A New View …
As the internet is flooded with judgement over recent events at the Oscars, another incident of judgement came to mind for me, one I thought well worth sharing.
Trigger Warning: This post references sexual assault. Do not proceed unless you believe you can.
Reconciliation for many requires an adaptation to new information, an acceptance/awareness of another view, or both.
Today, I share a story taken from my own life, one that allowed me to build a relationship with one who, in the beginning, didn’t understand at all. The “other party” is this story is my then boyfriend, a man who had very questionable opinions of indigenous peoples, all based on the lack of information his southern Ontario environment afforded him as a child.
But he loved to debate, so often he would come home with some tidbit of information as a “test”, asking me to explain how this or that fit into the narrative I had often shared with him. That is what happened on the morning in question.
My then-partner raced in the door, excited to tell me a story relayed to him by a co-worker, one that he felt PROVED indigenous people are “crazy”.
I braced myself for whatever came next.
As it turns out, his co-worker used to work for a train company responsible for maintaining tracks throughout northern Ontario, often crossing through small municipalities and through or near First Nation communities. My partner relayed how his co-worker told him that often, when the work crew stopped for the night outside a community, indigenous men with guns would come out and start shooting at the train, forcing them to relocate.
My partner exclaimed, “That proves indigenous people are nuts!”
He didn’t expect my silent contemplation, my own realization born of his story.
Instead of argument, I responded with a request to tell him my own story of the work trains. He agreed to listen.
I proceeded to share how I HATED those trains as a teen. (His face registered the shock I was going for.). It was because the INSTANT those trains arrived, I was grounded, until they left again. Because you see, in my mother’s words, far too many young indigenous girls were dragged behind those trains and assaulted. My mother would rather I hated her for the grounding, then have me face the immense pain and aftermath of an assault.
At that point, I looked at my partner. As the father of a young girl, I asked him, “If your daughter was dragged behind one of those trains, how would you greet them the next time they arrived?”
His shocked face told me my point landed.
It’s the back-to-back teaching again, my friend. It is so easy to judge, so easy to misinterpret from your view. Perhaps, before the judgement, you should ask the other what they see from their vantage point. It might just make what you see so much clearer.
The journey continues …
I love you!