This Sunday is Father’s Day.
Across much of the world, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. The actual date was picked by the Spokane Ministerial Alliance.
In Europe, Saint Joseph’s Day had been celebrated for centuries; however, what we know as Father’s Day started in Spokane in 1910 after Sonora Smart Dodd approached the alliance because she held her father in great esteem and wanted to honour him. In essence, her father, William Jackson Smart, serves as the inspiration for Father’s Day across much of the world. Smart also served in the American Civil War.
This Sunday is also National Indigenous People’s Day. Between the coinciding of both days, the protests across the world, including in Canada and B.C., and the historical context of Smart being a Civil War veteran, it’s hard not to take some time to reflect on parenting and racism; in fact, it’s an excellent time to reflect.
Looking at the issue of racism as a whole, it can be tough to say what the right solutions are. I doubt anyone has all the answers. However, even just looking at our own choices, actions and past is something relatively simple we can all do fairly easily. It’s not something you have to share with others, but can still make a big difference.
I can confidently say that some of the traditions and media (i.e. movies and books) I grew up with are racist or, at the very least, have racist components.
It’s not something I’m embarrassed about or even feel bad about, nor do I think I should. I was a little kid who didn’t know any better and whether what I was partaking in was racist or not was certainly not something I consciously thought about.
It’s also not something I blame my parents for or hold against them in any way. For one, these traditions and media were widely accepted culturally – meaning they likely didn’t think about it either. For another, when they did realize it, they got rid of it instead of passing it along.
As a father, I can confidently say my kids won’t take part in these traditions and media or, if they do come up, we will have a conversation about it and how to recognize it for themselves. Going to spend time with my children on Father’s Day and National Indigenous Peoples Day with that in mind, seems quite fitting.
– Max Winkelman