Valuable Lesson Learned On Diversity

By February 18, 2013Hot Topic, Ken Herar

By Ken Herar. I learned a valuable lesson a few weeks ago and that is never judge a fellow human being by their skin colour or nationality. A full explanation as to what happened would probably exceed my word count.

I know in some peoples eyes the East Indian community has struggled
with the public image of some of our South Asian males due to some of
the high profile crimes that have taken place in the Lower Mainland.

Recently, I was having supper in a local restaurant in Abbotsford and the kind
waitress wanted to share something. She said: “The only bar fights
we’ve had in our establishment have been with East Indians.” With
this cemented in my mind, only a few short days later I witnessed a
baseball bat threat by a South Asian male. So, the next generational step
was to go to Facebook and vent what I was hearing and seeing with all
my so-called friends.

This is what I posted:

“Just witnessed a young South Asian
(East Indian) male threaten another driver with a bat and
take off over nothing at all and shout how powerful he is. The
aggression and violent nature that took place showcased to me first
hand why we have such a violent community and in particularly with our
South Asian males. Sorry to say.”

After receiving 37 Likes and 120 comments many of them leaving mixed
thoughts I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong in posting
this and should have expressed it differently. As one writer
stated: “This sort of attitude lets other members outside of our
community get the wrong idea and impression. I think you are a very
active member of our community and what you say reaches many people so,
in my own opinion, I believe you could have expressed your frustrations
in a more positive, proactive way.”

Sarina Di Martino Derkesen posted: “With all due respect, bringing
someone’s race or culture into the equation immediately deepens the
divisions and all the work that has been done on the topic of
diversity takes a step backwards. I think we need to, as a society, deal
with the behavior and the lack of values behind the action. We need to
stop labeling people and instead take them for who they are in front
of us and deal with the behaviors as a ‘person’ instead of attributing
it to their culture or heritage.”

Ken Herar

Ken Herar

If we continue to say, that black guy, that white guy, that brown
guy, that Muslim, that Hindu, that Catholic … when referring to the
person in question, the divisions will continue. Instead, we need to
start referring to the person as “the man” or “the woman” in question
or simply “the person” and not by their race or religion.”

Through my post I unfortunately marginalized the East
Indian males and painted them with the same dirty brush. I am
extremely sorry for this.

These kinds of responses affect people in their daily lives. When
speaking on topics of racism/stereotyping we need to not be emotional,
but remain factual to get to the truth of the matter.

Cover photo from

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