Editor's Notebook

James Miller is valley editor for Okanagan Newspaper Group. This column was published in the March 21, 2020 print edition. Email: james.miller@ok.bc.ca

Baxter brave to speak out on racism

Thank you to Central Okanagan School Board chairwoman Moyra Baxter for publicly discussing the issue of racism and even personalizing it, sharing her own experiences in the post-war years in the U.K.

“Looking back, I must acknowledge that I realize now that I have acted in what is considered a racist way, whether that is in conversations, in thoughts, in behaviour,” she said at this week’s board meeting.

“I did not think that I would have named myself a racist, but I have to acknowledge that I have behaved in ways that are unacceptable and I have to apologize for that and pledge that I’ve determined that I’m going to do better.”

It took a lot of guts, I’m sure, for her to address this. Hopefully Baxter’s words will encourage others to enter into the discussion of racism and the prejudice students of colour have endured.

By contrast, Georgia Straight education columnist Patti Bacchus, along with the Vancouver Elementary Teachers Association, are calling on trustee Fraser Ballantyne to resign from the Vancouver School Board over offensive language used to compare Caucasian to Indigenous and Vietnamese students.

What he said isn’t worth repeating, but it was cruel and historically inaccurate.

Bacchus also called out Vancouver board chair Janet Fraser who allowed Ballantyne to babble on. That would have never happened in Baxter’s ballpark. She would have cut him off. (To read Bacchus’s column, visit: pentictonherald.ca.)

As Garth Brooks famously sang, “When there’s only one race, and that’s mankind, we shall be free.”

Sadly, that 1992 song was pulled from some country radio stations in the southern United States because Brooks also made a pro-LGBTQ reference.

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies... “Jaws” is returning to theatres next week when Landmark Cinemas reopens with a week or two of classic movies. I can’t wait.

Although I’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s scientifically-inaccurate, yet irresistible thriller countless times, I’ve never watched it on the big screen. I was 9 when “Jaws” was released to theatres and my parents correctly thought it would be too intense. They must not have previewed “Bambi” or “Pinocchio” in advance.

If I may offer two more retro titles to theatre owners for consideration — George Lucas’s “American Graffiti” and, another Spielberg title, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

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My COVID beard is gone. Roses to Peter Beauchamp at Okanogging Barbers for his great service at shaving it off for me. Thorns to whoever it was that compared my look to David Letterman.

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Here is a crazy idea and I know cycling purists will hiss at their newspaper when they read this. But, before you can say “Lance Armstrong,” here’s a somewhat unorthodox suggestion.

For Granfondo events, seeing that they’re all about participation — not who crosses the line first (although, don’t kid yourself, some of these riders are competitive) — allow a division for electric bikes. For some older cyclists, riding a long distance at a good clip isn’t a problem, they’re simply incapable of doing the monster hills of the Okanagan. Others may be recovering from injury and an

E-bike can give them an extra boost.

Perhaps consider an age restriction, 65 and over. Maybe try it for one year and see what happens. My guess is allowing an E-bike division would increase participation by several hundred. Nobody seems to have a problem with amateur golfers using a cart, even in tournaments.

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Penticton’s Shane Koyczan is among the headliners for the Canada Day celebrations presented by Heritage Canada. On Wednesday, the slam poet will perform virtually sometime between 8-10 p.m. Watch it on CBC.

James Miller is managing editor of the Penticton Herald. Email: james.miller@ok.bc.ca.