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OPINION: Through the eyes of an innocent child

Former NDP leader Mike Redmond sits at his home in Summerville after announcing his decision to resign from politics. Redmond said he felt it was time for a new voice to lead the party.
Mike Redmond sits at his home in Summerville. He and his family are now on a year-long volunteer project in Ghana.- Mitch MacDonald

What happens to a child who does not see color, race, religion, gender, nor creed?

BY MIKE REDMOND

GUEST OPINION

We are a society that is often dismissive of our children’s opinions or perspectives, often dismissing their questions, uninterested in how they interpret basic interactions, and very often how they display their own acts of humanity. Our western society has told us to not value the ideals or perspectives of our youth. Of course, this is contrary to our indigenous teachings.

My family are immigrants to this land we call Ghana. We now know what it means to be looked at differently, to struggle with language and culture. Every day, we just try to fit in and be accepted. This past week when we were called people of colour, all of that changed for me.

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I understand white privilege, and I feel a sense of uneasiness when it comes to my standing here. I am not dismissive of my position, this is not by choice but by societal world views, and the historical impacts of colonialism. Those words struck a chord with me, and that made me reflect.
I was interested to know how my son James sees the world, how he sees this world as a three-year-old, the changes from P.E.I. and Canada. Does he see colour, does he understand race, religion, ethnicity or gender? Does it matter to a small boy? James has a group of wonderful friends who visit him daily to play and enjoy passing time together. There is a purity to their interactions, untainted by greed, corruption or a need to fit into societal norms, or how we compartmentalize our identity as human beings.
So, I asked James a very simple question, “James what do you see when you are playing with your friends?”, in which he answered, “I see my buddies, daddy.”

Which obviously begs the very personal question for me, what is diversity? What happens to a child who does not see color, race, religion, gender, nor creed? What makes us as humans hate, discriminate, or think of people as less than or at all different.

All the while I am thinking I want to be this child again; I am not part of a country, religion or race, just mother earth and the human race. Oh, how I yearn to be that child again.

- Mike Redmond, social justice activist, farmer-father- Vets Without Borders

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