RICKTER SCALE: We’re all descendants of racists

Humans have been slaughtering each other since the first caveman

The only thing worse than repeating the mistakes of the past are attempts to whitewash them away.

We are all descendants of racists, no matter how much we wish we weren’t. Human beings have been slaughtering each other since the first caveman clubbed a neighbour to oblivion for food or property.

The long list of nations that thirsted for world domination, the perpetrators of the Holocaust and, closer to home, settlers who forced residential schools on children to eradicate their Indigenous ways all preached a religion based on bigotry to varying degrees.

We’re all cut from the same fabric, and it’s always been stained with the same smug sense of superiority that’s wrapped in the banner of misbegotten gods or cultural creeds. Even some of the First Nations we revere for their spirituality and respect for the planet went to war with each other with regularity and engaged in slavery.

The current movement to change the names of streets and buildings or ban books from libraries and schools once considered classic literature is politically correct overkill at its most hypocritical. What do we gain by deciding that an acclaimed author or politician should now become the subjects of scorn because of behaviours and beliefs that were the norm at that particular juncture a century ago?

Our history is littered with disputes over religion, borders and beliefs, and the news on any given night is living proof that we haven’t been able to banish senseless conflicts as much as we would like to believe. The same root causes of war and conflict infect our lonely little planet and threaten the future of the universe.

Human rights are trampled every minute of every day. Children die, women are abused, and mothers and fathers bury sons and daughters and sisters and brothers in the name of peace and progress, Sadly, how affected we feel is frequently governed by whether the horror strikes close to home or unfolds thousands of miles away.

We need to concentrate our efforts into changing the world we live in at this moment to save the planet we will share in the future, instead of trying to rewrite the past. We must acknowledge and apologize for our transgressions and strive to better understand what caused us to wander off the righteous path of equality.

Trying to punish prejudice in Sir John A. MacDonald’s beliefs or deciding to now castigate Mark Twain and other previously acclaimed authors for what they wrote, however, is an exercise in futility. It’s no more than an attempt at posthumous reconciliation geared to placate our liberal conscience.

While we owe it to our children to teach them about the sins of the past, we are better served by focusing our furor on guiding future generations towards creating a world that doesn’t repeat them.


Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.

Just Posted

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Hockey gear stolen from visiting team in Victoria

Banff midget team reported missing equipment on Dec. 14

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

Custom motorcycle and wood cutter stolen from Sooke motorcycle shop

2006 Husqvarna motorcycle and 2-ton log splitter taken from outbuilding

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Most Read