Consumption disease defines colonial culture

Teacher defends teacher's letter in response to column on racial prejudice

To the editor:

Re: Racial prejudice in modern B.C. (B.C. Views, Nov. 2)

The most accurate statements in Tom Fletcher’s column come from the aboriginal woman who is training to become a teacher, by pointing out the obvious to Mr. Fletcher: “…check your privilege.”

By way of disclosure, I am a teacher, an immigrant, a father, a husband and I am as concerned about the consumption disease being promoted by those interested only in profit, not health, clean water, safe food, or what we have left of nature.

Consumption culture has been the root of colonial activity, and is still the basis of growth.

Unfortunately, cancer and orthodox economic thought share the same trait – unchecked growth.

What Mr. Fletcher mistakes as racial prejudice, referred to as “her attitude,” is a very clear-eyed view of the false history many school children still learn – the colonial history perspective.

Having taught in remote schools, which have predominantly First Nations students, I, the white teacher, saw and experienced the history of devastation, residential schools, endemic poverty, poor living conditions, inadequate and nutritionally poor food, and families and parents struggling to be good parents.

I could go on.

I have also seen the racism in action from locals, mostly white, as well as racism from some First Nations individuals.

I can understand the racism coming from a First Nation person. If I was treated like that, I would be bitter and resentful.

I do not condone it but I understand it.

In conversation with my 14-year-old daughter, I used the example of having someone take my house and land without adequate compensation. In our courts that would be deemed theft.

Racial prejudice is a problem that will not be addressed unless cancer economics stops to dominate our thinking because when there is a buck to be made, people with ethical views about nature stewardship or rapacious corporate behaviour get in the way.

I salute the young aboriginal teacher-to-be for offering us a history lesson in two paragraphs.

Christian Stapff

Campbell River