Disregard… the manifestation of an ism
My mother is an environmental activist. At 83, she uses her pen and email to raise awareness and to protest.
The local newspaper knows her name, as do local MPs.
So this post is thanks to an email from Greenpeace that she forwarded to me yesterday.
It’s about the spraying of glysophate (a herbicide) on Ontario forests.
You can read more about this here.
The email shares the impact of this aerial spraying on the ecosystem (an impact that will last generations).
And that there was no consultation with Indigenous People- who live on the land.
This got me thinking about the link between disregard and isms.
Disregard and Isms…
Any ism (racism, sexism, ageism etc) has at its root a belief that someone is better than, and someone is less than.
Disregard stems from that belief: it’s easy not to take someone into account if you don’t consider them to have value. Over time this leads to not considering someone (or a community in this case) systemically, making them invisible – because we learn to disregard (not see) others – in subtle and not so subtle ways.
According to the Greenpeace email, public consultations consisted of letters about a decision already made. And the outcry from Indigenous communities about the impact of glysophate that they have seen to-date has not been heard.
Lack of awareness, respect, and acknowledgment.
Part of our History
For our country’s relationship with Indigenous People, we can trace this disregard back to colonization, and we have many examples of it since then: disregard for the cultures, ways of being and living, values, opinions, wellbeing and lives of Indigenous people.
When we think we are better-than, it will shape how (and if) we see, hear and consider another. It will also prevent us from considering anything and anyone else as we make decisions and forge ahead.
Consider the actual word, disregard: Dis + regard (to see, in French).
The impact – as we have so tragically and glaringly been reminded about in Canada over the past few months with the discovery of mass and unmarked graves at former residential school sites – is devastating on many levels.
And when we don’t see and acknowledge each other, on some level, we all lose.
(c) Annemarie Shrouder 2021