Questioning prejudices: racism and addictions

I’m going to take some free throws here and just rapid fire some thoughts on a number of issues.

Immigration

Critics of so-called mass immigration have been labelled “racist,” or “bigotted.” The reason they are against it matters though. Unless they are specifically against a certain ethnic group, it’s not racist.

Should Canada let in legitimate refugees and immigrants that meet the needs of certain areas and the economy? Yes.

Should it let in hundreds of thousands of immigrants, legally or otherwise, many of whom are not being vetted properly, simply to fill an arbitrary quota? No.

Blackface photos

Speaking of racism, Justin Trudeau apologized this week for three instances of wearing brown or blackface makeup in the past, himself calling it racist and saying he’s mad at himself for his actions.

Although highly inappropriate and widely considered offensive, wouldn’t this fall more under the category of cultural appropriation rather than blatant racism?

I suppose racism is actually a spectrum. On the one end you have unadulterated hatred and intolerance and on the other you have disrespectful gestures like imitating another race and reducing a culture to a costume.

Also, is it really so shocking a revelation? We already knew Trudeau has a flair for the dramatic and likes dressing up. If we wanted to pick at his faults, there are many more current, prevalent ones we could choose from.

I’m not trying to defend him or his actions, just trying to put things in perspective.

At least his apology sounds sincere. He makes no excuses and even sounds humble.

READ MORE: Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

A bit ironic he can do that for something like makeup but not for firing two Liberal MP’s for standing up for their morals.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s response sounded stiff and perfunctory, as he condemned the photos, says wearing brownface is an open act of mockery and “It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019.”

Condemning the Liberals is just about all his campaign is doing.

NDP’s Leader Jagmeet Singh’s response that seeing those photos will hurt a lot of people who have faced racism and were unable to fight back seems more genuinely-felt and a more legitimate argument.

Harm reduction

Although the opiod crisis may not have hit Ponoka hard yet, harm reduction and safe consumption sites are important topics.

If the goal is to prevent deaths, then there are two issues: overdoses and tainted street drugs.

Preventing overdoses makes sense.

Having naloxone kits readily available to the public as a life-saving medication for one experiencing an overdose makes sense. It is effective and compassionate, as it encourages people to look out for each other.

How to deal with the supply of the drugs themselves is more difficult.

It’s not possible to remove all illegal drugs from society. Dealers likewise aren’t going to stop cutting their products with harmful fillers.

Is the answer really then for the government to become the drug dealer though? Providing people with drugs and needles that are clean probably does save lives, but what is that quality of life?

Drugs being dispensed in vending machines can’t be the final solution.

Any community considering a safe consumption site should be asking questions like, is there any coinciding effort to wean the addict off the drug, or for them to get treatment?

Could drugs to combat the effects of withdrawal be dispensed instead?

Just some thoughts and I’m no expert on the subject, to be sure.

Vehicular manslaughter

There have been quite a few motor vehicle accidents and fatalities in central Alberta this summer, some closer to home than others.

Thinking about the tragedy of a preventable death will have people calling for stricter sentences. Some may even want a manslaughter charge.

Then think about what penalty you’d like if it was you behind the wheel who had caused an accident. It could happen to anyone, any time they get in a vehicle. Still want a manslaughter charge?

When the person who caused the death is a drunk driver, the issue becomes more muddled. With our understanding of addictions expanding nowadays, do we believe a habitual alcoholic is more or less culpable?

A one-time offender who makes a bad decision to not plan ahead may actually be more to blame for an accident than a repeat offender addicted to alcohol, who may not be sober long enough to make a responsible decision.

These are just questions — you can draw your own conclusions.

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