Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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22

Dec

2021

Christmas dinner reveals hidden prejudices

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 16, 2021

 

A few years ago, my daughter invited three temporary Jamaican workers for Christmas dinner. 

            As the oldest male in the family, I got to carve the Christmas turkey. Of course, I served the guests first. “White meat or dark meat?” I asked.

            The three women looked at each other. Then one of them ventured, “Dark.”

            The other two agreed. 

             When plates were emptying, I offered seconds. This time, all three of the Jamaican women asked for white meat.

            It turned out that they had made an assumption. They thought that references to white and dark related to their skin colour, not the meat. 


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: racism, Prejudice

13

Jun

2021

The purpose of symbolic acts

Author: Jim Taylor

I have worn mismatched socks for most of 2021. Deliberately.

            The idea came from a reader in England, a retired Methodist minister named Ken Nicholls who admits to “being a little eccentric at times.”

            I decided some time ago to make a statement with my socks. I NEVER  wear what is usually considered a pair. Socks are bought often from large stores selling them in packs of seven pairs. Often, seven different colours. 

            “So I may wear one green sock and one yellow. Or one blue, one purple. People I meet tell me that I have odd socks on. My reply is that they are wrong. This IS a pair. The socks have the same size, the same material, the same shape, the same manufacturer, and the same thermal value. 

            “They only differ in colour. And colour is irrelevant to the way they are loved and valued. Why are you judging them by colour?”

            I liked his idea enough to try it. But as a symbolic act, my mismatched socks were an utter failure.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: Prejudice, socks

4

Apr

2021

To those who live in fear

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday April 4, 2021

 

What does it feel like, to live in fear? Not the short-term fear, that an oncoming car won’t stop in time. The long-term, constant fear that you, through no fault of your own, are a target for violence. Just because of who you are.

            It happened to a 65-year-old woman in New York last week. An unknown man knocked her down, kicked her in the stomach, stomped on her face, then casually strolled away.

            The woman was Asian.

            Most of us who are white males, like me, have no idea what it is like to spend your life knowing that you’re at risk. To feel unsafe walking to the bus at night, after work. To feel people staring at you on the street or in the classroom. To hear jokes that imply you’re genetically stupid (or, conversely, genetically smarter), or a sexual object, or inherently untrustworthy. 


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