Shades of Grey: Hear, Not Fear, Different Perspectives
Originally published on Socialeducation.ca
On May 21 2021, I started to release a series of letters I addressed to Irshad Manji, founder of Moral Courage ED and author of Don’t Label Me, over the course of a two week period. The series is meant to encourage dialogue in the context of any issues local to you that tend to divide.
It took me a few months of learning, research, and reflection, to find the words to express my opinions on these sensitive matters. In the end I hope this series if nothing else, reflects well on what reading Irshad’s book and listening to many of her conversations, has taught me so far about engaging in these often polarization discussions.
Below, you will find links to those original articles. Click the underlined text to open a new tab which will take you to my Social Education website.
Forward – Introduction to the Series
Letter 1 – I reflect on a local issue, while examining it’s connection to global discussions on this subject. I mention my love for people and being involved within my community, and that I seen my grandfather as my humanside mentor. I talk about my desire for people to not be afraid to engage in these discussions, and how Irshad’s book gives us critical tools to do just that without fear of judgement or being left with a feeling that they are alone in their opinions as they relate to these matters.
Letter 2 – I mention concerns with how these sensitive topics are being discussed within K-12 education based on recent dialogue both locally and globally, and my fear that dishonest deliver of this content will result in parents removing their children from these critical conversations. I talk about a desire for our children to have strong communication skills, to be able to think critically, and that teachers and the education systems in general, are not transferring their opinions onto our youth.
Letter 3 – I begin by addressing my lack of a formal secondary education, and a love and curiosity for learning. I mention some of my political beliefs as they relate to this subject, including my many years of engagement in Indigenous matters. I mention a need to have a long hard look at our political and social structures and that if we moved beyond race, we’d realize more of us feel these systems are not meeting the needs of our families and our societies. I also start to touch on labels and cancel culture.
Letter 4 – I dive into this letter with a question about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training and why we are teaching it, if we don’t think it can lead to individual change. I further discuss my involvement in local Indigenous matters and how that involvement has changed the way I look at any issue. I reflect on my own struggles as a political figure, and how those experiences help form my views on matters of politics. I also mention the stress I have felt about engaging in these discussions and my fears about how that may affect my community involvement, friendships, and even professional relationships.
Letter 5 – What do we know about the history of the cities we have grown up in and how that has shaped us as individuals and as a broader community? I touch on a couple of local examples of bias towards many different ethnicities over our cities history. I recognize the issues that our society faces, our collective need to stand up for one another on an array of matters, but I end this series seeing so much more at play than the skin we are in. Relationships are important. We are quick to judge and seriously lacking in our desires to here other’s points of view.
Afterward – Series reflection, including mention of a desire to have a broader conversation on the subject of a newly released local K-12 curriculum titled Learn. Disrupt. Rebuild. I also include resources from this series as well as some book recommendations that have helped guide me to these First 48 opinions.
There is no learning in feeling like you have to be silent.