Diversity tree damaged and turban talk returns
Getting back to my August 18th column (Keep turban queries respectful) this was my exact message that I was trying to deliver. If you can’t respect our cultural differences in our communities, they’re other options you may want to consider. This column was not about the various colors of turbans, but more on how we interact honestly with each other on cultural issues. When I said in my column: “If you don’t like the ethnicity in our local community, consider relocating.” Please, let me elaborate for a moment. In my 16 and a bit years as a columnist, I have met some amazing supporters of cultural diversity and yet on the other hand I met some vocal haters. Everyone’s thoughts and opinions are welcomed. But, what I’ve learned through my experiences is that often the haters cannot be reasoned with. If they are not willing to deal with they’re underlying cultural issues and are unhappy in their current communities and can’t function as a whole then, maybe they should consider relocating. There is nothing wrong or hurtful suggesting such a move. For example, many years ago, I went to a North Vancouver gas station and later spoke with an attendant. He told me in our brief discussion he used to live out in Abbotsford. He shared that he and his family were being isolated by some of the cultural differences in area and for the children’s future they had to relocate. He was being polite and genuine in his concerns. This is my very point. If you don’t like where you live, instead of becoming hateful and abusive, take this example as something you should consider.
To add to this discussion, I took all my emails I've received up to date and shared them with a local friend. Only a few eyes have seen these responses. Sarina Derksen of Abbotsford, who shares an interest on diversity discussions took the time to read the hundreds of emails I have saved. She said: “I was touched by the number of people who took the time to reach out, share personal stories and thank Ken for his tireless commitment regarding the important topic of diversity. At the same time, I was shocked and saddened by some of the most vile and disturbing emails that I have ever read. I would have never imagined someone writing such angry comments to another individual regarding a matter that is intended to unite rather than divide.”
It is troubling to see how hateful individuals are when hiding behind a keyboard. It is obvious there is still much work to be done in the area of diversity. We must continue to encourage honest, thoughtful dialogue within our communities, said Derksen.