Nature is healing II - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Last week I wrote about nature healing in a bit of a sarcastic way. This week I’m back with a second installment. I might even have a third next week. We’ll see.
To recap, the idea of nature “healing” stems from the early days of the pandemic. People were home and they were bored. So, as major cities appeared deserted and highways were bare, people on the internet began observing that nature was “healing” as wildlife returned to areas from which it had been largely absent for years due to crowds, traffic and noise.
Last week I joked (not to make myself sound like a ghoul for joking about this) that nature was healing in the U.S. because of the return to its regularly-scheduled programming of gun violence and mass shootings after things had quieted down during the pandemic.
This week, we tackle racism. Sure, racism has had its ups and downs over the years, but it seems to be coming back with a vengeance in recent years. Somewhere around the rise of Donald Trump (the politician), a new kind of nationalism really began taking hold around the world, which is disguised as pride for your country, but is really a thinly-veiled longing for life before “other people” showed up.
And now, with the myth of cancel culture, many people are fighting back against the “politically correct” and “woke” culture of today, insisting that they do not need to change with the times - the times need to stay right where they are; right where they like them.
A few weekends ago, I watched a soon-to-be distressing scene play out in real time. As Italy and England went to a penalty shootout to decide the European Football Championship, England had the upper hand. Goalie Jordan Pickford had stopped the first Italian shot and the first two English shooters had scored. Then the tide turned. The three final English players to shoot, all Black, missed their shots. As I watched, I just knew they were in for trouble.
Sure enough, the next morning, everyone from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the team’s coach Gareth Southgate had denounced the racism directed online at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka. A Rashford mural, painted to celebrate his work to feed the hungry during the pandemic, was vandalized.
How can you be surprised? Brexit was as much about racism and keeping England “English” as it was about trade and money. Furthermore, every soccer season brings about stories of non-white players being racially abused by visiting fans. Even Meghan Markle was run out of England, claiming racism within the Royal Family. It’s a problem.
The sad thing is, I’d like to think things in Canada would be better but it’s unlikely.
Just this week in The Citizen we have letters about the potential renaming of Gypsy Lane, telling us the term isn’t racist (despite the Romani people telling us that it is). The letters make the case that if it’s in the dictionary, it can’t be that bad (the n-word is in the dictionary) and that the definition makes no mention of racism (I suppose, if you skip the first two words that denote it is “sometimes offensive”). If you don’t want your street name changed, that’s fine, but making the case that “gypsy” isn’t a racial slur is simply wrong.
This is another scenario in which people should listen more than they speak (two ears and one mouth for a reason, right?). Yes, the age-old tradition of white people telling those of other cultures what should and should not offend them. So, yes, nature is healing.
We pulled together and helped each other through the pandemic, now we can get back to hating one another for our differences.