Commentary: Tolerance is not enough

Commentary: Tolerance is not enough

The following is a reprint of a Facebook post from Jason Pires, a former CHEK reporter who is now with CTV Vancouver’s Morning News. The post has received countless positive comments.

After weeks of reporting on these horrible stories of racism – locally and in the U.S. – here are some personal thoughts – likely triggered by our segment this morning about talking to kids about racism.

In my life, two incidents stand out. Grade four, Beaver Lake elementary playground. A classmate ran up to me and screamed in my face “when God made you he said #%*!!, I burnt another one”. Laughter ensued and I wasn’t brave enough to stand up for myself.

Years later, as a summer soccer camp instructor, I had a wonderful 5-year-old kid on my team. He was a riot. On the final day just before the parents get to take part in a fun kick around, all the kids were getting excited and my favourite 5-year-old blurts out “you know my daddy hates brown people”. After the initial shock, the comment was laughed off. But it made me sad. I think I may have just said well can’t wait to meet your Daddy and shake his hand.

It has been said many times, no one is born racist. And although it’s impossible to control what’s being said/taught in the privacy of other people’s homes, we all can do more publicly to help eliminate these ugly learned attitudes and behaviour. Condemning stereotypes. Not laughing at the casual politically incorrect joke. More important – celebrating our differences and exposing our youth to all cultures and traditions whether it’s through books, films, festivals or restaurants. It’s my favourite part of the job when we get to champion these stories of diversity, our province’s biggest strength.

Words are powerful too. I wrote a high school paper on multiculturalism and the importance of promoting tolerance. My Dad, a former newspaper journalist, made an important edit. Never use the word tolerance when it comes to people he said – no one should ever be “tolerated”.

I will always remember that lesson. Bees are tolerated at a picnic. People are celebrated – and loved – no matter the background or skin colour. And I hope that’s the life lesson we continue to provide our young ones. Because that’s where it all starts. #loveconquershate

Jason PiresJason Pires

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