Friday, March 18, 2016
Vancouver is an Amazing Place
I confess that I never really appreciated how unique Vancouver, BC is. I grew up there and took it all for granted, but having traveled a bit now, I`m coming to understand that it`s special. What makes it different, you might ask? Tolerance, that's what. And I'm not just paying lip service to a popular buzzword.
I'm not saying that there isn't racism/intolerance there, because there is, but there are also people of all races, religions, colours and sexual persuasions living together peaceably. I never questioned why there were kids from South East Asia, Asia proper, Africa or Latin America in my classes. I had a special needs student in my class, as well, and that also seemed perfectly normal. The two men who lived down the street from me (that occasionally held hands and kissed) were also perfectly normal. They were as typical as single mothers, kids playing hockey on the street and families picnicking in the nearby parks.
I wasn't raised not to be racist...I was raised with the idea of equality and so were most of my friends. I never had a conversation about "them" or "us". And the truly beautiful thing about it, was that we got to experience a whole other way of life: new foods, new customs, new fashions. It was kind of magic,in retrospect. The biggest complaint I had was that my Jewish friends got way more holidays from school than I did, or that the newly immigrated kids from Asia had cooler clothes.Our biggest divide was rich versus not and while it was tough, it wasn't something that was rubbed in my face. It still hurt to be different, but it was an excellent life lesson.
So, peace amongst people of different stripes is possible. I'm so tired of hearing that it's complicated, because it isn't. Live and let live. How can we be so self-centered as to rant against people inflicting their "agendas" on us when we're doing the same; expecting people to be just like us, with the same values, beliefs and priorities. I didn't grow up in a melting pot - the people around me weren't homogenized, They were beautifully unique and made up the mosaic that nourished my childhood.
I know there are other places in the world like Vancouver. Places where, for the most part, you can be who you are without reprisal, but these days, they seem few and far between. So that's what makes Vancouver special - the inherent acceptance of things different. I'm so glad I grew up there.