Canadians have been guilty of ‘othering’

Like overt racism, othering involves disregarding and discounting the humanity of another group

Canadians have been guilty of ‘othering’

Canadians must be on guard against not just racism, but also its subtle sibling, othering.

Like overt racism, othering involves disregarding and discounting the humanity of another group of people; rendering them less human and with fewer rights than those making the distinction, thereby preparing the ground for any sort of violent transgression.

The Canadian government is guilty of othering when it supports violent, illegal interventions overseas; coups in the Ukraine and Venezuela, and NATO executed regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan, Libya and Yugoslavia.

It is othering when our nation fails to protest human rights violations in Gaza and in the assassination of Iranian general Soleimani, and it is othering when our leaders force through new fossil fuel infrastructure, knowing full well that these will inevitably fuel the climate crisis which is already depriving thousands of others of their homelands, and their lives.

From bombs to blockades, assassinations to coups and outright invasions, Canadian politicians are playing a fool’s game in doing unto ‘others’ what we would never want to suffer in turn.

There’s no such thing as ‘us’ and ‘other’ on this small, interconnected planet, and we need leaders who are capable of respecting that simple ethical boundary.

Mike Ward



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