By Geraldine Guilfoyle
Published: Feb. 16, 2013
Scientifically there is only one race – the Human Race, and yet fear, suspicion and dislike of ‘the other’ continue to plague our human progress.
Research shows that race is one of the three characteristics most often used in brief descriptions of individuals (the others are age and sex).
Biologists John Tooby and Leda Cosmides hypothesized that modern people use race as a proxy (rough-and-ready indicator) for coalition membership.
This is used to guess about ‘which side’ another person is on. This prejudging of a person based on their skin colour or ethnicity, assigns a myriad of assumptions and stereotypes about their habits and character that can both vilify and dehumanize in an instant.
When this tendency to prejudge becomes inculcated in a society we end up with regimes such as apartheid in South Africa and the Aboriginal Residential School System here in Canada.
March 21 is designated by the United Nations (UN) as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
It is a day born out of a tragic event.
On March 21, 1960, in Sharpeville, South Africa, 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed by police during a protest against apartheid. More than 80 per cent of those killed had been shot in the back.
March 21 has since then served not only to remind the international community of the dire consequences of racism, but also to recall our obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination
In Recognition of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st, the Squamish Multifaith Association is hosting an award celebration for a person or organization that has contributed to overcoming racism and building unity within our community.
Do you know someone who always sees the person first, not the colour, someone who you would like to see recognized for their actions and service in building bridges and fellowship amongst our diverse population.
If yes, we want to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The celebration will take place at the Squamish Public Library from 4-5:30 p.m. We cordially invite the public to attend.