CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Diversity of opinion

Over my lifetime, our society has become much more accepting of diversity. The sort of casual, generally accepted prejudices that were endemic in my youth have largely disappeared. It would be difficult to overstate just how far we have come. I remember a time when Chinese prejudices against Europeans, or Japanese prejudices against Chinese, or British prejudices against Italians, or a myriad of other prejudices on ethnic or religious bases were freely expressed in Canada, and no one seemed to think it reprehensible. And other aspects of identity, such as sexual orientation, were not mentioned at all! So it's always a comfort to me to think about the progress we have made, and - although of course we're not perfect - to hope that we will continue making more progress in the future.

I do worry that current "identity politics" tend to emphasize and enlarge divisions in society, and threaten to return us to the situation I remember from my youth. It sometimes seems to me that people who purport to be fighting racism are instead trying to force everyone to look at their neighbours through a racialized lens. Talk about inherent biases and microagressions is a way of dividing people into "them" and "us", and those who feel the need to validate their own identities in this way do so at a cost to the harmony between the rest of us.