Skip to main content


O'Halloran, Thomas J., photographer
In this progressive and diverse community there have been incidents of public racism and homophobia. There is neo-Nazi support from people in powerful positions. Once, not long ago, these incidents were met with jaw dropping shock because, well, we knew better didn’t we? But those who are targeted are attacked on a very deep level.

What can we do? We can’t muzzle homophobic white supremacists but we can call out against their rhetoric.  We can examine the source of the phenomenon. 

Racism is not about the colour of your skin; anti-Semitism is not about where you pray;  and homophobia is not about who you love.  All of these are about our fundamental homelessness in a world that measures our worth by the things we own.

If we are valued by our degrees, positions, homes and cars – then the blood running through our veins, the ideas in our minds, or our desire to survive have no worth. There is nothing like marketing to bring home this point, and nothing like consumerism to confirm it. It’s the impenetrable matter of our existence that keeps us falling towards fear and prejudice, and if left unchecked, to violence.

In a rabble column Amy Goodman points out that while (in the US), “law-abiding Muslims are forced to hide in their homes, and animal-rights activists are labelled as terrorists for undercover filming of abusive treatment at factory farms, right-wing hate groups are free to organize, parade, arm themselves to the hilt and murder with chilling regularity”.

Is this our fatal flaw? That we prefer to target those with less power rather than challenge our oppressors?  Even if we manage, through revolution, chaos and bloodshed, to remove them, they are soon replaced with new oppressors.

The cyclical rise and fall of empires is built on the labour of the masses.  First it exalts  then steals it through deceit and propaganda. Bigotry, racism, homophobia – are  the devices that keep us enslaved to systems of oppression because we have lost our capacity to imagine a way out.

In our families, communities, and congregations, we have learned how to care for one another, but there isn’t a military strategy, political party or an economic system that will bring this about globally. Every election, parliamentary act or corporate decision moves us closer to humanity or away from it, and every word and deed sits somewhere on the continuum of revering or exploiting life.

Social justice, that thankless, never finished, housekeeping task whose priorities change from minute to minute, IS the price of our freedom.

When an individual is attacked, ridiculed, bullied or demeaned because of who they are, it’s an attack against the dignity of life, against you and I, our children and grand-children, and we can’t afford to ignore it.


  1. Early on in the piece you write, We can examine the source of the phenomenon. - suggesting a single source. But then I am not clear what you take that single source to be. I'm not disagreeing; I just don't know what your remedy is because I'm not sure what the source(s) is/are.

    Social justice, that thankless, never finished, housekeeping task whose priorities change from minute to minute, IS the price of our freedom." Why would the priorities for social justice be in constant flux? Sounds really interesting, but again, I don't know what you mean.
    We should be able to agree what social justice is, I would think. And then work toward achieving it. We should start from "behind the veil of ignorance."

  2. The source is a personal one - to question where my own prejudices come from, when did I begin to have racist opinions. Also I believe it is related to the social source. What informed my opinions about my own race?

    Regarding the housekeeping quote - I should have said "working towards social justice" is a never finished task.

    What is social justice? The Centre for Social Justice says "fighting against inequalities in income, wealth and power".

  3. Unitarian Universalist perspective:

    “We are called upon to engage in the struggle for human betterment. We don’t know ahead of time if we’ll succeed. In fact, we will often fail. But when success does come, it is oh so sweet!” – Rev. Fred Cappuccino


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Letter to BC Ferries

I am a resident of Gabriola and often travel Taylor Bay Road to get to the village.

I have noticed the line up takes cars onto the road where there are bends. Because some of the cars are part way on to the road I must pass on the oncoming traffic lane. This is dangerous because oncoming traffic cannot see me. I move as close as possible to the cars in the line up but still go to the oncoming traffic lane.

It appears that we need more frequent ferries to avoid this long line up. When catching a ferry I get in line as the previous ferry is leaving, which is possible for retired people, but not everyone can do this.

Overburdened line ups also cause some to get too frustrated and do dangerous things. We are all responsible for our own behaviour but so much of our civil society is being destroyed by ruthless economic ideologies.

Climate change, abusive treatment of workers and the economic trend which intentionally pushes people to a deep sense of insecurity, calls for a renewal in comm…

The Truth As the Body Knows It by Lynda Archer

I know the news moves on quickly, but I am still back, as I expect some of you are also, with what occurred in the US Supreme Court a few days ago. I am sharing with you all an essay that I couldn't not write after Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony. Trigger warning for some of what I write. Feel free to share with whomever you wish. And thanks to those who have read earlier versions. You know who you are. 

Continuing from Dr. Blasey Ford’s Testimony, the Truths I Know 

I watched closely the Supreme Court events in the US and found myself becoming increasingly sad, angry and churned up with the process and the ultimate outcome. Spoiler alert. Yes, I clearly side with Dr. Ford and I will over the course of this essay endeavour to show you why. 

I am not myself a survivor of sexual assault or abuse. But at this historic moment I am reminded of all the brave women who I was honoured to treat in my capacity as a clinical psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor within the Dept. of Psyc…

Anonymous Sources

Where does "Greatness" come from? The imagination? Facts? Confidence? A willing suspension of disbelief in a slogan that makes us happy? A capacity to judge well? An ability to observe and find solutions that benefit most if not all? Taking responsibility for the community? A masters degree from Oxford or Yale?

Let me offer the opinion that greatness comes from extraordinary effort or talent.  Greatness as it may exist in our anonymous ambitions does not win fame except in isolated circumstances.  That is to say, fame is not a realistic goal for an individual.

Greatness is like a dove in the imagination, an angel, a temporary insight, a fleeting epiphany. Something aspired to in the privacy of our minds.

Greatness was an ambition I held when I was a teen and had no proof that I was good at anything or useful to the world at all. After repeated criticism and dismissal from the community around me where I attempted to win something, anything, like a medal, a competition, or a…