EDITORIAL: Black History Month offers an opportunity to learn

Greater Victoria residents encouraged to ask questions as a way to better understanding

In Canada, we pride ourselves in not being a part of the rampant tribalism and racist attitudes that are increasingly being displayed by a segment of the American population.

We can be a bit smug about our culture of acceptance and inclusion of minorities; but it’s a dangerous assumption. We recall low points last year when some UVic students created social media posts ridiculing the First Nations community and in November, when anti-Semitic posters were found on campus. While racist actions don’t hit the media often here, they do still occur with some regularity.

As Black History month begins, we’d do well to recall that, while Victorians were generally accepting of the “Black Migration” of 1858, there was racism then as well. When the steamship Commodore arrived that spring and Bishop Edward Cridge welcomed some of the migrants into his church, he faced backlash from some who complained about “crowding negro men into the same seats with white and respectable women.”

Racism is a complex issue and a single cure for the fear, ignorance and hatred embodied in that term has yet to be found.

But Pulcherie Mboussi’s comments in today’s feature on Black History Month are instructive. The founder of the Victoria African Cultural Society urges people to take time to talk to others, particularly those of a different ethnicity than one’s self. Find out about them, she advises, because it’s only through learning more about people that true understanding and acceptance is possible.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t realize that not all black Canadians’ descendants came from Africa, a continent as diverse and varied in culture, language, history and heritage as any on the planet, you should.

There’s no shame in not knowing, but there is in letting ignorance breed discrimination.

Make Black History Month a time to start to learn about other cultures and people, and extend your knowledge about the broad tapestry that is our region’s population.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich’s plastic bag ban won’t be affected by the Supreme Court ruling against Victoria

Council amended Saanich’s ban to align with the B.C. Court of Appeal’s ruling in November

West Shore Parks & Recreation to unveil new indoor sports complex by end of January

Grand opening of sport court and turf field planned for Jan. 31 at 10 a.m.

Province rejects two ride hailing operators in Greater Victoria

Two smaller companies rejected in CRD; Uber and Lyft approved in Vancouver

Victoria ranks as 16th least affordable city in the world

Vancouver, as well as the Fraser Valley, Nanaimo and Comox Valley also crack the Top 25

Electric BC Ferries vessels on the move in Victoria

Public invited to watch unloading, transport process

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Red Carpet Valentine’s event will aid Sooke charities

This is a chance to have that “red carpet” experience

New U.S. LNG terminal near northwestern B.C. town proposed

AlaskCAN International LNG wants terminal just over Canadian border, but using B.C gas

Couple wonders who’s in a Cariboo photo that’s been hanging in their home for years

Charles and Lynn Dick believe the image was taken at the 70 Mile Road House

‘I would not go’ to China says B.C. traveller concerned about coronavirus

Alice Li said she goes to China every other year but would scrap any travel plans

Royal Canadian Legion expels B.C. member for wearing unearned military commendations

‘Stolen valour is stolen service and it’s just totally wrong’

‘Latte-sipping urbanites’ need to realize value of mining in B.C., association head says

Industry generates a total of $3.9 billion in sales of goods and service across the province

Most Read