By July 6, 2021 Read More →

Point of View

Canada like most countries has a complex history, as all other countries have our junk in the trunk. As a disabled person in Canada I look at the country through a lot of different lenses. Not all of the points of view that I have are straight forward or compatible. My lenses:

I’m a disabled person and live daily with that label and the implications of it. Although my disability doesn’t define me it impacts my view of the world greatly. The lens of disability isn’t a clear one its opaque. I empathize and identify with my people who share my disability who are: People of color both from Africa and India who share my disability. I share a lens with people who are Black and Brown. The people of Tanzania who are mutilated and killed because people think its lucky to eat people with my disability. I recognize the forced sterilization of disabled people in Alberta, that only ended in 1977. In addition to the on-going discrimination against persons of disability in this country. I live continually with the issues of diversity, inclusion and accommodation. My goal is life is to “fit in?

I’m a Metis person I’m not seen as being first nations as I’m not “brown” enough but apparently have some of the facial features. I can’t see my face so I’m not sure what that means and likely as a big part of my disability is albinism I’m lighter than I should be. My disability group calls me pigmento because my retinas are albino and not the rest of me. My Metis heritage descends from Batoche and the Metis uprising, which is brilliant cool history from my perspective. I do have a lens on the first peoples of Canada and their plight. I understand this lens less than the disability lens, it wasn’t celebrated when I was growing up. I empathize with the residential schools. I’m not aware of anyone in my family experiencing residential schools but I recognize the residual impact, we did not celebrate our culture. The Blind school in Canada took my uncle away when he was young something my family doesn’t talk about but it has had a huge impact on me and my own family. The safe drinking water is just crazy to me, why are we talking about this just fix it

I do have a lens into colonization lens but again I’m just learning to understand it and the implications of it. I get a sense that colonization has been a huge part of recent human history from Roman times.

I have a Canadian lens and I’m proud to be Canadian, with all its warts Canada is an amazing country.

I have a lens into Canada’s past and our treatment of ethnicities: Interment of Japanese during the 2nd world war and the impact on personal property and wealth. Death of Chinese workers during the building of the railways, 1 death per mile of track. The treatment of Italians. The treatment of the Irish. The Quebec desire to be recognized as a distinct society, which I’d give them in a heartbeat. The treatment of Muslims and the hate crimes being perpetrated against them. Frankly anyone else who is different, Canadians are known for eating their young. Others that I don’t list explicitly is innocent ignorance.

I have a lens for the immigrates who came and settled this country. Part of my family history includes immigrants from Norway who homesteaded in Alberta. I have a lens for all the other peoples of Canada who have been here for multiple generations.

I can’t forget I have a lens to how we treat gender, “woman”, the gender issue is brutal. I’ll include the lens of LGBTQ in this as well.

I am a coward. Because I’m mostly white and can to a vast part of the population fool that I’m not blind, I escape most of the strife that others face. People of color no matter what color it is and woman in my opinion get the worst of it. When I’m dealing with issues of disability I look through the lens of color and gender to find guidance on how to get through it. I am embarrassed that I have a stealth mode to navigate scrutiny under many of these lenses. Even when I carry a white cane people don’t get it. I’m the freak with the cool pedometer, gulf club, fishing pole, baton.

My point is that I can’t just look at Canada through any single lens, Canada is complex a kaleidoscope of lens that sometimes support each other and most of the time not. I can’t indulge anyone who wants me to think about Canada through one single point of view or lens. That would make you “blind” to everything and everyone else. We are all in this together.

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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