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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Dangerous Ground

I have tried to formulate in my mind what I want to say in this blog without it seeming harsh, retaliatory, or inflammatory, because it is not. It has been formulating for a long time and is in fact, the premise of my first novel that I am working on. I wrote the bulk of the book back in 2016 with the hope to this year tweak it and get it published. As I sit here with the wind blowing all around me, I am hoping it blows through my mind, blowing in clarity and direction as it seems North American has erupted this week in violence all over.

The theme of my novel is bigotry and prejudice as the plot is an “us and them” following a couple of lives amidst the presence of the KKK.

I, honestly know nothing about the KKK and have had to do extensive research on this topic. I have no idea why I was supposed to write this book, but I did.

Perhaps it started when my friend and I went for a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina back in 2005 and we were given front row seats to several events that opened our eyes to the fact that racial tensions are not dead and gone in the United States. We realized quite quickly that we might be what is called “sheltered”.

I see all around us the uprising of the us versus them tension: white versus black, the resurrection of the KKK and black matters groups, unprovoked police violence, it seems that this novel is a fitting topic for the season of today’s world.

When we – you, me or anyone- decides that any other human being is different from us and is therefore not acceptable, we begin to tread on very dangerous ground. Very dangerous.

This can be in many areas: color, race, origin, dress, job, home, car, religion, covid.

As soon as someone says: ‘they should not believe that’ or ‘can you believe they think like that?’ – we are showing our prejudices.

I used to think I did not have any prejudices. Wow, that was a crock.

Every person has their own version of prejudices, whether we think we do or not.

Put it this way, finish this statement: “my child… will only marry …………” OR “my child….. will never marry………” What about for yourself. Is there someone, some type of person, you would not marry?

What if you saw a homeless person up the street, their hand is out and coming up to strangers asking for money? Would you cross the street to get away? Give them some money? Talk to them? Offer to buy them a meal? Take them home? What kind of prejudices do you have on this?

How about this one…. Trudeau – like him or not? Trump – like him or not?

That opened a can of worms in your mind, didn’t it? You had an opinion or prejudice on one of those issues listed.

My novel sets out to show the differences and the similarities of different people but the bottom line, the commonality, is that they are all people, and just like you and me, we all bleed red.

No one has the right to say – 'they are not like us and they do not belong' and start slandering others or even killing other human beings off. NO ONE.

And yet, it has happened over and over through the ages, killing off populations because they were different and not like us, genocides, or ethnic cleansing they call it!

You have the right to believe what you want, but just like you, I have the right to believe what I want as well. As long as I am not harming you, we should be able to live in peace.

I have watched all the commercials plugging the airwaves: STAY HOME and ISOLATE FOR THE GOOD OF EACH OTHER. These ads seek out to bring us peace at this crazy time, declaring - 'let’s all remains Peaceful'.

But what I am seeing is a very large percent of the population is getting angrier and angrier the longer we stay shut in, cooped up and isolated - is it because the isolation is fueling pent up rage? Because peaceful seems not to be the way of the world right now. I am not sure but as I watch the rioter’s and the protestors standing shoulder to shoulder – not social distancing but wearing their masks just to be safe as they loot and burn and thrown things at each other, I am saddened.

I heard from teachers and doctors that homes that are not sanctuaries have stranded many children and spouses stuck at home in abusive situations, without a way out. That

is not okay.

I heard this morning of a very sad, very tragic event, horrendously so – a man shot his wife and then himself in front of their 2 children, who were able to escape to safety.

We are harming each other, this season is creating huge mental unrest in so many people. We may be afraid of a disease but we have created DIS-EASE in so many other areas.

In the case of George Floyd: Is there a reason to protest police brutality? Absolutely. But one bully beating on another bully is not the answer because in the end it is still a bully that wins.

I see facebook posts that are getting more and more vocal calling down or out other people for different beliefs about anything from covid to politics, parks to masks and of course shopping. Really?

All you have to do is get married or have a relationship to know that there is not one other person who thinks exactly like you. It is not going to happen!

Don’t believe me? Toilet paper – the roll comes off from the top or the bottom?

Toothpaste – squeeze from the bottom or randomly in the middle?

Just saying….people think differently and it is okay. We do not all have to think like each other – Canada is the land of the free, but lately it seems anything but.

It seems to me that I can think of someone in history who started out with this kind of mindset, that if they do not look like us, act like us, or even think like us – then we must eliminate them.

What was his name again? Oh ya…. Hitler.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King

We all matter.

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