I don’t like to use the “R” word. You know what the “R” represents, don’t you? It may fit the person or group to a “T” but it’s usually better to use another word. There’s the “B” word but that has a lot of STFU baggage as well. There’s also the “P”, “I”, “X” and “D” words but they sound mealy-mouthed. And we do like to feel that we speak cold, hard truth when it comes to this subject. Call a spade a spade and a… (insert the “R” word times 2).
We refrain from using the worst of these words in polite company and conversation because, so we’re told, they shut down communication. Instead, we’re told, we should want open debate and honest discussion. We’re told a civil meeting of minds is possible with almost anybody if only they get to know us a little. So we try to be polite and generous. Too often, we wind up being a too polite, tippy-toeing around. Often getting kneed in the gonads for trying.
We try but don’t always succeed. Of course, it’s our failure for trying. We tend to excuse them and their ugly behaviors for all kinds of reasons. Genetics or environment? They may have been shaped by the ignorance and attitudes of their parents and families. By “inter-generational trauma”. You heard me right. We almost excuse their “R” behaviors because some of us feel they’re products of lousy, twisted home environments. They’re “Rs” and “Bs” because that’s how their parents’ parents, relatives’ relatives, and friends behave. They absorb the ugly around them. Society taught them, and we are society.
“Rs” and “Bs”, however, may refuse to accept that they’re the victims of “inter-generational trauma”. They’re not the problem – it’s the billions of others around them. As nice people who’ve been raised right, we don’t confront them with an explanation that they might be “‘R’-by-design”. That it’s them and their personal responsibility – as individuals – to get real. Instead, we allow them to blame it on others; their parents, playmates, and society. We pull back to the “I” and “U” words to blame their teachers and schools instead. It’s not their fault they have such nasty habits, for keeping societal diseases like “R”and “B” and “D” alive. It’s those faceless institutions that are to blame. Don’t you see?
We’ve gone full circle or nowhere at all. We’re attacked by “Rs” and “Bs” with “H” because our skin colours, languages, etc., etc., are different. And some people are just too damaged to learn, accept or appreciate differences and therefore don’t get to know or accept us because of who and what we are. I mean “we” in the royal sense – anyone who’s different. Colours on a painter’s palette that gives birth to subtlety and bold strokes on our cultural canvases. Music that sweeps, soars and floats us to far off lands on sweet breezes of wonder. Words that sing and weep. But they’re blind, deaf and dumb to all this, preferring mayonaise and white bread instead.
We’re not the real victims though. They are – so the explanation goes. They’re products of broken homes, poor parenting or lousy teaching at school. Somehow that excuses their “R” behaviours. Maybe because they vote and we don’t. Or their parents are too thick to question the “tough on crime” crap from politicians by asking just who’s for more crime anyway? Regardless, we’re expected to turn the other cheek to their “R” behaviours (the dude don’t abide). Just suck it up. We’re expected to supply elders and sages from our various communities to teach their cops and jailers something they should know - that “R” and “D” not only sucks but is against the law. Or was.
“Was” because elected lawmakers in Ottawa watered down human rights protections online because, they tell us, we don’t need a shield — not online where “Rs” and “Bs” plant “H” that blossoms like a biodigital pandemic wherever words like “Indian” or “Aboriginal” or “Muslim” or “Jew” appear. Just kids having fun, right? Because this is Canada and it doesn’t have a colonial bone in its body and is a shining beacon for human rights. Right?
Getting back to the more particular… Sure, it may be Indigenous types populating Canada’s jails, having our children taken away, because we’re poor and victims of inter-generational trauma and “R” and “B”. But why can’t we believe them when they say that it’s all out fault for hanging onto all the things that make us unique in this world. Can’t we see that we’re the one’s who are sick, living in our “dream palaces“, and that we need to be kept in Canada’s legislative straight-jackets for own protection? Why can’t we do as they say — just leave behind those cultural lifeboats called “reserves”? Bop on down the boulevard into that dark night called oblivion like good little Indians? Why must we be so damn stubborn? Drink the f**king kool-aid already!
Yep, we’re “the Problem” all right.