Racism in Kelowna, part 2

Dear Editor:

On Monday May 25, a nuclear bomb exploded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, affecting the world by displaying systemic racism as a result of the vivid murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote stating there was racism in Kelowna. There was a tornado of punitive responses from angry white folks, flooding the local media that nearly drowned me. Fortunately, I was able to breathe and am still breathing.

Those who denied the presence of racism in Kelowna reminded me Colin Basran, Mohini Singh and the late Ben Lee, had been elected and re-elected to council as visible minorities. Bravo. It is only human to make hay while the sun shines!

CBC has suspended Wendy Mesley as host of ‘The Weekly’ pending investigation. Mesley admitted: “I was careless with my language and wrong to say it. Regardless of my intention, I hurt people and for that I am very sorry. I am also deeply ashamed.” The word Mesley used has not been identified.

Stockwell Day, Okanagan-Coquihalla MP from 2001 to 2011, recently made comments during a panel on CBC’s Power & Politics: “Should we all be more sensitive about any kind of hurting or insulting people whether it’s racist or not?” He added: “I knew for a fact that most Canadians, including my relatives, friends and opponents, are not racist.”

CBC soon after announced Stockwell Day had stepped down from his role as a commentator. Telus also took action saying Day’s comments are not reflective of the values and beliefs of the organization, followed by McMillan LLP, a law firm with offices in four Canadian cities, announcing Day’s resignation in a statement.

What about the comment by Justin Neufeld, an executive member of the Kelowna-Lake County riding associations for both the BC Liberal and

federal Conservative who compared the Black Live Matter fist in the air signal to a Nazi salute?

Neufeld, like Mesley, and Day, was sent packing.

Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was asked for his thoughts on Donald Trump’s threat to use military force to tackle street protesters demanding justice following the death of George Floyd. Trudeau’s famous 21 seconds delay ended and soon after he said there is systemic discrimination in Canada.

Have white folks ever experienced discrimination? If yes, what were the indicators? For sure it could not be because of their skin pigmentation!

From my personal experience in Kelowna, generally, white folks do not widely reflect the mythical narrative of inclusively and diversity.

And, when I hear or read white Canadians are asked to show acceptance and tolerance towards non-white, it raises my blood pressure because I do not want people to tolerate me; it is a negative word.

Mo Rajabally, Kelowna

No, Albertans shouldn’t visit yet

Dear Editor:

It is not often I disagree with James Miller, but after reading the June 13 column “We should be happy to have Albertans visit,” I felt the need to respectfully disagree.

While I don’t condone acts of aggression against cars with Alberta licence plates, I also don’t agree with welcoming in-province and out-of-province visitors with open arms in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic.

British Columbia is still in Phase 2 of our Restart Plan. A recommendation under this plan is to remain close to home and to avoid any non-essential travel between communities. I wonder if visiting holiday homes and family and friends who are lucky enough to live in the Okanagan year round, would be considered essential.

There are many people who have been profoundly affected by the measures taken to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many businesses have been lost, savings eliminated, earnings reduced or lost, and families whose lives have been irrevocably changed.

So when I see a licence plate from Alberta, I get a little annoyed. It is disrespectful to the people who may have sacrificed everything to help B.C. flatten the curve. It is flaunting your social and economic privilege, and that is something we should all be considering in these times.

Just because your place in society allows you to ignore the recommendations from both the B.C. and Alberta Health Authorities, it doesn’t mean you should.

I will be happy to welcome visitors once we get to Phase 3, and may even volunteer to show you around myself. Until then, please stay home and please consider that your actions have consequences that may not directly affect you or your family.

Janice Reilly, West Kelowna

Drive-thru employees talk too fast

Dear Editor:

I am hesitant to send a letter on this subject, but people who work at drive-thrus should speak more slowly and enunciate better.

I probably should preface this with the statement that I am older and do have some slight hearing impairment.

I do appreciate that almost all of the (physical) speakers in the sound systems have been replace by a much clearer speaker over the last few years. Kudos to managements for that.

But when my my wife and I go for a coffee or to get a quick bite to eat, many of the people taking orders have poor communications skills. They speak very quickly and with no clear enunciation.

The objective here should not be speed but clear communication. They will surely spend less time with each customer if the communication is clear and concise the first time.

In my defence I will say that when I have difficulty and look over at my wife to see if she was able to decipher the garbled transmission I often receive a blank look from her as well.

Please, if you own a business with a drive-thru, take a trip through, and even send a few friends to check out the communication.

When I come across this problem I will simply stop coming to your establishment. That is my final answer, lock it in.

Gary Blidook, Kelowna