Sunday, October 4, 2009

Visible Minority

      A few days ago I became a visible minority on a friend's face book page. More about that later.

     In the 60's I taught in aboriginal and Inuit settlements. In some locations students were 100% aboriginal or Inuit and other places up to 75% aboriginal. Standing in front of a class it never really sunk in that I was the minority as I was in the position of power. One day an incident occurred and it sunk in . That experience was life altering.

     I was in a small aboriginal settlement and went to house to look for someone. When I knocked on the door I heard someone inside say , "It's a white man!" That really hit me. I was labelled.

After that experience I had a lesson for the rest of my life. I learned to look at other people as individuals rather than a group and attach labels to the whole group. It made a huge difference in the way I lived the remainder of my life . No matter who it is I had to look at them as an individual who has unique characteristics. We are all made up of a wide range of good and bad characteristics. This combination makes us an individual. We have to be able to recognize the individual by his or her traits.

     Recently someone who I know quite, well asked me to join his face book page. When I looked at his list of friends I was the only one who was different. I have always looked at visible minority situations for myself as a learning opportunity which will broaden my understanding of people. Many times I have felt supported and welcomed when I found myself in a minority situation.