that it creates, supports and perpetuates.
What I’m interested in is how we can have the conversation differently.
How can we have these conversations differently?
So, I asked myself – what could be the underlying emotion?
Take a minute…
What do you see?
Here’s what I see:
The person who is charged up about keeping things the way they are is basically saying, “This is important to me. How dare you take it from me!”
And the person who is challenging the status quo is saying, “This is important to me. How dare you take it from me!”
What I see is that we are standing in the same place. Of fear: Fear of losing something important, maybe fear of losing who we are.
When we meet there, in that place, what conversations could we have?