Sunday, October 16, 2016

Finding Beauty in Life's Mosaic

Freedom, equality, tolerance. Words that so many of us take for granted because we've never known a world without it. It was the genesis for our forefathers to set sail for a new country, it was what they fought (and died) for and it is what is written into our constitution. More than 200 years ago.

So why is it we continue to struggle with its meaning? We struggle with its interpretation. Instead of opening our arms to the diversity that built our country, we judge, define and threaten to build walls. 

Sometimes it takes an adjustment to our lens on life to see it. I was up in Canada this week, visiting Toronto. A city known for its diversity. And not a small city given its population of 5.5 million within the greater Toronto area. Here is a city with over 140 languages spoken, and a city taking in 30% of Canada's recent immigrants. I suppose you could say that it is just one city in an oasis. But it is not. Have a look at Canada's parliament. Go ahead - click on the picture and look. Look at the diversity embraced by this country. 

Canada calls it 'visible minorities,' and the statistics speak for themselves. Nearly half of the population in this country are a visible minority, which is a four-fold increase in their population since the 1980s. An important part of diversity is tolerance. To live, and let live. Not to pressure others to live as you do. But let's put some real numbers to this belief. In Canada the Catholic faith has dropped from 47% to 39% (1971 v 2011), driven by the rise in immigration and acceptance to let other faiths practice their own beliefs. Conversely, the US population of Catholics has held steady. I use this example only to show the meaningful shift in population - not to call out any specific faith. But to show how Canada does not only speak of diversity; they live it. It seems that our neighbor to the North has quietly taken up the mantle of Lady Liberty.

16 comments:

Miss Val's Creations said...

Well said Cynthia! It has always bothered me when people can't respect that another is different, be it race, religion or whatever. Sometimes it feels like we are going backwards in the U.S. when it comes to these things. I love learning about different cultures, trying their foods and all the other wonderful things offered.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Aw shucks, you're makin' us blush! Although we've got our fair share of bigots too, it is generally true that Canadians have adopted more tolerant ideals than many other countries. We do not promote a "melting pot" approach to immigration and lifestyle groups but a "celebration of diversity" approach instead. Maintaining such ideals, however, takes constant processing and attention. We cannot afford to be complacent about it.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Awww, thank you for this! I am very proud of the Canadian way. Tolerance, diversity, progressiveness, respect...these are some of the words that define us. But like Debra said, these ideals are a constant work in progress. We have to continue to stay on top of all this to keep it alive.

Liz E said...

Great post. Travel gives us a new yardstick by which to measure ourselves. It's very unfortunate when progress in the realm of accepting diversity gets reversed. I'm hoping in the US we are going two steps forward and one step back, not one step forward and two steps back. Fear tactics seem to be shamelessly used to get good people do bad things. I hope we as a society remain vigilant and continue to make progress in the right direction.

Duni said...

Thanks for posting this, Cynthia! This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. It saddens me that my country and Europe in general seem to be regressing! Also, minorities over here aren't accepted into government positions. Huge mistake if you ask me...

windrock studio said...

live and let live, sounds so simple and I sure hope we can be like Canada very soon.

JoJo said...

I really wish I knew why Americans are so inflammatory about everything. I truly think it goes back to when the forefathers told England to shove it, but Canada wasn't interested in making the break with England. I do think Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Washington, etc would be horrified to see how things have been twisted around.

Magic Love Crow said...

Too bad you didn't tell me you were coming to Canada! I would have love to meet you!!! Thank you for such a kind, beautiful post!! We try our best!!! I am a proud Canadian!

Marcela Gmd said...

Lovely post!!!
Have a nice day!!! my g+ for you!!!:)))

Besos, desde España, Marcela♥

Natashalh said...

I also love how anti-litter Canadians generally are! (Litter is a huge pet peeve of mine and always has been) Additionally, I've been impressed by the differences in how people keep their yards and houses, even/especially in economically depressed areas compared to the overgrown junk piles in yards I saw so frequently growing up in a combination of SC, WV, and TN. {{Fun, irrelevant fact - my mom grew up in Boston, but her family is Canadian and half my cousins are Canadian.}}

BeadedTail said...

I was just talking about this topic with a friend earlier this week. The divisiveness happening in this country right now is frightening. The places I've visited recently (Colorado, California, Victoria and right here in Oregon) seem to embrace diversity but according to the news there are many of areas that don't. Being married to someone from another country, the hate being expressed scares me. We need to learn some lessons from Canada!

Amy S. said...

This is a truly moving post and words that need to be said!!!! Thank you for sharing what you learned about Canada. It's an example we could all use these days.

Marcela Gmd said...

Have a good week!!!!!:)))
Besos, Marcela♥

Anna said...

Awesome post, Cynthia, and so very timely as we near the election of a new US president - esp. given the hateful rhetoric that we have heard. The undercurrent of intolerance and hatred that has surfaced is truly terrifying. Thanks for this!

Chelsey said...

Thank you for this thought provoking post x

Linda said...

This is such a lovely post...thank you so much! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. We do have our share of racists, but thankfully it seems that they are in the minority and yes, it is so important to let others be themselves. You have a lovely blog.

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